I don’t know about you, but prayer has been one of the most challenging parts of my faith. And it shouldn’t be! The bible is littered with scriptures about prayer: its importance, how to, famous answers. It is woven into every part of the church experience, whether you are just a Sunday sermon goer or whether you are involved in all the groups. Prayer begins and ends all the meetings and gatherings. And it always seemed, to me, that everyone just automatically knew how to pray. Everyone, that is, except me.
You want me to pray… out loud?
Never one for public speaking, public praying was something I always left to the others. The ones who knew how to pray. They knew the right words to say. The right order to say them in. It was like they had access to the secret handshake and I had somehow missed that part of orientation.
Now, that’s not to say I don’t pray at all. I do. But it doesn’t look like what I used to think it should look like. It is informal. And silent. And usually in small snippets throughout the day. It is more of an ongoing conversation with my Creator.
For the longer conversations, I turn to my prayer journal.
Writing out my prayers
If you do a quick Pinterest search you’ll see a lot of how tos for a journal that pays homage to the Christian flick War Room. And while all the pictures of the beautifully decorated and organized prayer books and binders draw me in, they’re not for me. I don’t view prayer as going to war. I view it as a conversation. It is my time to commune with my Creator, to share my doubts and worries and fears with Him. To thank Him for everything He has provided in my life. It’s also a place to seek His guidance when I have decisions to make.
For this, I need something much simpler. Basic, even. A beautiful notebook and a trusty pen.
As a writer, I have a mini obsession with notebooks and pens. I will take any excuse to wander through the office supplies section of Target to browse the pretty covers and colors. So it seemed natural to turn to my writer habits to build my prayer habits.
Spending time with my Creator
Once a week at least, I try to find the time and space to sit in the quiet with my notebook and pen. I can clear away the cobwebs in my mind and just pour out whatever I need to to God. I’m able to get into the details of things, be more specific with my fears and needs. I am free to fall into the glory of worshiping without feeling oddly on display. It is private. It is between Him and me.
Sometimes, through the course of writing out my prayers to Him, He leads me to scriptures. Those times I turn quickly to my bible or bible app. And then they are copied into the notebook, written down to call forth their power.
Writing down my prayers in this way also gives me a record of His answers. Sometimes the answers are no. Sometimes they are yes. And sometimes they are a long time coming. Only when I have “forgotten” do they get answered in some way.
Leaving a record of my journey
It is a visual journey of my relationship with God. It is a love story from budding new Christian to… now. I can flip through those pages and see His influence on my life, see how He has protected me, guided me, and lead me ever closer to Him. I can see the people He has brought to me, and those He has separated.
Prayer is still something I struggle with out loud. I still feel like that young kid asked to give a report to the class whenever I’m asked to pray out loud. And maybe I always will. But that’s okay. Because I know He hears me anyway. I know He doesn’t really care about the words that come out of my mouth, or that come out of my pen. He only cares that I talk to Him.
Tell me about your prayer life. Do you use a journal to write down requests and answers?