Drawing closer to God should be a goal for every Christian. Focusing on anything can be difficult for those of us suffering from loss. God promises his comfort and help if we come to Him, open our heart, and let it flow into His capable hands.
A prayer journal is a good method to settle our spirit and express our love to God. It can be composed of anything we think of as prayer. Our thoughts for that day can be recorded. Praise for God, requests for ourrselves or others, a sin that we need to confess, or an area we need to work on. All components do not need to be included.
Using a prayer from the Bible can be a good place to start. The Lord’s Prayer is familiar to most and fairly easy to outline. Matthew 6:9-13
Acknowledgment of Who He is
Looking at the prayer we see the words “Our Father in heaven,”. If we are not careful, we can forget to regard Him as Supreme over all. This gives us the proper mindset to begin our prayer.
Meditating on who is and remembering His virtues can bring many memories for us to expand on in our journal. The verses we know bring those particular promises to mind and breed comfort and contentment.
Matthew 6:9 "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name," NIV
This is a time to show the Lord how great He is. Before we even get to our personal reasons, there are the huge miracles of creation, and the gift of His Son to praise Him for. We should write them down along with what He is doing currently in our lives. Later, when feeling discouraged it can bring light and joy to us.
Coupled with praise is thanksgiving. In bringing to mind what He has done for us, our hearts should respond not only to praise but also thanking Him. How do we feel when someone takes the time to show appreciation for something we did? Feels good, right? God want to know we are grateful for His gifts.
Matthew 6:10 "Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." NIV
After we have taken time to praise and thank God, are we in agreement with His will? We should write what we think that is. In times of distress, it can be quite difficult to understand. We may feel unhappy about what is going on in our lives. Why does God’s will include pain? Is it really His will? According to Romans 8:28 NIV, all things work together for the good. Can we accept God’s will? Record you answer.
There are many times we will ponder these questions. We may never know why certain things happen. We do know what God’s Word tells us. He is interested only in what is good for us and what helps mold us to the image of His Son. Jot down verses that encourage your heart.
Matthew 6:11 "Give us today our daily bread".
Now is time to ask God for the things we need. We can make a list in our prayer journal. This helps us to remember when He answers prayer. We then add that to our requests. It encourages our heart and when we forget our blessings, we can review.
The question arises “Is God ever going to answer our prayer?” We’ve all been there. We know what the answer is. We read it over and over again, hoping it will sink in and give us the relief we need.
Lamentations 3:25-26 "The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord." NIV
God answers prayer when the time is right, when He knows it’s right. His wisdom is beyond our comprehension. He sees ahead and guides us toward that conclusion, if we just follow Him and not jump ahead. When dealing in times of grief, this is even harder because our pain can get in the way. We need to claim the promise that He will do what is best. In the verse above, we see that God is good to those who hope in Him
Matthew 6:12 "And forgive our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." NIV
Confession is never easy. We don’t like to admit we’re wrong. This is where we can get rid of baggage and gain peace with God. He wants us to be honest with Him and agree with Him that we have sinned. Sin separates us from God and breaks fellowship.
We then can move forward and learn from our mistakes. Getting rid of bad habits is always for the good. We can make a category in the prayer journal about sin habits we want to break. Lack of forgiving someone is one of those sins. We can add that to our list. Note that we have the Holy Spirit to help us overcome them.
Guidance From Sin
Matthew 6:13 "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." NIV
In this sample prayer that Jesus gave to His disciples, He reveals that we can ask for God’s wisdom to help keep us from sin. We are always looking for resources to help us in our endeavors, but do we take advantage of the best opportunity to turn to the perfect source?
This is just an example of elements of prayer that can be used in a prayer journal. The point being that this is a method to create focus on what prayer is about. There are different ways to lay out a journal because it is our personal message to God. Expressing our thoughts and pain to God is a relief and it can reward us with peace.
The NIV translation is one that leaves out “for Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” There are two differing opinions about whether this is recorded in the original and or not.