Do you journal when you pray? Through the years I've done so on and off, but before Michal came out, I decided to pray more regularly in my journal. That continued for months, but sometime last November I suddenly stopped and I'm not sure why. Maybe it happened because I got sick and had no energy to scrawl words in a notebook. Maybe the holidays just made things too hectic, but I stopped journaling until this past week. Some of you who read this blog may recall the journal prayers I'd written and rediscovered after The Wives of King David sold to Revell. I had poured my heart out to the Lord regarding my future as a writer, uncertain I could continue to pursue a dream - especially if that dream wasn't His. After the series sold to Revell, I found that desperate prayer and realized how amazingly God had answered. If I had never written those prayers, I would not have recognized how gracious was His response.
Sometimes understanding and peace come best when we pour out the emotions on paper rather than leaving them bottled inside our hearts. There is something about taking the thoughts, forming them into words, and expressing them in a prayer to the only One who truly understands me that helps fix what's broken and brings peace and joy where they were sorely lacking.
Journal praying also leaves a record of our spiritual journey. Sometimes, those records which are meant to stay personal between us and God may end up shredded at the end of a day, but sometimes they can leave a lasting legacy - maybe our children or grandchildren will be encouraged by what we endured, much as readers for thousands of years have been encouraged by the Psalms. Not saying our prayers are on par with Scripture, only that our honesty can encourage and strengthen those who come behind us.
It's an exercise I recommend to anyone who hasn't tried it or if you used to journal pray and have stopped, I'd encourage you to pick it up again. In a sense, we end up fulfilling Philippians 4:6-7, which I memorized years ago in the Living Bible Paraphrase:
"Don't worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God your needs and don't forget to thank Him for His answers, and you will experience God's peace, which is far greater than the human mind can understand."
What do I tell Him when I journal pray? Everything! Because He said to.