Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Power of A Prayer Journal

I always worry that God doesn't hear/answer my prayers. I keep thinking, I'm doing this wrong, or, I'm not asking for the right prayers are too selfish, etc. It always seems to me that I don't pray often enough, or long enough, or in the right way. And all of these may be true, but what I've learned is that God answers my prayers anyway. They're not perfect prayers but God's perfection more than compensates where I am lacking.

About five or six years ago I decided to start writing down my prayers in a journal. [I've been kind of inconsistent with this over the years, but that is irrelevant here.] I started the journal because at that time, I realized that God had answered a prayer that I'd fired off in a moment of frustration. That prayer was one of those sighs that you send heavenward in the moment, and it took several months for me to realize that that prayer had been answered. It wasn't until I faced a similar situation, and responded to it very differently, that I remembered that I'd prayed about it, and I simultaneously realized that my prayer had been answered! That prompted me to start writing down my prayers so that I could have a tangible record of what the Lord has done, and does, and is doing in my life and in the lives of the people I care about. I think this is part of what David meant when he encouraged us to "taste and see" (Ps 34).

Since then I've seen lots of my prayers, big and small be answered, sometimes in unexpected ways. Some of these were wishlist prayers -- the "God I would like" prayers that are fulfilled by tangible things: jobs and opportunities, money where needed, etc. But the ones that have blown me away are the prayers that answered needs that I couldn't properly articulate in words. Here's an example: At around age 24/25, I kept feeling like I didn't have great, solid friendships, the ones that I truly longed for. I wanted to ask God for those kinds of friendships, but the best I could come up with was, "God, make me a better friend." I have seen transformation in my friendships since then (including with friends that I had before that prayer), and those friendships have transformed my life.

Sometimes all we need to see the goodness of the Lord, is to find a way to make us pay attention. Life is busy, and we forget (or don't notice) that God is continually, consistently good. My prayer journal has been this reminder for me, and an encouragement to pray more boldly, and as specifically as I can. I've seen how God says yes, and how God says no to my requests and petitions. My prayers, written down, have taught me more about the God that I choose to serve, because I can see God's hand at work throughout my life.

Be blessed and keep praying!

No comments:

Post a Comment

A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
and how good is a timely word! -Prov 15:23