How Journaling has Changed my Prayer Life

22 October 2020


This past year has been a turning point in many areas of my faith. I've been recognizing where I struggle and have been trying to take proactive steps to improve my personal study of God's Word and to shift my focus more on Him instead of fixating on whatever I'm stressed about at the moment. I haven't been perfect at this. I have an incredibly long way to go, and I thank God every day for his endless grace and forgiveness, but I have been able to see drastic improvements in how I view reading my Bible and prayer.

Prayer is something that I haven't necessarily struggled with per se too badly throughout my life, I've just always felt like there's so much more I could be getting out of prayer than I have. Instead of the quick prayers said in my head throughout the day, I wanted a richer, deeper connection, to take quality time to be able to pour my heart out to God. 

I think prayer is often so easily taken for granted. How amazing is it that we can actually speak to our creator and He listens to us? 
"And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us." -1 John 5:14, ESV

I admit that I don't always take prayer as seriously as I should, and I knew it was a problem I needed to address. I picked up a copy of Timothy Keller's Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God at a little free library on my campus. This book was the beginning of my quest to change the way I think about and execute praying. It is an incredibly deep and theological book, so I have no doubt I'll need to read it a few more times to fully understand the message and techniques Keller highlights. It did, however, help me look at prayer in a more serious light. 

There is no exact formula to a perfect prayer. The perfect prayer doesn't exist. God hears every praise, every request, and every thanksgiving, whether it's mumbled under your breath at work, or said aloud in a dark, empty room in the stillness of morning. But even if there's no right or wrong way to talk to God, there are techniques you can practice in order to experience a more intimate side of prayer to better grow in your faith and relationship with God. When you take more time to pray, it's easier to recognize when your prayers have been answered. Following the outline of a Psalm can give you words for what your struggling with when you're weary and lost. There are so many different ways to pray, and all of them are valid and precious to our Lord.

For the past three months or so, my approach to enhancing the way I pray has been through journaling, physically writing out my thoughts to God. Despite loving to write for my whole life, journaling has never been something I could get into. I don't like feeling like I'm writing to a void, and when there's something truly difficult going on in my life, I process through talking with people I trust more than writing in an empty notebook. However, with prayer it's been a completely different experience for me.

When I take the time to write my prayers directly to God, I find myself remembering prayer requests from others instead of just focusing on my own needs and struggles. I'm also able to look back at my writing and reflect on how God has been present in my day to day life, the ways He has changed me and provided for me. It has made my Bible time in the morning so much more sweet and fruitful. I don't feel like I'm writing to nothing like I normally do when I journal. I don't get caught up in writing in perfect, beautiful handwriting, I don't worry about praying about the same things over and over. It's intimate, messy, and personal, but that's how I feel like a relationship with God should be.

I'm reaching the last few pages in the little notebook I have been using, and as I shop for a new one to fill with my prayers, I'm already thinking of ways to further enhance my experience. I may not always journal, I may find new ways to bare my heart to God, but I do hope it never remains stagnant. I want to continue to grow further and deeper in my study and relationship with God always.


Is there any prayer techniques that you use?

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