Recently I was out to dinner with my two Sister-in-laws and we got on the subject of quiet times. One of my sisters in law, Liz, asked how and what do we journal.
My other sister in law, Heather, and I are journalers. We began to share our heart and our “process” of journaling with God.
Journaling is something I began doing as a preteen. The verse, “The Holy Spirit leads you into all truth”, is absolutely true. I would see my dad bringing his notebook to church and take notes during the sermon. I was so in love with Jesus I began doing it too. I soon realized I wanted to spend as much time with Him as I could get. However, as a 12 year old, introverted girl, I didn’t want to pray out loud by myself. I created a secret place with the Lord. Every night I would sit on my bed, read the word and journal.
What fills the countless journals?
• Scriptures that jumped off the pages. I would write the different points that God highlighted to my heart.
• I would often write a verse that spoke to me several times, memorizing it. Then I’d cover it up and quiz myself. I learned countless verses this way. (As I got older I switched to flash cards.)
• I would take my journal to church and take notes of the sermon. This allowed me to stay focused, remember the sermon better and revisit it later.
• However, probably the majority of my journals are filled with prayers. Prayers that were never uttered from my mouth but from my heart. Prayers that silently filled the pages. Prayers that I only wanted to share with my Father.
The amazing thing is, God speaks back. I have dozens of entries that are scribbled so fast, because I couldn’t keep up with the words the Father was pouring over me. So many entries of His healing love as it washed over me and the tear stained, wavy pages barely holding the ink together.
These encounters with God’s love aren’t just for me. It’s for everyone. I started out as a 12 year old girl, just wanting everything God had for me and all of who He is. I’m now 30 and still an avid journaler. Do I do it every day? Some seasons yes, some seasons no. And that’s ok.
1. Buy a journal you really love. I love fun and bright colors. I also love journals with spiral binding, because it makes it easier to fold and write in.
2. Get a good pen or pencil. Why? Because writing with a quality pen or pencil just makes things better. I’m picky about my pens. I want to be in control of the ink and it not be sloppy, loose, messy or have to rewrite.
3. Find a time that fits your schedule. You need to have a quiet place that won’t bring distractions. If you are a stay at home mama, it’s probably best to wait until the kids are napping or before they wake for the day.
4. Find a place that is going to be conducive for journaling. There’s something about finding a quiet and secure place. I find I enjoy certain spots in my house more than others, likely you will too.
5. I love putting on soft worship. You don’t have to do this, but I find worship helps me enter into His presence easier. One of my favorite CD’s is Steffany Gretzinger’s album, The Undoing.
So you’ve got a journal, a place and time mapped out, now what?
Try using the S.O.A.P Method
Begin reading a passage and writing any take aways you received from it. Sometimes I start at one place and end up somewhere else, that’s totally ok and fun! (It’s great to use your Bible’s concordance or notes to look deeper into a subject.)
What sticks out to you in the passage you just read? Is there a recurring theme or message? Are there any questions you have that you want to dive deeper into?
How can I apply this in my every day life? What is God calling me to do? Is there a change I need to make? A truth I need to receive?
Begin writing out your prayers over what you’ve read and received.
EXAMPLE: James 1:12
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
Perseveres- (Greek) meaning to remain, abides, not recede or flee; to endure. To continue to be, not to perish, to last, to remain as one, not to become another or different. To be held, kept continually
God blesses me when I persevere. I have a promise from the Lord that I will receive a crown of life as long as I keep going in Him.
Don’t give up. Remain and abide in God’s love. Don’t become someone else because of the pressures of the trials, stay tender and pliable with God. Don’t change and become angry and bitter. Keep persevering, God has promised me life. Let Him hold me…
I thank you God that you are good. I thank you that you said, those who persevere under trials, receive a crown of life from you. I thank you for breathing life over me so I can stand firm. I thank you that your promises are yes and amen. I thank you God that in You is life and life abundant, and that 2 Corinthians 4:17 says these are but light and momentary troubles.
*I often pray the word back to God. I started with the original scripture and as I began praying, Holy Spirit reminded me of some other scriptures and what would be encouraging to my heart to keep going. I usually get more personal in the things I’m praying over and that will look different for everyone. I may ask questions, I almost always pour out my feelings on a matter, much like David did in the Psalms, but make sure you always come back to, God is good no matter what; that is the starting and ending point of everything.
And there you go! As you grow in journaling, you may adapt different ways of journaling and that is great! I hope this helps and encourages you. If you have any questions or thoughts, I’d love to hear them!
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