I’m usually not one for trying to make major changes with the start of a new calendar year. Like I talked about in this post, I think ‘goals’ are a lot more about intentional ways of living than about making lists that look pretty. However, with my birthday, Christmas, and New Year’s all falling close together, December tends to be an extra-sentimental-introspective month for me. I spent a lot of time reflecting on my year, mindset, and habits (both healthy and unhealthy), and the one thing I knew had to change for 2018 was my prayer life.
Something didn’t feel quite right anymore, and once I realized it all stemmed from a lacking prayer life, it all made sense.
Without a healthy prayer life, my life didn’t make much sense.
If I say I want to live God’s way, but don’t spend the time listening and talking to him, how can I possibly know what his way is? Whether you realized it or not if you read this post, I’ve had some major faith-breakthroughs lately.
My first ‘goal’ for this new year was to pray more, pray daily, and figure this whole ‘prayer’ thing out. After reading a few Christian books, I learned that a personal, daily prayer routine is the best way to correct this, and that’s definitely not something I had, or ever had for that matter.
Writing and journaling have always been a part of my life. I’ve kept personal journals on and off since middle school! So when I first started prayer journaling, it all began to make sense.
What is prayer journaling?
It can mean something totally different for each person, but for me, it means writing out my daily prayers, so I intentionally take that time to quietly reflect and end my day. Having a physical journal (that I keep on my nightstand along with this jar) keeps me accountable and motivated to write every day. Honestly, I love the idea of finishing a journal, and that’s something I’ve never done yet. I’ve been consistently prayer journaling (at least 6 out of 7 days) since I first started on December 30, 2017. That may not sound like much, but a quick Google search shows that it only takes 21 days to start a habit, and I’m now a week past that milestone.
Why is the habit of prayer different from other habits?
Because now, I don’t feel like my day is complete until I spend 10-20 minutes writing to the Lord about my day, what I’m thankful for, and who I’d like to pray for. I began using ‘the Prayer Process’ from DynamicCatholic.com, and I found that really helpful for overcoming the ‘not knowing how to pray’ problem that so many Christians face. Now, I begin by my prayer journal entry by thanking God for all the things I’m grateful for that day, and then the words just flow from there.
The best part about daily prayer journaling is that it doesn’t feel like a habit at all.
But it’s totally changed the way I pray and think. This book of my prayers signifies not just daily prayer, but a total and utter surrender for God’s will for my life. Something changed in me when I started this journal, and I know that it’s because quite possibly for the first time in my 20-year-old Catholic/Christian life, I’m praying the way God intended us to.
Suddenly, it all makes sense.
I started honestly handing my problems, thoughts, and heart over to the Lord, and he has been waiting for this moment my whole life. No longer was I angry at God for the things that hadn’t gone my way recently or guilty for all-the-things I’d done wrong. No longer was I a lost sheep. No longer was I choosing my way, or the world’s way, before the way of the Lord.
It’s not that I didn’t have faith in God’s plan before, it’s just that I didn’t know how to pray daily, and how to truly hand over the troubles I’d been holding onto for so long.
Prayer journaling is the answer to so many questions I had about my faith:
“How can I talk to God?”
“How can I listen to God?”
“How can I discern God’s plan for my life?”
“How can I bless those around me?”
“How can I turn to God in everything, not just in times of struggle?”
“How can I let more grace into my life?”
Prayer journaling truly changed my faith life, and I’ve already seen the blessings extend into so many other areas of my life.
Now, I have a way to intentionally pray for others when they ask.
Now, I have a way to connect with God and bring him my troubles each and every day.
Now, I have a connection to God that keeps my intentions in check.
Now, I can hear God’s whisper to me, because I’m close enough to hear.
You can never regret handing your life over to God, but you can regret holding it from him.
Prayer journaling is the solution to my ‘prayer problems’, and I know there’s a method that’ll work for you, too. Who knows, it might just change your life.
Not sure how to find a method of prayer that works for you? Start here.