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Capturing: Bringing God into Your Life by Writing.

By Tim B


This concept of “capturing” is taken entirely from Colleen Harrison, and is described in her book He Did Deliver Me from Bondage, which I recommend to every English-speaking member of the Church. This article is a summary of the idea in my words, with an example thrown in. Many of the ideas are Colleen’s, and even some of the words, so any value you find in this should be attributed to her.

One thing that’s definitely from Colleen is the point that, while the primary song teaches “search, ponder and pray,” capturing is to be found in the model of “pray, read and write.” The purpose of the exercise is to make a connection with God and receive inspiration from him, by means of pondering inspired words, and then exploring them in writing. It works something like this:

First, you pray. Early and often. This is talking to God, and asking for his help. He is a necessary participant in the process.

Next, you read something inspired –- scriptures, general conference talks, first Presidency messages, etc. — particularly having to do with the matter about which you are studying. This gives you something to work from. Think about what you’re reading, and how it might apply to your life and situation. Watch for a portion that strikes a chord with you. It doesn’t have to be from a LDS source — truth and inspiration can be found everywhere.

Once you have that portion, it’s time for writing. Begin by writing the portion you wrote into your journal. Next, paraphrase it as directly as you can. It’s not a bad idea to follow the practice of Joseph A. Cannon, editor of the Deseret News, who will study every word’s history in the Oxford English Dictionary (available at most libraries) or through a good etymological source like Every word may not deserve this kind of treatment, especially in a non-scriptural source, but certainly exploring the key words can make a lot of sense.  This can take a long time, but helps bring forth perhaps hidden insights into the meaning of the words.

After you’ve done a study of the words and paraphrased it, write whatever thoughts you have about this process. It can become a written prayer, and should include whatever impressions that come to mind as you go. This is between you and God, although might choose to share it with another at some point.

And this is where the power is. You’ve prepared yourself, and this is the point where scary things can happen, because you’ve stripped away a lot of the pride and crap that we usually keep in place, and you’re ready to hear from God. Like many other things, you will not have fireworks every time, but there are few times when you will have more fireworks than during this part of a sincere capturing.

Now, you don’t have to do all of these steps at the same time. You might find a number of capture-worthy pieces in just a few minutes of reading, and you can mark them down and get to them later when you have time. Doing a word-by-word analysis can take a very long time, so doing a word or two at a time until you’ve gotten through it can work as well. Taking a scripture with you to capture while at the temple, or before Church can also be good. Any time that you’re apt to have a bit of time with the spirit strong can be a good time for capturing.

I have only done this a few times, but I’ll never forget the experience I had while capturing once -– very powerful, as I became aware of God answering my questions as I wrote them. I still get shivers thinking about it. If you do the work, God will do his part too. Seek, and you will find. Draw near unto him, and he will draw near unto you. He has promised to, and he keeps his word. Just ask in faith and sincerity.

It’s worth a try.

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6 Responses to “Capturing: Bringing God into Your Life by Writing.”

  1. julie said:

    I don’t know if I’m ready to hear from God. I don’t know if I can do what He asks of me. You’ve of course heard that you should be careful what you ask for, but instead you should be careful what you pray for. Seriously, this sounds really scary Tim. I’m sure it works, but seriously??? What could I be afraid of? Now that’s something to ponder.

  2. Tim B said:

    As I said, I’ve only done it a few times. But the comment that led to writing this brought to mind that I should be doing some capturing now as I take the spiritual program up a notch. I’m a bit scared myself. I just shivered again.

    Not only does it sound like something to ponder, it sounds like something to do some capturing about. Face right up to what your problem with God is in a full-contact sort of fashion. In-your-face extreme recovery.

    I’ve probably got you really scared by now. I should be nicer.

  3. julie said:

    I just might do that tonight. We’ll see and I’ll let you know if it happens and what happens. Why do you think you are not being nice? Just sarcastic 🙂 lol It’s okay that I’m scared and probably in-my-face extreme recovery would be a good way to get it to stick in my head.

  4. Tim B said:

    Okay. Rock on. I’m considering doing a capture on the sacrament prayers as a way of adding some meaning to taking the sacrament. That came to me while I was driving home from work this morning.

    I wasn’t being nice because I was enjoying the irony of the idea — it was just so tidy and clever.

    You do well with doing hard-work recovery when you do it. Your progress can be really breath-taking. And capturing is breath-taking as well, so it could be a really good fit.

  5. julie said:

    Cool. Did you do your capturing Tim? It sounds like a good one. Wow, thanks for the compliment. I didn’t think I was progressing that much. I feel like most of the time, I take one step forward and two steps back.

    I actually did a capture last night. It went really well. Uhm, I’m not sure I want to say what it was about since everyone reads this(it’s kind of more personal), but I sort of already had an answer. I just wanted to have something more. It was my first capture, so it wasn’t that strong, but I did get an answer. It wasn’t the answer that I was looking for, but it’s okay. I do understand my answer. I just think that praying and reading and writing and looking up definitions, just prepared me better, to listen to what God had to say. It was cool.

    When I first started, I prayed, but I was so tired that I kept falling asleep. So, finally I decided that I just needed to sleep a little bit before starting again. I used the scripture from Alma 34:41 “But that ye would have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions.” I really liked looking up all the words and their meaning. It helped me look at it in a different light and I felt like it was easier that way to personalize the scripture to me and my life. So, over all, I would say it went really well.

    How did your capture go Tim? Anyone else do one?

  6. Tim B said:

    No, I haven’t done my capturing yet, although I’ve been doing a great deal of writing lately (with a bunch more to come). It’s a good idea, and I might be able to get to it this week.

    I’m glad to hear about how this went for you. Progress, as always, is good.

    You might want to go read over your posts in the forums — go back a while and just look at the ground you’ve covered. There have been ups and downs, but the trend is clear. Keep coming back, keep having ups, and you will get there.

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