Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV)
Once a month, I join with Dawn and her fearless companions over at Random Journal Day. On the same weekend, I also have the joy of meeting in person with fearless journal keepers from our church. Both of these groups encourage me to continue the practice of dialoguing with God in my journal.
So for a treat, I am going to post my entry from today’s in person group with the RJD friends.
Today, our mentor encouraged us to journal about the topic of whether or not our prayers made a difference. Little did she know that I was struggling with this issue in my heart. It may seem odd to write in the presence of others, but it is cherished time set aside, where our leader offers us a prompt, then we each silently pour out our hearts into our journals.
Here is my journal response to her question:
Father God- What a privilege to be reminded that our prayers matter to You, to each other and to the one’s we pray for. I will never know the impact. You have given me seasons of intense intercessory prayer through prayer groups, Moms in Prayer International and the National Day of Prayer ministry, but lately my prayer life has been less structured and seemingly sporadic or very “arrow” prayer oriented. [An arrow prayer is just shooting requests up to God as I go, rather than a focused time of intercessory prayer.]
As the disciples asked , I ask again: “Teach me to pray–how–what–who–where–and when to pray.”
I have time.
I have tools.
I have topics.
What am I lacking? Tenacity? Hope? Faith? Why am I reluctant or strayed away from structured prayer? I feel vulnerable sharing and admitting that my intercessory prayer life is like an abandoned building. I do believe I have a rich , close relationship with You…show me the distractions and what has stunted my desire to intercede “systematically.” How should I pray for others? Do I lack discipline? A plan? The heart?
Thank you for time to take inventory, to admit my lack–thank you that with YOU I lack no good thing. Help me to seek you and follow your example, Jesus, of praying for others.
At this point, I paused in my journaling. The Holy Spirit prompted me to look up John 17, where Jesus prayed for His disciples and us before He died. He addressed the Father on our behalf to experience joy, to be kept from the evil one and to experience the love unifying relationship that he and the Father shared. Much to ponder.
And then I read in Romans 8, that even Paul understood that we didn’t know how to pray as we ought, and reminded us that the Spirit intercedes on our behalf! What relief! And the Spirit prays according to God’s will. In both passages, I heard echoes of the Lord’s prayer (the one he taught the disciples.)
Our Father who art in heaven hallowed by Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. To thine be the kingdom, and the glory and the power, forever and ever. Amen.
Prayer matters. And God is the one who ignites and sustains our prayer life. Hallelujah!
Journaling for about 30 minutes and sharing our insights in a group reminded each one of us that we are not alone in our spiritual struggles. What a blessing to have companions on this journaling journey.