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25 October 2016

The prayer journal: Keeping track of prayer requests.

It’s good to have a written record of God’s answers to prayer.

Prayer journal /'pr(eɪ.)ər 'dʒər.nəl/ n. Daily (or regular) record of transactions with God.
[Prayer journaling /'dʒər.nəl.ɪŋ/ vt.]

A prayer journal is a sort of diary, but rather than listing everything you did during the day (and all your innermost secret feelings about them), your prayer journal is about what you prayed—for yourself, and for others.

I realize not everyone keeps a diary. It’s for the same reason not every Christian keeps a prayer journal. We don’t think our lives are interesting enough to record, or can’t remember to keep it up to date… or fear what’ll happen when the wrong person reads those innermost secret feelings. Well, a prayer journal isn’t necessarily about personal secrets. (Unless you requested things from God which you’d really rather other people not know: “God, please cure my butt pimples” and the like.) It’s how to keep track of what you’ve prayed—and how and when God answered these requests.

See, your average Christian doesn’t keep track of what they prayed. Consequently they don’t know how long they’ve been making certain requests of God. Or how regularly (or if) they kept up on these requests. Or when God answered them. Or how often God answered them. I mean, God answers our prayers all the time (and not just with “no!”), but when we never keep track, we can’t always tell you when, how, and how often. And when we’re feeling low, we’re gonna forget every good thing God has done for us. You know, like the Hebrews did in the wilderness, every single time they hit a rough patch: “Aw man, we’re gonna die. Egypt was better. Why’d we ever leave?” Ex 16.3, 17.3, Nu 11.18, etc. God forbid, but this kind of thing still happens. All the time.

That’s why the prophets and apostles put together a written record of what God did do for ’em. And you oughta have one too. Your prayer journal is what God’s done for you. Keep track!

Especially if you’re involved (or getting involved) with your church’s prayer ministry. Or if you regularly pray for others. Or if you’re not entirely sure prayer works: Keep a journal for three months and see for yourself.

There are dozens of different prayer journal techniques. I’ll share a few different techniques with you in future. Today I’ll just start you off with a really simple method, which works for me.