PROBLEM- One of the biggest reasons that many Christians struggle with prayer is that we are undisciplined. We lack consistency and commitment. A prayer journal is a simple way to address this issue. There is often a temptation to purchase some fancy or expensive journal with a leather cover, ribbon marker and gold-edged pages. Although such a journal is nice, it is definitely not necessary. A common spiral bound notebook is as good as anything else for a prayer journal.
PLAN- Begin by committing yourself to write one page each day, five days each week. It is unreasonable to think that you can maintain a drastic commitment everyday initially. If you can do most days to begin with you will gain confidence and can expand your commitment soon. Date each page so that you can track your progress and your consistency.
One of the benefits of writing your prayers is that it takes longer than speaking them. When we say our prayers we can tend to quickly pass over what we want to say without taking the time to think completely about it. Writing slows us down. When we take our time like this it gives us the opportunity to hear God speaking to us. You will find that as you are writing God will speak to you and sometimes change the whole direction of your prayer time.
PRESCRIPTION- You can use the idea of journaling your prayers with most of the prayer plans in this resource. But to get you started, consider answering some of the following questions to begin your prayer time.
What is God teaching me?
How do I feel about it?
What insights have I received from Scripture?
What sins do I need to confess?
POINTERS- Periodically, you should look back over your journal, perhaps every few weeks, or when you sense a change in your faith level. Look for areas in which you have grown in your faith and spiritual life. Find temptations that are consistent problems for you. When you see growth- and struggle- it can inform and help your faith as you go into the future. This is a great way to also look for answers to prayer and thank God for all his blessings.
One of the most important things to do as you begin your prayer journal program is to begin your prayer journal program. Get a journal and start. Today. It is easy to get caught up in our planning to pray, in our organizing, studying or thinking about prayer. Don't get distracted though. Start praying right away.
PRAYER- Good God, thank you for the call to know you more and for the tools to meet that goal. May this day be the beginning of a new prayer adventure in my life and a deepening of my spirituality. Encourage me to consistency, to faithfulness and to honesty with you, and with myself. Amen.