Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
will not reach them.
You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
- Psalm 32:6-8
“If you aren’t already doing so, I would strongly urge you to begin keeping a personal journal and write in it daily. This will not only help you focus your thoughts during and after your quiet time with God, but will enable you to look back on His footprints in your life.
“Make sure this journal includes your prayer diary. Spend time in prayer every day – every single day.”
- Charles R. Swindoll, The Finishing Touch
I have never journaled to the Lord, nor have I been in churches that suggested such. Then, one of my favorite shows on the local Christian television station had a recurring advertisement at the end of every show. Of course, it was an appeal to send them a donation, but the lure was that they would send you a lined journal for your practice of journaling to the Lord.
My response was “Journaling to the Lord? What is that?!”
I still have little idea what it is, but this short devotion by Charles R. Swindoll gives me a hint. It is like a diary, but more of a spiritual diary.
My wife started out this year trying to write in a journal what blessings she had received that day. Rather than focusing on the trials, tribulations, and troubles (the triple “tr…” words that often dominate our prayers), she was going to focus on the blessings. I think like so many New Year Resolutions, the diary is probably mostly blank after the first couple of weeks, but if I were to start journaling, that would be one topic each day.
As someone who writes every day, mostly writing what I feel God has burdened me to write, I have argued against a journal in addition to that, but I am starting to second guess that. It might be instructive, as Rev. Swindoll says to look back. When did I write one topic or another? What were the activities of that day besides writing?
With those kinds of data, I can learn about how God blesses me, instead of just learning the fact that He does. Why was that safe travel day so important? Why did I write about that particular blessing on that particular day?
Knowing how God works in our lives could be just as important as knowing THAT He works in our lives.
So, now I have at least the following topics:
- Prayer Diary
- Events of the Day
- What I wrote about
- Future writing topics that emerged during the day
- The triple “tr…” – if time permits
Yep, this might even being helpful. I write a lot of this down anyway, but a single journal could keep it better organized. And it allows me the opportunity of connecting the dots.
I praise you, Lord. You keep me going in the right direction, even when I take an old devotion from a year ago, and randomly re-read it. Amen.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.