Journaling Your Journey

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, February 8, 2015 0 comments

by Ami Samuels

Have you ever been frustrated or discouraged with your prayer life?

There was a time that I was. I had the best of intentions but I often found myself nodding off on God. What I mean by that is, I would climb into bed at night and start to pray, and before I knew it I was asleep and waking up to my alarm. Frustrated, I would hit my snooze button and began to pray again, only to find that I had fallen back to sleep asking myself, “Did I even say amen?”

That was before I discovered prayer journaling. I started my first journal on January 1, 1996. I don’t remember, but I would guess it was a new year’s resolution. It was one resolution that I have actually kept. I have journaled 19 years of my family’s lives along with my prayers and a record of my walk with God.

Donald S. Whitney writes, “The Christian life is, by definition, a living thing. If we can think of the Discipline of Bible intake as its food and prayer as its breath, many Christians have made journaling its heart. For them it pumps life-maintaining blood into every discipline.”

Journaling has allowed me to quietly enter into the presence of God. Writing my prayers has helped me stay focused and committed to prayer, and it allows me to see answered prayers, keep a record of my spiritual journey, and live an examined life.

I have found that journaling has been a wonderful tool for me, but it has also been a way for me to leave a legacy of faith for future generations.

I imagine that some of you are thinking, “Writing isn’t for me,” or, “I don’t have time for that.” I understand because I didn’t think it was for me either, 19 years ago.

Bill Hybels writes in his book Honest to God, “Over the years I have met leaders who have somehow seemed to avoid the daily slide into artificial Christianity. Whenever I could I asked what their secret was. In almost every case, they said journaling, the daily process of examining and evaluating their lives in written form.”

“Now if you think I ran right out and bought a journal, you’re dead wrong,” he says. “I thought the idea was ridiculous. People who had time for that were not like me. They didn’t have my schedule with my kind of pressure. Besides, blank sheets of paper scared me. Still I had to admit that too often I repeated the same mistakes again and again. In a rare moment of honesty, I faced the fact that I was living under the tyranny of an unexamined life.”

Hybels goes on to say, “Finally I understood. The journalers were simply telling me to do a postgame analysis! How could I expect to be conformed to the image of Christ without examining my mistakes and progress? How could I grow without evaluating my character, decision-making, ministry, marriage, and child-rearing? Maybe journaling was for me.”

The first question I get asked about journaling is, how do I start? There are several acronyms out there to help you pray more intentionally, I would like to share the one that I have in my first journal, which is the word pray: P = praise God R = repentance, A = another, and Y = yourself. This is just an outline of sorts to help you on days that you aren’t sure how to begin.

As I was preparing this blog post, I was scanning through my old prayer journals and I read prayers that I prayed for my sons on their first day of school, sleepovers, ballgames, and also for their teen years, college, future spouses, and careers.

My hope is that as you journal your journey, your relationship with the Lord will grow and you will plant seeds of faith for future generations.