I've always loved the feeling of a "fresh" journal...the smooth pages, the crisp binding, and the way the pen glides. I'm normally a very "tech-obsessed" girl. I switched from a paper planner to an electronic one as soon as they came out, and I love the convenience of it. My computer is one of my best friends. However, eventually I found that I really missed writing on REAL paper (I know, I know, not too ec0-friendly, but I just found about 20 brand new composition journals in the dumpster, so I think I'm good for awhile!). Just as I LOVE getting mail that is written out by hand, I also love writing and pouring my heart out to God on the pages of my prayer journal.
In 2001, I read the book Let Prayer Change Your Life by Becky Tirabassi and she turned me onto the idea of journalling my prayers every day. I have found it to be so rewarding and life-changing for many reasons. First, when I write out my prayers, there is a record of what I have asked God for and I can "track" His answers. It's been amazing to watch him answer requests so clearly...and if I hadn't written it down, I would have forgotten and probably taken the credit for it myself! It's also much easier to pray for friends this way...I write down their requests as I get them so I don't forget. Secondly, I am better able to process my feelings about a situation or an emotion that I have having when I take the time to write it out. It takes much longer to write something than just say it or think it...so it helps me to process though things. Many times, God will speak to my heart and reveal things as I am writing them. It's fun to go back and see Him working through things with me. Lastly, I love to write out scripture as I pray. God's word is so powerful...and it's also easier to memorize verses when I write them down (memorization is a discipline I want to work on more....I'd love to hear from people who are doing it as well).
I've had a few different styles of journals...but the one I come back to most often is one that is divided into sections:
- Praise: I usually work my way through Psalms, doing 2-3 a day and writing verses down that really pop for me that day. Sometimes I will write my own Psalm to God...or write out all of the names I can think of for God.
- Requests: I pray for a lot of things because I know I have a big God. I pray for myself, Matt, Bella, my family and friends. I like writing it all out once and then just referring back to it...adding things as needed. I go back and highlight the request when God answers.
- Admitting: This section is always difficult. If I have been neglecting my time with God for awhile, this one takes a long time! I just ask God to show me anything in my heart/life that is not glorifying Him...that He would show me what areas I need to work on. It's interesting to go back through my journals and see certain "themes" of struggles I have...weaknesses, etc. and how I am in desperate need of a Savior!
- Thanks: I am so blessed and always want to thank God for the abundance in my life. Just writing down that I am thankful for the "little things" in my life like electricity, running water, and food reminds me that there are other people who consider those "big things" and who are struggling right now.
- Scripture and misc: I use this to write down any "random" scriptures I come across. Not necessarily during my quiet time...but anytime (sermons, quotes from books, etc).
I've never journalled much about daily life in general (i.e. I went here...I did this...etc.). After a few incidents in junior high, I learned not to write too many details down (remember Heth?) :) But I've been thinking about starting up again. Sometimes I feel like my head might just explode if I don't write all my thoughts out and process them. Perhaps I will incorporate it into my prayer journal. I've been completely inspired by these groups that I found on Flickr (thanks Mrs. Pivec!). The pages are so beautiful...like an heirloom to be passed down through generations.
I would love to hear from all you journal junkies out there...prayer journals, life journals, visual journals, homemaking journals...anything at all. What do you love about it? Why did you start? Share the journal love!