God answers prayers. I heard this all my life and was pretty sure people who told me this might be slightly mistaken. It seemed to me that I didn’t get any answers when I prayed.
Sure, every once in a while, I’d pay attention to the fact that I did get through the trial about which I was praying, but in the rare moments that I did notice my prayer had been answered, it didn’t seem definitive. Because it could have been a coincidence. I didn’t see any evidence of God anywhere. You know, like George Burns’ voice saying, “There. You got what you wanted. Now, will you believe in me?” So I never gave Him credit.
My Lesson in Written Prayer
All of that changed when I attended a workshop on prayer journaling. “Bring a notebook and a pen,” my friend had told me. Easy enough. After a talk and an explanation of four things you can put in your journal, the trainer charged us to find a private place in which to write in our journals for the first time.
Because I had a formula to follow, I didn’t find the actual writing very difficult, although I felt a little silly writing to God. I preferred talking to Him. Since I’m almost always willing to give new things a try, I pushed through my uncomfortableness. You never know what you might learn or discover.
The trainer gave us the following order of topics which I used to begin writing my prayer journal.
How to Write a Prayer Journal
- Tell God how you’re feeling at the moment.
- What a day I’m having, Lord!
- So-and-so makes me so frustrated.
- When will it ever end?
- Offer Him praise.
- You are holy, Almighty Father, and all creation rightly gives you praise.
- All life, all holiness comes from You, O Wonderful Counselor, my Prince of Peace.
- I praise You, God, from Whom all blessings flow, even when I can’t see them.
- Ask Him for help with something bothering you. Then add your prayers for others.
- End with thanksgiving.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
I kept it up for a few months, not every day, mind you, but at least several times a week. Months later, I remembered the instructor, Karen Mains had instructed us to go back after some time and mark in the margins when any of our prayers had been answered.
As I reviewed my earliest pages, I noted where a healthy baby had been born, where a surgery had been successfully completed, and even where I had become calm in a stressful situation. As I repeated this reviewing process every few months, I could see with my very own eyes the truth I’d been told years ago.
GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS.
My entries written in blue and black ink, helped me see the proof over and over again. I stared at it in my own handwriting.
First of all, I had written little prayers, particular to me and those who asked me to pray for them. Next, I had prayed them. And most of important of all, God had answered them. The proof in the margins of pages of notes thanking God for each answered prayer forced me to a clear conclusion. God does answer prayers.
Sometimes, when you’re proven wrong about something, you might get irritable like me at first. I really kind of relished being able to complain that God didn’t ever answer me. Ever. Now, an old childhood habit of whining with a poor-me, give-me-some-attention pout surely had to die now. I could no longer say God doesn’t answer prayers. I knew it was not true.
Tips: How to Begin your Prayer Journal
Don’t take my word for it. If you want to have your own proof, I encourage you to begin your own prayer journal. Try it for a month or so. Remember that God has His own timing on things, so don’t be too hasty to look for quick answers.
Next, Click here for tips, do’s & don’ts in prayer journaling from my friend and fellow spiritual writer, Jean Wise. She suggests you date each entry and I agree with her. By doing so, I learned about God’s timing and how often I’d rediscover the same truths.
“Keeping a journal has taught me that there is not so much new in your life as you sometimes think. When you reread your journal, you find out that your latest discovery is something you already found out about five years ago. Still, it is true that one penetrates deeper and deeper into the same ideas and the same experience.”
I hope this has helped you learn how to begin a prayer journal and a few of its benefits. Keeping a prayer journal will help you by:
- unloading and clarifying your concerns
- learning about yourself
- discovering that your deepest needs often stay the same over the years
- improving your relationship with God
- praying more consistently for your friends and loved ones
Finally, consider how you prefer to write, either digitally or with pen and paper. You might start your prayer journal in your phone notes or on a tablet. Or, you might enjoy buying yourself a beautiful writing journal or use a composition notebook that’s sitting on a shelf. Most importantly, open your heart to God and start one.
For more about ways of praying, read the first two chapters of my spiritual memoir FREE here. My journey to intimacy with God, about hearing God’s voice as I searched for a way to make Jesus my best friend might answer some of your questions. Questions you might not even know you have. This book could be an answer to some of your prayers.
“An arresting and absorbing memoir that tells the deeply personal story of one woman’s relationship with God. It’s also a how-to-succeed-in-business story, with the emphasis on both spiritual and economic growth. A touching and beautiful testimony.” William McKeen, author of Outlaw Journalist and Mile Marker Zero.
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2