"remember the works of the Lord"

"But then I recall all you have done, O LORD; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago."

-Psalm 77:11
“Reflection is a way to look back and see God’s fingerprints on your life. It allows you to see that He was there in the pain and in the joy. It’s a faith builder because as you see how He was with you in those times, it will deepen your trust that He is already there in the coming times, ready to guide and comfort. In turn, this gives you the confidence to step more boldly into what He has for you."
 -- Mary Black, The Paths We Walk: Trails

Wow, who wouldn't want stronger faith, deeper trust, and increased confidence to face this world? 

So, how do we get there? We go back grade school Language Arts and the lessons on information gathering and problem solving in reading and writing.

Do what?

I know, for many people, that was a while ago and lots of other things have replaced that knowledge over the years. But, what about this? Five Ws and one H or 5W1H ... ring any bells? (Mnemonics are used because they work!) 

So, let's get reacquainted with the technique and discover how it can be used in reflection.

Faith Building
Trust Deepening
Confidence Increasing

The Five W's:  who, what, when, where, why​
The One H: how


According to Thoughtful Learning, these questions allow you to collect key points of information about a topic. Often known as journalistic questions, the Five W's and One H ask for every detail and turn the reader into a thinker, bringing awareness and active thought to the act of reading. 

Who was involved?

What happened?

When did it happen?

Where did it happen?

Why did it happen?

How did it happen?

Thorough, right?  Since they cover all of the information needed to create a complete story, the 5W1H technique is perfect for the reflection type of meditation. So, let's learn how.

Start with simply reading the passage of scripture you've chosen. Read it slowly and give yourself time to absorb every word and sensation each evokes. Then read the passage again, but this time aloud. Take a moment and ponder it. Allow it sink into your working memory. Only then should you start to answer the 5W1H questions. (By the way, it doesn’t matter which one you use first.) 

Need some ideas? Here are some examples:

When was this verse true for me?

Where was I in my life (physically, emotionally, etc.)?

Where was God in my life?

What are some examples of his working in that time or situation?

Who was with me or involved in the situation, if anyone?

Why is God showing me this verse?

What does He want me to either see or learn?

How was He always there?

How will I move forward with this knowledge?

Let's do an example:

Here is one of my favorite passages in the Message translation:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” --Matthew 11:28-30

I love reading this passage from Jesus. The idea of "unforced rhythms of grace" sends warm fuzzies straight into my writer's heart!

So, if I wanted to reflect on this passage using the 5W1H process, I could ask myself the following questions:

When was I tired, worn out, or burned out on religion? 

What does God say I should do when I am?

Where does God want me to be?

Instead of striving or trying to control my relationship with God, what should I be doing?

How will God respond if I do the above?

Why  should I walk with and work with God?

How can I put this word into practice in my life now?

What can I expect as a result if I do?

As you can see, this will be a very personal endeavor so make sure you take your time and, depending on the verse,  you may find yourself reflecting over it for several days. Then, there may be times when you don't get answers until weeks or months later. Both are OKAY. This is a time to reflect on God's goodness and provision in your life. Give yourself grace and space to hear God speak and don't rush the questions or the answers. The more you think and the more you reflect, the more you will see.

And remember, God's timing is perfect in all things--that includes reflection and revelation. 

Need some examples to try for yourself? Check out these verses:

Psalms 27:3
Psalms 34:17-18
Isaiah 43:1-2
2 Thessalonians 3:3
Ephesians 4:1-3

On Your Own