Why Keep a Spiritual Journal (because it Ignites a Passionate Life of Prayer)

Find out 7 reasons why I think every Christ follower should keep a spiritual journal.

Ever wonder why keeping a spiritual journal is so important?

Below you will find 6 reasons for keeping a spiritual journal. 

I’ve been keeping prayer journals for over 40 years. The focus of my journal is to keep track of my journey with God. The Bible, God’s love letter to us helps us see that people kept journals. They wrote down what they heard God speak.

Over 45 times the Bible speaks about writing down what God spoke. Where would we be if the likes of Moses Nehemiah or Habakkuk hadn’t kept a journal of their encounters and words from God? 

From their example and my experience, here are six reasons why I think every Christ follower should keep a spiritual journal.

1. It keeps at your fingertips a ready reference of the things God is saying to you personally. A personal word from God in the form of a scripture, a dream or a word of prophecy is life-giving. Just like a gift from a loved one, or a picture or an important letter we keep them in a safe place, don’t we?

In the same way, a record of what God is saying to you helps you keep track of your spiritual journey.

 2. It motivates you to read the Bible and listen for God’s voice. Many struggle with reading the Bible so keeping a record of what you are reading and noting the things God speaks to you brings joy and encouragement.

3. It helps to keep you focused. Briefly logging key prayers in your journal aids in praying in the front of each journal entry, I always write: “The prayer recorded is the prayer rewarded.”

As you glance back at the last entry that you wrote it encourages you to keep your appointment with the Lord. It brings a hunger to be more aware of His presence in you and around you.

4. It provides a place of release where you can pour out your heart to the Lord and know He hears you. Have you found that sometimes in trying to pray through your trials, frustrations, or complaints you get caught in a kind of spiral that pulls you deeper rather than breaking out?

Writing and seeing and reading your transaction with God in black and white can be healing, revealing, and transforming. When you break out you now see from God’s perspective.

As you write it’s a way of loosing yourself from the sadness and raw emotion like David did in many of his Psalms.

In some supernatural way, it seals what you’ve been trying to say and brings the peace that passes understanding.

5. Reviewing your spiritual journal entries from previous months and years gives you a perspective on your spiritual growth. Of course, you will see where you’re not listening to God’s voice.

But also, you see where God’s faithfulness and His persistence to communicate His will and direction through journaling is encouraging. For example, when you review older entries you can see God had been speaking to you.

You can record scriptures, impressions, and prophecies given to you by others, helping you keep everything connected. Reading through your journals for the past years gives you perspective on your spiritual life. Instead of a birds-eye view, it’s a long-range view of where you’ve been and where you’re going.

6. It builds trust when you see how God has been working in your life and answering your prayers. Leafing back through your old entries causes you to praise and worship Him for working in your life.

Finally, if you keep a spiritual journal, what have you learned about its benefits?

 

 

 

Is Your Conversational Prayer Missing A Vital Link?

When God speaks things happen. You see this from Genesis to Revelation.

Do you neglect Conversational Prayer?

I neglected it like the plague for years. I prayed with different types of prayer and I did all the talking. It wasn’t a dialogue but a monologue. It was about me, myself and I.

Don’t beat yourself up. You’re not alone.

Ranking high among the most neglected aspects of the Christian life is one  Conversational Prayer.

Not that Christians don’t pray, they engage in all types of prayer. What’s missing is Conversational Prayer.

 “The Lord says, “All you who are thirsty, come and drink. Those of you who do not have money, come, buy and eatCome buy wine and milk without money and without cost.

Why spend your money on something that is not real food? Why work for something that doesn’t really satisfy you? Listen closely to me, and you will eat what is good; your soul will enjoy the rich food that satisfies.

Come to me and listen; listen so you may live” (Isaiah 55:1-3).

I can’t get away from Isaiah 55:1-3. We own a Yorkie called Rocky, and these verses in Isaiah paints a picture of what he does when he gets his meaty bone. Yum! 

He prizes his bone and anyone who owns a dog knows the routine.

dog Bone

I say to Rocky, “Want a treat?” His ears perk up and he prances even before he sees his treat. He now has his prize, wagging his tail, and proud of his find, even though it came from my hand.

After telling Rocky what a good dog he is he drags his bone to a more quiet place in the TV room. He settles down, gnaws on his bone and it’s obvious he’s enjoying himself. He isn’t in a hurry and after an hour or so he buries his bone in his doggy box so he can find it the next day.

I love to see Rocky chew his bone. I call it doggy meditation. Just kidding – but it’s a lot like Conversational Prayer.

Let me explain.

“O taste and see that the LORD is good!” (Psalm 34:8).

The missing link to Conversational Prayer is neglecting to come to the one who gives you food for your soul. Rocky comes to me to get his meaty bone because he knows who gives him tasty treats. He doesn’t go to the next-door-neighbor but to me. Again, and again without fail.

God says, “Why work for something that doesn’t really satisfy you? Listen closely to me, and you will eat what is good; your soul will enjoy the rich food that satisfies. Come to me and listen; listen so you may live.” 

I hear God saying, “The spiritual food I give feeds and nourishes your inner man that all your material things can’t.”

“Listen closely to me, and you will eat what is good; your soul will enjoy the rich food that satisfies. Come to me and listen; listen so you may live.” 

God is speaking about His Word. The word “listen,” is directly connected to the phrase “eat what is good.”

Conversational Prayer is a Feast for Your Soul

No one taught me how to eat the rich food God gives. I came to Him but totally missed the listening part.

Eating the word is not a new concept. “I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll; and he said to me, “Take it, and eat;” (Revelation 10:).

Jeremiah and Ezekiel old testament prophets had also eaten books. Yum. A good diet for anyone who cares about Conversational Prayer.

I am using the metaphor,

“Eat what is good; your soul will enjoy the rich food that satisfies.

 Come to me and listen; listen so you may live.”

In addition, I want to focus on and clarify what it means to “Eat what is good.” When you learn to “eat what is good” it becomes a feast for your soul.

When God speaks things happen. You see this from Genesis to Revelation.

“You can’t hear God speak to someone else, you can hear him only if you are being addressed.” Ludwig Wittgenstein

Like Rocky putting all of himself into gnawing on his bone, we put all of ourselves into eating what God gives us to eat. As Rocky chews and eats away at his bone, he absorbs it. There’s not a trace of any meat left on the bone. It’s now become part of him. His coat shines, his teeth are white, and he’s satisfied.

How to start absorbing the food God gives you to eat. 

Exercise: 

Read Isaiah 55:1-3. Which thoughts below describes your most common response to what you just read. Circle two or three, if you wish.

  • What in the world do you mean Holy Spirit by “eat what is good”?
  • I need your help to understand these Scriptures?
  • I remember a teaching about this passage – how is it connected?
  • I can’t do what this passage teaches.
  • That was new!
  • I’m done, it takes to long.
  • I’m sleepy – I’ll read it tomorrow.
  • Other 

Read Isaiah 55:1-3 again.

  1. In Conversational Prayer why are the activities described in these verses a right response if you feel poor and penniless spiritually?
  2. Describe the reaction you have when you read.Those of you who do not have money, come, buy and eatCome buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
  3. “Why spend your money on something that is not real food? Why work for something that doesn’t really satisfy you? Listen closely to me, and you will eat what is good; your soul will enjoy the rich food that satisfies.” What does that mean Holy Spirit?
  4. What do these verses tell you about Conversational Prayer?
  5. Which of the following responses to Isaiah 55:1-3 would you like to try more often? Why?
  6. Why are you more likely to change when you engage with God through Conversational Prayer?

Going Deeper with Conversational Prayer

Experiment with one or more of the following.

  • Choose a response from this passage (such as how thirsty you are). 
  • Read Isaiah 55:1-3 aloud slowly. Which word or phrase is most meaningful to you? Why? What does that phrase say about how you want to connect with God? If you were to pray phrases from Isaiah 55:1-3 back to God, what would you say to Him?

Here are some starters:

Abba, my Father, open my eyes to the rich things you’re blessing me with that I don’t see or understand about Conversational Prayer.

Thank you, O God, that you know what I need to nourish my soul.

  • Journal about “Eat what is good; your soul will enjoy the rich food that satisfies.”
    Here’s an idea to get you started: Eating what is good takes time Cindy. Don’t rush, let’s enjoy this time together. I want to savor every word you give me Father like I savor each bite of smooth luscious chocolate. Each word you speak to me is like a feast for my soul. Delicious and satisfying.
  • Give yourself permission to respond: sense how much God loves you; how you may have left God on the sidelines of your life; how much God has helped you understand Conversational Prayer.

 

 

 

 

Find Out How You Can Hear The Voice Of God Through Journaling

Find out how you can begin to hear the voice of God through journaling.

Did your parents teach you how to have a conversation when you were young? Me too.

Good parents teach their children at a young age how to have a conversation with someone else. From ordering food when the waitress comes to the table to take the order to talking to Grandma and talking to friends.

Teaching children taught me that children are not born knowing how to have a good conversation with somebody. Most of the time kids are very one-sided in their conversation. Most of the time it’s more like, “Look at me” and they talk about everything they did.

Many times when we think of journaling we imagine doing all the talking like a child. But hearing God’s voice through journaling is more a two-way conversation that can be learned.

1 Chronicles 28:19  David said, “This is in writing because His hand was upon me. He helped me to know all the plan.”

I believe David learned the Art of Journaling. What do you think?

David wrote a lot. We have the Psalms to prove it.  Journaling is a skill. It’s not a skill you are born with. You learn how to develop conversation as a kid and you learn to develop a conversation with God very much the same.

A good definition of spiritual journaling is  – a written conversation with the Lord.

“It is a written dialog between you and the Lord where you approach Him with your thoughts and ideas and write back what He tells you.”

What Hearing the Voice of God Through Journaling Looks Like

Journaling looks like this,

“Father, I am having a bad day. I didn’t get any sleep last night. I don’t feel like getting out of bed today, Lord.”

The Secret to Hearing God Through Journaling is Being Honest

Now it’s the Lord’s chance to talk. That is one of the secrets to hearing His voice. Be real don’t fake it. Say it like it is and come to Him as you are. As you come and journal (by writing down) how sad you are and whatever else, then you quiet your spirit.

Next, a picture might come to you, a memory may come to you or a scripture will come to mind, and all you need to do is start writing it down.

Don’t worry about grammar because it’s your journal and for your eyes only. You’re not writing an essay. The key in writing it down is to not write in the third person but to write it as if it is coming directly from the Lord to your heart.

So, after I’ve  written my part, I close my eyes and say, “Okay Father, what do you have to say me?”  

It would look a little like this,

“I am with you, my child.  It’s time to put your problems aside and to just sit in my  presence, I’ll stay with you and never leave you. We’ll walk through this problem together.”

You are journaling!

It takes a little bit of practice not to do all the talking at first. Journaling takes practice because it’s a skill that you can learn. At first, it will probably be straight from your mind.

Relax.

It is okay.

I’ve gone back to some of my old journals years ago. I did all talking but wasn’t listening for the Father’s voice. But over time I heard His voice more clearly. It’ was life-giving – like a feast for my soul.

Start slowly.  Remember no child learns to speak overnight? Just like a toddler needs time to learn to speak, we need time to learn to hear His voice. Yes, some of what you write down will be your thoughts and ideas.

The more you journal the better you will get. Just like me, you will look over older journals and see which parts were God and which parts came from you.  That’s okay. The more you get used to hearing His voice, the more you will discern where you are getting off track.

It’s a relationship. From God’s heart to your heart. In every healthy relationship, it takes a while to understand what the other person is “really” saying. Sometimes you need to ask clarifying questions, don’t you? It takes time to get to know one another. It is the same with the Lord.

Simply put, spiritual journaling is a method of conversation by writing, where you state your thoughts to the Lord and then you write down His answer.

People make it hard but learning how to journal is quite simple and takes time.