To subscribe to Eternity Daily Bible Study click here
Eternity 67 - Keeping A Prayer Journal
Many great saints of God have kept a journal to record their meditations, clarify their thinking, remember their prayer points and jot their daily "God moments". These journals are often encouraging reading years later and a testimony to God's dealings with them. I find that when written out on paper selfish and silly prayers soon evaporate, worries seem to be less, and problems find solutions. Writing takes the cluttered, clogged up thoughts that swirl around our brains and put them in some coherent order. It thus helps to form spiritual clarity and reduce feelings of anxiety and overload.The following is who I organise my quiet times and journalling and I hope you will find it helpful as well.
I use a good quality three-in-one notebook, the multi-subject ones that students use. The first section is my personal musings and reflections, words from God and meditations. The second section is my biblical thoughts, jottings on passages of Scripture and notes on theology and ministry that occur to me. The third section is a record of my prayer points in three columns - prayer point, date prayed for and date answered. Having three sections like this helps me keep things in their place and helps ensure that I have a balanced mix of meditation, bible study and intercession. I write by hand using a fountain pen - as I find that is more personal, and my journalling is generally in the morning, with a cup of coffee, after answering my email.
Journalling is not divination but exploration. It should not be seen as a source of sudden flashes of divine insight and is best taken almost light-heartedly. For often the "wonderful revelation" of today can seem quite ordinary and even foolish in a week's time! I seldom find that journalling gives me some neat, on the spot instruction from God. Rather it enables me to develop, to put my thoughts in order, so that day by day, inch by inch, I accumulate knowledge, extend my thinking, increase my understanding and become a deeper Christian. Without journalling my thoughts would zoom around my brain in random order, my life would be largely unexamined and my ideas never thoroughly put down and critiqued. Thus journalling is primarily a matter of growing in insight and spiritual and mental discipline and not a method of divination or automatic writing (as it is sometimes used in the New Age movement).
Finally the prayer list! It is so encouraging to be able to have a record of God's faithful answers to prayer. People saved, provision given, healings, miracles, quiet changes, victories in ministry. If you ever have a moment of doubt about God's love and power the long list of items with ticks next to them and a full "date answered" column soon leaves you in no doubt. They are memorials to grace. The Psalmist often advocates remembering the works of the Lord" and keeping a prayer journal is one way that this can be done. In one student bible study I led we had a prayer diary that got the nickname "the book of life" because once someone's name was put in that book, and the group prayed for their salvation, then it was often only a matter of a few weeks before they came to Christ. Those young people learned big lessons from recording God's answers to their prayers each week and became bold intercessors with a living faith in God. Ok that's enough - now go out and buy your notebook!
(By the way the guitar player from that bible study is now a member of this list! Hi Neal!)