For the past few years, I’ve always struggled with praying. Whether it’s praying at home, church or with a group of friends, I’ve always felt fearful. This stemmed from my belief that I couldn’t pray as well as my peers or that I wasn’t using enough big words.
I shared this fear with my mentor and she suggested I start using a prayer journal since I love to write. I’ve been using it for a few months now and it has really helped me grow spiritually. Here are 3 ways:
1. Sluggish about Prayer
This was reoccurring. I’d commit myself to praying in the morning and evening and forget. As soon as I’d wake, I’d rush out of bed to continue my day or fall asleep as soon as I was in my bed. It made me grow really discouraged because I was allowing myself to become lazier about praying by just hoping it’d get better. The journal helped me by creating a task, which requires action.
2. Fear of Man
I’ve always had a big fear of praying out loud. I was convinced that I would mess up praying for another brother or sister. I didn’t feel my words were sincere enough, and if I was supposed to pray on behalf of someone, I thought I wouldn’t do it right.
To put it plainly, I thought someone would call me out for not having an extravagant prayer. Writing in my journal made me realize that God listens to every prayer, no matter the request. Prayers also come in all shapes and sizes; it’s wrong of me to measure them based on fearful assumptions.
When I read past journaled prayers, I’m in awe of how gracious and loving God is, especially in answering prayer. Whether it’s prayers for a job, killing sin, holiness or simple requests, God hears and takes them all into account.
Then there’s the other side where some of the prayers haven’t been answered, and I’m left to ponder how God still uses them to carry out his own will. But there’s also great joy in this, because it pushes me to pray earnestly and reminds me that I should desire things that glorify God, and not myself.
A prayer journal is a humbling experience for anyone who wrestles with trying to achieve a good prayer life. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I love the reminders set in this Scripture. I've really reaped the benefits of having a prayer journal. God used this method to allow me to be more diligent, and pray openly on behalf of others. It also reminds me of how God is always at work, even when he seems quietest.