“Prayer doesn’t work.” “My prayers don’t make a difference.” “God’s going to do what He wants anyway so what’s the point of praying?” These are thoughts I’ve been guilty of having regarding prayer. But are these thoughts true? I wanted to know for myself and went in search for the answers.
I’ve been in the church my entire life, so through observation, I had to admit prayer works. However, I wasn’t sure my own prayers really made a difference. So I began keeping a prayer journal to keep a record of my prayers and the answers God provided.
I began with a 3 ring notebook and used dividers. I split the journal into 6 sections.
- Church leaders and co-workers
- Friends and others
Never being a person who liked to write out my prayers, I simply wrote bullet points of the things I wanted to pray. I added a typed and printed page to each section of the things I wanted to pray about daily for each person or group. I will be sharing these pages of suggested ways to pray each Thursday in February.
Behind the printed page in each section are blank pages of paper. I try to ask my family each week specific ways I can be praying for them and then I write their requests on the blank pages. I also try to ask my friends, church leaders, co-workers, and other people how I can be praying for them. By writing their requests in my journal, I remember to pray as I’ve promised. It’s also provided a safe opportunity for my kids to confide in me about troubles they may be experiencing or difficult decisions they may be facing. It provides occasions to teach them about God’s love for them and His desire to lead and guide in every area of their life.
As I prepared for a talk on prayer, I reviewed all my requests and the answers within my prayer journal. I discovered a month in which many of my prayers centered around our finances. I prayed specifically for the following:
- We would have enough to pay our bills that month.
- We would be able to buy the groceries we needed.
- We would be able to get the shoes our daughter needed for track.
I thought He would answer by providing a big bonus at work for my husband, we would get a big check in the mail for one reason or another, we would win a contest, something big. But that isn’t how He answered at all. Always keeping a record of the blessings God sends in my “Answers” section of the journal, I wrote the following:
- “Got a ridiculously low gas bill that’s normally outrageous.”
- “Got a rebate in the mail that we forgot about.”
- “There was a huge sale on meat today at the store and we were able to buy so much, we cleaned them out.”
- “A bag of clothes was left on our doorstep today from a friend whose daughter outgrew her clothes and track shoes were inside.”
I was actually able to see how He worked to answer each of my prayers. All of these things were very easy to miss before I started keeping a record. Seeing His answers in black and white always boosts my confidence in Him. I’m more willing than ever to believe He cares and will answer my prayers.
“God always answers, one way or another, even when people don’t recognize his presence.” ~ Job 33:14 (MSG).
If you wonder if God truly cares for you and your needs, I encourage you to keep a prayer journal. Not only will you have a record of God’s hand in your life but you’ll have a lasting legacy to leave your children. They’ll be able to read about times in which the family experienced a crisis, death, work conflict, etc. to get a better understanding of how you prayed and trusted God through that difficulty. They’ll also be able to see how you prayed for everyday things and grasp how important seeking God is to you. Your children will have a keepsake of how God answered your prayers, as well as learn that sometimes God says, “wait,” as they see there are no answers recorded yet to certain prayers.
Keeping a prayer journal can deepen your faith and relationship with God and also bring your children into a closer relationship with Him.
Please visit each Thursday in February for suggested ways to pray to include at the beginning of each section of your new prayer journal. Just simply print the page.
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©2013 Connie Davis Johnson