- Dale Walker
This week we’re going to be giving a prayer journal for our 21 days of prayer. One of the most helpful things I have found in praying more effectively is the power of prayer writing. Some call it journaling, for others it might be more like “jotting.” But I like what Rick Warren says when he writes, “Thoughts disentangle themselves when they go from our head on to paper by means of a pencil.”
In our sermon message this week, we will talk about how important it is to “be specific.” The more specific a prayer, the more glory God will get in answering. Jesus said, “What you desire when you pray, believe that you have received it.” (Mark 11:24) Jesus asked a blind man one day, “What do you want me to do for you?” God wants us to decide and declare what our desire is. I find that writing my prayers helps me process more effectively what I’m deciding to pray. Recently, I heard myself saying in a prayer, “Be with me today, Lord.” As I thought about it, I realized that wasn’t very specific and it really didn’t make much sense as a prayer since God is Omnipresent. Then in my prayer journal I wrote, “Help me be consciously aware of your presence throughout my day. At least 5 times today help me be overwhelmed by the sense that you are with me, looking at my situation and speaking wisdom into my heart.”
One of my favorite things to do in my quiet time is to write a prayer to the Lord. I often will use writing to help me bring a focus point to my conversation with God. Perhaps like some of you, my mind wants to wander off to “what’s for breakfast” or some other silly thing. Writing brings focus. I like to pray and jot, pray and jot. Many times, I will begin with the word “YESTERDAY.” This is a time I reflect on anything significant from “yesterday” that I want to lift-up to God. It can include a cool thing I want to thank Him for. It can include a confession of a sin or failure that I wasn’t aware of at the time.
During my quiet time, I like to read a couple of chapters from the Bible and ask the Lord what he wants me to take from it and I write it down. I listen to a sermon or a podcast, and ask the same question, writing that down. So many of my sermons come right from this exercise.
Sometimes I like to use the acronym A.C.T.S. for writing prayers. This stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.
I write down thoughts of worship, things about God’s character and nature that I adore and want to exalt Him for. If I write down one or two things, it usually results in me speaking out several others.
Next, I write things I need to confess. This includes both sins and areas where I need to get “gut honest” with God about things I’m feeling. I like how blunt and honest David was with his feelings in many of the Psalms. I think this is an example of what our prayer writing should be. I also like to use the word correction. “Help me receive correction from You, Lord.” I find that if I just say a confession from the top of my head, it is often very shallow. But when I pray about what I should confess and how God wants to correct me with a pen in hand, God’s conviction comes and my confession becomes deeper. God is able to put the ax to the root of the tree.
Of course, this is about listing what I’m thankful for. The beauty of a written record of the good things God has done for us, provides a foundation to have faith for future trials I will face.
Supplication represents specific prayer requests that I believe reflect God’s will for what I am to ask, seek, and knock on the door of Heaven. I write as many specifics as I can about what I’m asking. I often pray the Scriptures that apply.
After writing, I often like to pray something like the prayer that Samuel was told to pray. “Here I am, I am your servant, speak to me.” I love to listen and try and verbalize what I feel God might be saying to me. I love to share these words with Sharon and other friends for confirmation and input.
You may start with just writing a couple of sentences, but I encourage you to start. I have a special section in my journal for 2020. As part of this campaign I am writing goals and specific things I am asking God to do for our future. I’m spending time with next year’s calendar thinking about things I’d like to ask God for in the coming year.
God bless you as you go deeper through prayer writing. In Jesus’ name.