This week at Resurrection we will look at several stories that show God working in the lives of women to bring big changes in the world. Brave women kept Moses alive as a baby. Ruth began the family line of David, into which Jesus would be born generations later. These women were not superstars or leading citizens of their time. Just the fact that they were women marked them as insignificant in their culture. Yet their actions changed many lives forever.
Sometimes it is easy to see God working through our prayers. We pray for healing, and receive the good news that the cancer is gone, the illness has vanished. We pray for a change in circumstances and that change comes, or for guidance and feel a new peace about our direction. However, in our ongoing conversation with God, answers to prayer are not always so black and white. Not all prayers are simple requests where the answer must be “yes” or “no.” Like any conversation, the changes that occur in our lives most often do not stand alone, but are woven into the fabric of day to day living.
A journal can help us see how God is working in our lives. By journaling your conversations with God, you can look at the record of these conversations and often see answers to prayer in the “big picture” of your whole life.
A journal is a personal document, so there are not any “right” and “wrong” ways to journal. You can begin with a pad of paper, a notebook, or one of the beautiful blank books found in book and gift stores. It is a good idea if it is bound together in some way so you can flip back through the pages. For a period of time, say a month, write your prayers, concerns, thoughts. Don’t just write requests. Add praises, worship, questions–all the things that would be part of a normal conversation. Periodically, find a quiet place and go back and read everything you have written. Pray before you begin and ask God to show you what you need to learn from your journal. Ask yourself questions like these:
- What did I pray about most?
- What was my tone? Have I been joyful, sad, angry, confused, excited?
- Is there, as they say in Celebrate Recovery, a hurt, habit, or hang-up that appears regularly?
- What seems to bring me the most joy?
- If I had to name a theme for the last month of my conversations with God, what would that theme be?
- What questions do I feel are still unanswered? What new questions do I have?
If you have never journaled your prayers, give these suggestions a try and expect to see new answers and ways God is moving and working in your life, and new topics for your ongoing conversation.
–Jennifer Creagar, Resurrection Prayer Ministry