Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Prayer Journal ... it works for me!

Welcome to Day 30 of the 31 Days series It Works for Me!

My inner perfectionist is seriously annoyed with me for not completing this series in the month of October.
My inner California girl says 28 out of 31 isn't too shabby.
So I figure to make peace between the two, if you could just turn your calendar back to golden October before you read this, everything will be okay.

I've had some wonderful examples in my life of people who prayed, and encouraged me to pray.  
A prayer journal is by no means my idea, 
but I would like to share with you a little of my experience with mine.  

After using a prayer journal for many years, I got too busy my prayer life changed, and I laid the journal aside for some time.  I didn't stop praying, I just didn't use my prayer journal.  But then we moved, and in the packing and unpacking, my prayer journal resurfaced.  

So what was I praying for more than 10 years ago when I began my journal?

That some of my children would learn other ways to show affection 
besides squeezing the pudding out of their siblings 
(it really was affection, it was just ... unharnessed :o)

That others of my children would learn to be wise about risk and stop going too fast on their bicycles, stop knocking on doors of neighboring homes belonging to people we didn't know, 
and stop climbing on tall unstable things.

That others of my children would learn not to whine.
Or pout.

And that others of my children would learn to enjoy the church nursery
and not cry the ENTIRE hour.  
And also that they would be safe from germs in there and stop coming home sick 
every. single. time.

God answered those prayers ... and we outgrew the need for them.  

But I was praying for other things that were more far-reaching during that period as well, 
and when I rediscovered my prayer journal, I was a little astounded and wholly delighted to see 
the answers to those prayers coming to fruition.

I prayed that my children would have close friendships with each other.
And they do.

I prayed that my children would value their relationships with each other 
no matter who else was around.
And they do.

I prayed that our family would be a place of encouragement for each other.
And it is. 

I prayed that our family would be a place of cooperation and teamwork.
And it is.

I prayed that my children would delight in the Lord.
And they do.

I prayed prayers that God did not answer with a yes during that time.
I prayed that God would let us buy the house we were renting in the city ... but the contract fell through.

So we moved to the country.

God's plan?
Better than mine.
Every.  Single.  Time.

My first prayer journal was just a small spiral notebook.
For me, it works to have separate pages for the people I pray for, where I write out 
the things I'm praying for them.
Generally I designate a day of the week to pray for specific individuals.

Here's what I love about keeping a prayer journal:

  • My prayer journal keeps me more or less on subject. When I pray, my mind tends to wander.  I really wish it didn't, but it does.  
  • Keeping a prayer journal helps me focus on areas of need for a sustained period of time.  Like weeks.  Or years :o)  
  • Keeping a prayer journal gives me opportunity to remind myself how, over and over again ...  God answers prayer in my life, and His answers are always the best ones.

I've added to the prayer requests of my early years, and since my journal is starting to fall apart, 
I'm gradually moving myself into a new book.
But my first one will always have a special place in my heart
and remind me of an exceedingly sweet season of life.  

God answered the prayers I prayed while changing diapers, watching Barney, searching for sipee cups, and strapping little guys into car seats.

Now that the kids are in their teens, the things I pray for are increasingly "adult" things.  
The answers to these prayers probably won't be complete until my children are well into their twenties.  
But having seen God answer the prayers of the toddler years, 
the thought of that fills me with thrill and anticipation.

A prayer journal ... it works for me!

Shared joy is doubled joy ... let's double the joy for both of us - what are you most grateful for today? Click below to leave your comment. I'll go first :

  1. I love the idea of a prayer journal! I also get unfocused during prayer time. I enjoyed reading the prayers for your children-valuing the relationships with each other, encouraging each other. I have the same hopes for my family as well.

  2. i never really visualized what it would look like for God to answer those prayers ... seeing the outcome has been just amazing! blessings on you and your family!

  3. I always have good intentions of "restarting" then never do. Maybe you're just the spark I needed :)

    1. i finally got tired of skipping over the nursery prayers, etc ... but it's going to take me a while to completely "move in" to my new book ... shopping for and finding the just right new book helped me at least get started :o)