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Start a Prayer Journal and See Amazing Growth in Your Faith
I’m a christian mental health therapist, a wife and a mom of two. So I’m pretty short on time. But so are you, right? We each have responsibilities, duties, and roles we must fulfill on an everyday basis. Often the items that don’t need to get done get pushed to the next day, and the next, and the next.
Too often our time with God turns into quick prayers as we are bustling from one task to the next. Don’t get me wrong, anytime you are talking to God that is a good thing. But doesn’t He deserve more focus than that? Even in our busy schedules we take time for our family and our friends.
Utilizing a prayer journal is an amazing way to give Him more of us. And grow your faith in the process.
A Prayer Journal Helps with Focus
My mind wanders. It is like a constant loop replaying my to-do list, worrying about my kids, and thinking about my clients. Sometimes it’s hard to turn off. I know I’m not the only one this happens to. Unfortunately, I also know it can distract me while trying to pray. Sometimes I just need more.
I started prayer journaling just to help me with my focus. The process of writing commands attention better than praying in your head or even when praying out loud. You also have the ability to reread what you just wrote. This allows you to add to your thoughts and clarify what you are trying to tell/ask God. Please don’t worry about spelling errors or writing mistakes. The point is not to make it perfect but rather to deepen your faith and relationship with God.
A Prayer Journal Increases Intimacy
Write your entries like you are writing to a dear friend. Because you are! But I know this is not entirely comfortable for some people. When I was growing up, God was presented to me with a heavy focus on obedience and reverence. It was not until I was in my late twenties that I started to know God as the loving and caring Father that He is. That understanding and experience has only increased the more I allow myself to be open to His love. So I encourage you to try too.
We write to a friend to let them know we love them, miss them, to tell them information and sometimes to ask them for advice or help. Use the same formula when prayer journaling. Tell Him you love Him. You want more of Him. Let Him know what’s going on in your life. Share with Him your heart and your mind. Let’s be honest. He already knows these things but He wants us to come to Him! Just like an intimate friend or a lover. They know you love and value them but they want to hear it. Don’t we all!
And then ask Him for advice. Don’t tell Him what you want Him to do in your life. We don’t tell our friends how to help us. We value their opinion and their knowledge on what would be best for us. Isn’t God so much more in every way than our friends?
A Prayer Journal Allows You to See Patterns
One of the reasons I find prayer journaling to be so beneficial and powerful is the opportunity to go back and reread your entries. It allows you to see various patterns in your entries.
- Is there a certain topic that continues to be written about?
- Do your entries have a certain emotional theme? (sad, anxious, negative, thankful)
- The things you are asking God for, who will it benefit?
I have kept all of my prayer journals and I encourage my clients to do the same. Once a week I would recommend you look over the previous week’s entries. What patterns do you notice? Are you struggling with emotions you didn’t realize? Do you have control over the things you’re praying for? This is an amazing opportunity for self-reflection.
Every once in a while look at older entries. Are you still asking for the same things? If so, go back to the question, who will benefit from what you are asking? If the answer is you and for no other purpose but to make your life better or easier. It’s probably not going to change. Ouch. I know. Here’s a hard statement. Are you placing God in the role of your own personal genie? God is not in the business of granting wishes. In the movie Aladdin, Genie was a slave. God is a slave to no one!
At the start of the new year, I will also glance through the previous year’s journal as a way to set spiritual goals.
A Prayer Journal Allows You to See Growth
Another benefit to keeping your old prayer journals is to see your own personal growth. Both as a person and spiritual growth. Sometimes we struggle to see change or progress. We feel like we are in a rut or a never ending cycle. But looking back at our past journal entries allows us perspective. It gives us the opportunity to see all of the blessings God has provided us. To see how He has helped us through tough times. It also allows it to see how He may have tried to help us and we didn’t listen. Noticing those things are opportunities for growth, too!
I pray that utilizing a prayer journal helps you to see amazing growth in your faith and helps you to glorify God!
For other posts on how to increase faith and relationship with God go to: How to be Willing and Not Willful – Allowing God to be in Control and Start Praying in This Way and Become Closer to God.