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A few years ago I started keeping a prayer journal. A lot has happened in my life since then. Truthfully, it’s been quite a rollercoaster ride. Along the way, I’ve offered up many prayers to God and received many answers back. So much happens that it’s easy to lose track of all of the things He has to say. That’s why I’m glad I started a prayer journal. When I get discouraged and think I’ll never hear from God again, I can look over my journal entries and see the goodness of God as He answered my prayers and kept me going when I wanted to give up.
I tend to keep journaling pretty simple and I don’t write in it every day. But when God has something important to say to me or I have a deep down need to write to Him, I get it out and make an entry. Whether I feel good or bad, I pour my heart out to God on paper. Sometimes I’ll write out a prayer directly to God just as I would say it to Him. And sometimes it’s just my feelings about the day or situation I’m in. (Hey, sometimes its silly doodles of flowers, cuz I’m girly like that!)
No matter what I write or have to say about my crazy life, the best part of my prayer journal is keeping track of what God says back to me. His answers always give me comfort in the moment. But I also know that I will look back over them sometime in the future and find strength in His words again.
It’s interesting to see the many different ways God has of answering prayer.
God uses His own word to speak to us. So it’s no wonder that the pages of my prayer journal are filled with scripture after scripture. Each one of them holds a special meaning to me, so I make sure to write out not only the verse but also why God gave me that particular scripture in response to my prayer.
Recently I read through some of my old entries and found a verse from Romans 15:5 “Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus.” What really sticks out to me in this verse are the words perseverance and encouragement. I’m positive that God spoke these words into my heart that day because I had asked Him for those two exact things the day before. But if I had not recorded that response from God in my journal along with my thoughts and prayer I wouldn’t be able to look back on it now and remember just how good God is in answering my prayers.
Sometimes God will speak to us through a thought or just one word. When He speaks to us in this way, there is no doubt that the one word or thought is directly from Him. I have pages and pages of notes God has given to me in a sudden burst of inspiration. A single thought or word that He has shared to inspire and encourage my heart. Heck, once it was a number. That one was interesting!
God speaks to us through other people. How many times have I been minding my own business and God has said something to me through another person? More times than I can count. It could come from hearing the pastor preach a sermon that gets right to the heart of the matter. Or having a conversation with a dear friend who openly shares her own circumstances with me. Or even sitting in traffic and listening to a song on the radio. However, God speaks to me I try to write about it in my journal. I don’t want to forget what He said and I don’t want His words to fall away unnoticed just because I get busy in this crazy mess we call life.
Just like me, I’m sure you’re on your own rollercoaster ride of nonstop action. And I promised you in the title of this post that a prayer journal would change your life. So I’d like to share with you three things that have really changed in my life since I began keeping a prayer journal in the hope that it will change yours too. Each of them builds on the next. And before you know it your life, in particular, your prayer life will be changed!
#1 I realized God really does listen when we pray.
Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
Seeing is believing. So, when we see God’s answers to our prayers written down in black and white, we start to understand that God really listens when we pray. As I said before, it is incredible to look back at my previous journal entries and see the way God has faithfully answered my prayers. In those times when I was desperate for an answer and couldn’t wait to hear from God, He listened and He answered.
#2 Thankfulness filled my heart.
but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
How is it possible to go through difficulties and at the same time pray with thanksgiving? The answer is simple, as the pages of our journals begin to fill up, thankfulness is a natural reaction to so many answered prayers. That thankfulness builds up inside and covers all of the dark places we try so hard to hide. It grows and takes root until our hearts are filled to the brim with thankfulness for everything God has done.
#3 My relationship with God grew closer and closer the more I prayed.
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.
Isn’t it amazing to know that God wants to talk to us? And He wants to have a real and meaningful relationship with us? Closeness with God is what I crave the most and it’s what I’ve found through my prayer life. The more time I spend with Him, the better my relationship with Him becomes. If like me, you’re longing for closeness with God, it’s just a prayer away. The more you call upon Him the nearer He is to you. All you have to do is start the conversation, He’ll do the rest.
I hope that this post has given you a few ideas of where to start with your prayer journal. There is no right or wrong way to do it. A lot of people fill their journals with pictures and artwork or maybe stickers that have meaning to them. (Who doesn’t love a cute sticker?) Others just want to write down their feelings, thoughts or answered prayers. Whatever you choose to put in your journal, the real power within its pages is knowing that God is listening when you pray and that He is answering you too. It may sound simple, but that’s how a prayer journal will change your life! Praying for you to see answered prayers filling up your pages soon!
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