The Journal

If there is any one thing I can advise a believer in Christ, it is to keep a prayer journal. I’ve known Jesus for over forty-five years now, and have kept journals since my earliest days in faith. They’ve been through school with me, around the world with me, through grief with me. They come in all shapes and sizes, but each one has the same thing in common — check marks of answered prayers.

Today, as I finished transferring to yet another new journal, I am no longer amazed at how few requests travel from one book to the next. If keeping a journal has taught me anything over the years, it is that God answers prayers.

That doesn’t mean he’s answered it always in the way I’ve asked, but he does answer.

When the answer differs from my request, I can look back and see how his way was the best. I see how he grew me or others through the experience, how he strengthened my faith. I’ve been reminded how he brings some back into my life after years of prayer. This reconnecting allowed me to update my request, see how he’s been working, be encouraged to persevere and not lose hope.

For those who move from year to year from one book to another, I’m reminded that in praying for them, I’m growing in my love for them. Prayer keeps hurt and bitterness, judgement and anger at bay. Prayer reminds me that “but for the grace of God” I would be just as lost and in need of a Savior.

In recent years, I’ve seen prayers enter my books that relate to national or global issues. A war, famine, coup here, a bombing, flood, election there — all give cause for prayers to be lifted, asking the God of Creation to comfort, bring aid, use his Church, restore hope or bring revival. Nothing is left to chance. Every news story is an opportunity to see God at work through prayer.

So, as I begin a new chapter in prayer, I pray that you will be encouraged to see how God has been at work in your life and used your prayers to move in the lives of others and strengthen your faith. Don’t have a prayer journal? It’s never too late to start!

But whether you write them down or not, the thing that matters most is to pray. Then sit back and watch him answer.

Grace and Peace

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