Sometimes I wonder what life would have been like before the invention of telephones, emails and text messages. Most of recorded history happened before the current communication explosion that has reached the farthest corners of our world.
It’s ironic, however, that in the age of rapidly improving communication, no program, app or device has come along to help us communicate with God. Prayer remains a struggle for many. Even in the moments we do pause to pray, the words often don’t come. We feel helpless, wondering if maybe we just didn’t receive the gift of prayer.
I’ve been a Christian since I was a young boy, and I’ve always longed to grow in prayer. I remember very few times in my Christian journey when I was completed satisfied with my prayer life. I’ve read books on prayer and tried to achieve an effective prayer life, but deep down I remained frustrated with doubts that prayer would ever be a significant part of my spiritual life.
But recently, I discovered a prayer habit that has breathed new life into my times with God.
I’ve boosted my prayer life by writing down my prayers and the answers I receive. A whole section of my prayer journal is split into two columns: “Prayers” and “Answers.” As I pray, I write down specific things I’m asking God for in the left-hand column. During prayer times, I remember and repeat these same prayers. When God answers, I record those answers in the right-hand column.
I’ve seen God use this daily habit to strengthen my faith. I’ve discovered that God often answers my prayers more often than I would have guessed. My prayer journal often prompts me to pause and thank God for His answers to my prayers. When I feel like God doesn’t answer my prayer, I look back through my record of His answers.
Remembering The Answers
Our God writes down what he values most – our names (Luke 10:20). So how fitting is it that we should write down all he has done in answer to our prayers? I’ve seen God answer through marriages, pregnancies, financial needs met, safe trips, healings, etc. My wife and I prayed for a couple who had struggled for years to get pregnant and within a year, they had a healthy baby boy in their arms. Thanks to my prayer journal, I remember that answer to prayer often and thank God all over again for his steadfast love.
One of my favorite parts of keeping a prayer journal is following up with friends who have shared a specific prayer request. My prayer journal helps me faithfully pray for these requests. Many people have been encouraged when I ask how God has answered specific prayers. Prayer journals train our hearts to look for and expect answers. We have left space for God to answer. As I record my prayers, I’m learning to expect answers. What joy there is in answers to prayer!
I can’t recommend this habit enough. Get a journal and begin to write down your prayers and God’s answers. Over and over, I have been reminded that our Heavenly Father loves to answer the prayers of His children. I love to ask Him for things big and small, record His answers, and thank Him over and over for His loving kindness.
You may also be interested in Why I’m Thankful For the Times God Said “No”