I’ve been a Christian for a long time. I went to church with my mom when I was young and returned to the church as an adult with young kids. I’ve participated in several Bible studies that have taught me a lot, helped me delve deeper into my relationship with God, and have given me lifelong friends that I’m very grateful for. However, none of that has compared to my journey over this past year.
So what’s been different? A daily devotional and prayer journal.
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Late last year, I was thirsty for something more. Something that I just wasn’t getting anywhere else in my life. We had stopped going to church because of my severe sensitivity to perfume. (You can learn about that in my post What I’ve Learned from my Chronic Illness.) I was seriously missing my church family and even more so, missing Jesus. It was time for me to turn to Him again. After all, He’d been waiting right beside me the whole time. All I needed to do was invite Him in.
I guess Jesus thought that I needed Him too because for Christmas that year, I got “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. (Thanks, Val!) In the past, I’d leisurely read through devotionals but was very sporadic with it. I certainly never read the scriptures with each day’s devotional, but rather, read the day’s passage and went on about my day.
This time, I knew I needed more of Jesus. So that’s why I decided I was not only going to read the day’s scripture along with each passage, but I was also going to start a prayer journal.
The first time I had ever heard of someone writing down their prayers was when Minnie Jackson told Skeeter that her interview would be easier if she wrote everything down like she does her prayers. (Have you seen the movie, “The Help?” Definitely a must-see!) After seeing this, it got me curious. How does keeping a prayer journal really help someone?
Here’s the thing. I had no idea it would completely change my life. Sounds dramatic, I know. However, my walk with Him has been absolutely unbelievable! I get far more out of our time together when I actually sit down and write everything out.
Let’s be honest, none of us can even begin to fathom all that Jesus can do in our life. He is so much bigger and more powerful than anything we could ever imagine.
Here is what I’ve Learned from keeping a Prayer Journal
- He has all the time in the world for each and every one of us. He will patiently listen and give you His time – whether you need 10 minutes or 10 hours. He is right there.
- I’ve learned to go to Him with a thankful heart instead of an asking heart. I used to spend time asking Him for so much during my prayers and now I look back and think how silly that was. He has already gone before us each day and equipped us with what we need to handle the day’s challenges. He has prepared this day for each of us. He is already taking care of the kids, our significant others, our families… so really, there isn’t a whole lot to ask for. He’s already taken care of it. So I spend more time thanking Him than asking Him.
- I used to worry myself over everything. Now I’m not perfect at this, but I have really learned to “give it to Jesus.” He can handle far more than I ever could. Every single time I relinquish control to Jesus, He takes care of it. Truly! Every! Single! Time! By the time the “event” that I’ve worried myself over gets here, it is always far easier than I made it out to be. Something may not turn out the way I thought I wanted it to, but something good comes from every single situation. He’s got this, so let Him!
- Jesus will provide everything I need. Missing a lot of work because of my chronic illness (you can find out more about my chronic illness here) means there are weeks that things are tough. I used to be afraid of emergencies, or how we would make it to the next week, but we’ve been through some extremely difficult challenges over the past several years and we made it through. Jesus provided absolutely everything we needed. Every! Single! Time! Not once have we gone without.
- He has helped me to slow down and see the beauty in everything around me. Everything that He created just for us!
- He wants me to live in the present with Him – in the right now. I’m an obsessive planner. Now, this can be a good trait, but it can also be a bad trait. Yes, we need to have a plan, however, we are not supposed to obsess over it. Plan it out and then come right back to the here and now with Jesus. Right where he wants us to be. When we start obsessing about the future, we start worrying all over again. And as we’ve discussed, there’s just no need for that.
- I’m not afraid of the next big emergency. We will all have bad things happen to us. Challenges for us to face. It’s the world we live in, but I’m not afraid. He is right beside me and will give me the strength to see me through, he’ll teach me something amazing throughout it, and I will still have complete joy. The kind of joy that can only come from him.
- Spending time quietly allows me to hear Him…..I mean really hear Him! I’ve had friends tell me that they can hear Jesus and I always wondered what that would be like. Oh, there have been plenty of times when Jesus would show me something in my life and I never doubted it was Him. But by spending time quietly with Him, for the first time ever, I can actually hear Him. It’s the most incredible thing I’ve ever experienced! Being able to hear him whisper to me is a feeling I will never grow tired of and will cherish for the rest of my life.
It’s amazing what you find out about yourself and what Jesus wants for you when you take the time to sit with Him each day. Write it down and really listen to what He is telling you.
I have no doubt that Jesus is going to continue teaching me something new every day, and I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to learn!
If you don’t keep a prayer journal, I encourage you to start today. It doesn’t have to be fancy, in fact, it can be a spiral-bound notebook that you have laying around. All that matters is that you start.
I’d love to hear what you’ve learned from your prayer journal! Comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Until next time, my friend…..
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Tammy Rotzoll is the founder and owner of Footprints of Inspiration and podcast host at A Faithful God Podcast (which can be found on your favorite podcast player). She lives in Virginia with her husband and together they’re learning how to navigate their fun, new adventure as empty nesters.
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