All opinions expressed are those of the writer.
As an early Christian, I had various mentors telling me that I needed to set a time to pray, read the bible, and spend time alone with God to get to know Him and develop a relationship with Him. I have heard from the elders in my church that the way you talk to a friend and spend time together is the same way you would with God. It is a two-way conversation, and even though we cannot see Him, we can feel Him through prayer.
I had no clue how to begin praying despite my desire to get closer to God; I thought that prayer was boring and awkward just talking to myself. However, a friend of mine who taught me about the Lord gifted me a devotional journal named God Calling. It was then that I discovered that prayer journaling was an effective way to talk to God, get to know Him, meditate on the scriptures, and reflect on our own experiences.
Christian author Donald Whitney states, “As a Christian, your journal is a place to record the works and ways of God in your life. Your journal also can include an account of daily events, a diary of personal relationships, a notebook of insights into Scripture, and a list of prayers requests. A journal is one of the best places for charting your progress in the other Spiritual Disciplines and for holding yourself accountable to your goals” .
There are even examples of prayer journaling throughout the bible; when King David wrote his psalms, he expressed himself as a sinner, and wrote to God about his personal experiences, thoughts, and wishes to God.
My God Calling devotional journal was one of the best ways for me to draw near God. In writing this piece, I would love to share some of my personal responses from my journal. I have picked a past bible promise from my daily reading as an example:
My Bible Promise for Today:
“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life.”
I wrote in my journal:
May 7, 2009: Dear Lord, I want to be transformed into a new creature. Create in me a new heart, one like yours. I have been spiritually dead, walking in darkness for all these years. I want to live in you and enjoy your presence.
Journaling turned out to be a prayer discipline so essential in my life that I began to write about anything and everything that would happen to me and about my own experiences with the Lord. I would journal a couple of times every week, and sometimes daily. My prayers became, as I would call them, love letters to God, where I expressed my feelings, petitions, and gratitude for the one who was there for me when I needed Him the most.
I found that journaling was very helpful in times of trial and tribulation, because I could just offer up my feelings and emotions in writing; pouring out my heart to Jesus on paper was a relief. There were times where I had no one to turn to, and I knew that no one would ever understand me like God. So, I turned to paper and pen and began expressing the things that affected my soul.
I can attest that journaling can be very powerful in developing a relationship with God if done consistently. Meditating on the scripture and writing down how God speaks to you can bring you closer to Him. Here are some suggestions that may help you in beginning your own journey:
- Open up your heart to the Lord to express yourself, and be ready to receive guidance from Him.
- Buy a devotional journal, meditate on the devotions, and then write your own responses down, or you simply grab a notebook and start writing love letters to God.
- Set out time to journal in your day and to read from the bible, because spending time with God will grow you closer to Him..
Delia Halverson stated in her article, Journaling as a Spiritual Discipline, “No matter how you set up your journal and your journaling time, you will find that this discipline centers your life on God and gives you the necessary time to develop that relationship” . As you begin journaling, you will likely encounter an experience with Him in your spiritual life; your time with Him will strengthen your faith and draw you near to Him as the days go by.
Learn more about prayer journaling and spiritual disciplines:
The Spiritual Discipline of Journaling. By Sally Davey, Christian Study Library: https://www.christianstudylibrary.org/article/spiritual-discipline-journaling
Journaling as a Spiritual Discipline. By Delia Halverson, The Thoughtful Christian: https://adventlu.org/wp-content/uploads/Journaling-as-a-Spiritual-Discipline-TC-User.pdf