I write in my prayer journal every morning (well, I'll be real and admit that I do miss the occasional day if I'm running late or something. But ideally it would be every day). I start out by writing down thanksgiving and praises for God's greatness and all He has done. I love starting out this way because I hate feeling like my prayer life is nothing more than a string of requests. Next, I pray for whatever is on my heart and that God would use me and take control of every aspect of my life. For me, it is important that I pray this daily, because I've found that if I don't surrender daily, I will try to take things into my own hands. And nothing good comes from that. Finally, I pray for specific prayer requests for family and friends (that includes blog friends! ;-))
Overall, writing all of this in my prayer journal takes about 10 minutes each morning. Not a very long time at all, but it has made such a difference in my life!
Here are some of the advantages of writing in a prayer journal:
- Since I do it in the morning, it really gets my day started off on the right foot.
- I have had times in my life where I felt distant from God. At the time, I thought it was because He had pulled away. And sometimes maybe it was (more about this in the next bullet point). But mostly I think it's because I had pulled away from Him. Making a conscious effort to write in my prayer journal daily has helped me feel close to and connected to God.
- That being said, I really do think there are times in life when God does pull away a little bit to test our faith - times when He doesn't let us feel His presence as much. During those times, sometimes it doesn't feel like God is hearing our prayers. Writing them down makes them feel more concrete, if that makes sense, and reminds me that God really does hear me.
- It helps me stay focused and prevents my mind from wandering.
- It strengthens my faith. When I look back over the past 6 months in my prayer journal, (I always date my prayers, by the way!) I can see all the prayers God has answered and what He's done in my life,and it definitely increases my faith.