I want to share a little glimpse into the prayer journal I use that has helped me so much to get regular and somewhat organized in my prayer times. First, a disclaimer. The very LAST thing I would want is to portray that this is something I have all together or that I am an all-star prayer warrior. That thought makes me sick to my stomach! Because though I have grown in this area, I am still not where I want or need to be.
In Dec. of 2010 I was given a prayer journal by my sweet mother-in-law for Christmas. It has different divided sections and the author (Tara Furman) wrote a bit about prayer and some helpful hints, verses, etc in the beginning of each section. This happened to also be the time (unbeknownst to my MIL) that the Lord was gently convicting me and urging me that this was an area I was really lacking and that growing in my prayer life was the key to knowing Him deeper. How sweet that He provided a tool for the same thing he was urging me to grow in! 🙂
As I mentioned, the journal I have is purchased (you can order one at www.http://tarafurman.com/resources/), or you could get your own notebook and dividers from a place like staples. I am not sure about the size, but it’s smaller than your typical notebook size. Tara shared at a MOPS meeting I was at once that this is what she does and uses as her template.
Here’s a breakdown of the sections:
Praise: “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise…” Ps.100:4
I love how she says in the beginning that time spent in praise and thanksgiving should outweigh time spent making requests. Focusing our attention on Him makes us see how huge our God is, and how small in comparison are our problems and pressures.
In this section I go ahead and write down different favorite praise verses for “quick reference”. Another thing I do often that may sound corny…is write the letters of the alphabet down the page, then fill in an attribute of God for each letter. Or I sometimes just write my own praises, usually focusing on a certain attribute. Or sometimes I just put my earbuds in and listen to some praise music. But even if I am not writing on that day in this section, having it set up like this keeps me accountable and on track.
Thanksgiving: “You are my God and I will give you thanks…” Psalm 118:28
Here is the section to record God’s specific blessings and answers to prayer. It’s really neat to be able to look back and have it all in one place- things I would have otherwise forgotten, or it would have been more difficult to go back and find those things in a regular journal, as I have done in the past.
Some of my favorites are going back and reading things I wrote down that my kids said/did that showed me that God is working in their hearts! Or a fun movie night with the family. Or for peace that He gave when all was going crazy.
That is all I am able to write right now…I will finish this up later, but go ahead and publish it so it’s not one super-long post! I do hope that showing how it’s organized will help someone else! I spent much time in prayer feeling lost and my mind wandering….or feeling like there was so much to pray for, that I didn’t know where to start so I didn’t pray at all. Crazy, I know. But this has really helped me! I know it’s just a tool that will work for some and not for others…and that honestly it’s the work of the Holy Spirit that helps us, and all we really need is Him. When we lack the desire to pray, let’s take it to Him.