Fri 29 Jan 2010
What is Prayer Journaling?
Prayer journaling is writing down your prayers and questions, and then listening to the Holy Spirit and recording God’s answers. It is a great way to activate your prophetic gift.
I have to confess that I approached the practice of ‘Prayer Journaling’ this week with a bit of trepidation, even though I have used this method of journaling before. It feels presumptuous, writing down God’s ‘answers’ to my prayers and questions.
Does God really want to speak to me conversationally? And how can I know for sure what He is saying?
In John 10:27, Jesus said, ‘My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me’.
As I set out, I am encouraged that God desires an intimate relationship with me even more than I want it with Him—He created me to fellowship with him and to hear His voice!
How to Practice Prayer Journaling
It’s important that you set aside some private space for this kind of journaling. Try to eliminate interruptions and distractions as much as you can.
I personally find that some quiet background worship music helps me focus if I don’t have the luxury of silence in my home, or wherever I happen to be.
It is vital when approaching this journaling practice that you deal with any issues between you and God—forgiveness, repentance and so on—before you start out.
Reading the Bible and praying in the Spirit can help you prepare for your prayer journaling time.
In your journal, you write down your prayer or question to God. Some examples are:
- What would you like to say to me today?
- How can I grow?
- What would you like me to do?
- What are You saying about…
Then, focusing on Jesus, you listen for the Holy Spirit’s answer, and write down what you believe He is saying.
How the Holy Spirit Speaks
Remember that the Holy Spirit brings revelation to us in many ways. He may speak through a picture coming to your mind, a feeling, a Bible verse, an idea, word or impression.
I find that the Holy Spirit’s ‘voice’ usually comes as a series of light, gentle impressions. I need to tune in to these to hear what He is saying.
Although it is good to weigh up the revelation and thoughts as they come, too much analysis will halt your journaling.
Give yourself the freedom to write without editing. Yes, what you record will inevitably be a mixture of your own and God’s thoughts. Remember that any prophecy is imperfect and subject to judgment.
When you have finished, review your journaled ‘message from God.’ Now you can sift through your writing for the nuggets of heavenly wisdom God is giving you. I like to use a highlighter to mark important parts where I believe God is particularly speaking to me.
If you believe you have received guidance through this kind of journaling, it is vital that you check this by sharing with mature Christians and leaders around your life who will give you honest feedback and help you process it.
Some strengths of this kind of journaling are:
- Fosters intimacy with God
- Helps you become familiar with the ways the Holy Spirit speaks
- Great practice for tuning in to receiving God’s revelation
- Helps you receive guidance and prophetic insight for yourself and others
- You have a record you can refer back to of what God has said to you in your prayer time
Some weaknesses of this journaling method are:
- It does not use the Bible in the journaling process
- Less suitable for newer Christians who do not have a thorough grounding in the scriptures (I recommend the SOAP journaling style for new Christians)
- This style will not suit everyone, e.g. it will be harder for those who are perfectionists or tend not to process thoughts conversationally.
Because of these weaknesses, I advocate the use of other journaling methods in conjunction with this one.
Prayer Journaling and Habbakuk
A leading proponent of prayer journaling is Mark Virkler, who teaches journaling from Habakkuk 2:1,2.
Virkler maintains that God speaks through a flow of spontaneous thoughts, and that as we tune into those we can hear what He is saying.
Just as God instructed Habbakuk to write down his vision, we can also record what God is saying to us through journaling.
Over the next week, I will be trialling prayer journaling as a method, and recording my journey in the comments section of this post. Why not join me?
For an article on Prophetic Activation In Small Groups, check out the Free Resources Page.
To read my post ‘How to Activate Your Prophetic Gift’ click here.
© Helen Calder 2011 Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church