Journaling by Rick Warren

I receive the daily email devotion from Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Connection (to sign up click here: http://profile.purposedriven.com/managesubscriptionssimple.aspx) This was a great one on journaling!

Friday, April 01, 2011       

"In the Psalms, David writes what he honestly feels. We should be honest, too, when we talk to God about our problems."
Rick Warren

“The Lord gave me this answer, ‘Write down clearly…what I reveal to you…’” Habakkuk 2:2 (TEV)         
Let's review.  If I want to hear God speak to me, the first thing I do is I want it. I say, ‘God, I want you to speak to me. Hearing from you is not just nice, it is a necessity!’
And then I withdraw and get alone and get quiet: “Be still and know that I am God.”
And then I wait quietly, patiently, and expectantly on God. I ask a specific question, I look into his Word and then when I see God’s answer, I write it down. Habakkuk said, “The Lord gave me this answer, ‘Write down clearly…what I reveal to you…’” (Habakkuk 2:2 TEV)
Writing down what God reveals to us is the spiritual habit of journaling. This is not the same as keeping a diary. A diary is, ‘Dear diary, this is what I did today.’ A journal is, ‘This is what I learned today.’ So it's not about what you did, it's about what you are learning, what you are praying, and what God is saying to you.
David took the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and he meditated on them day and night. He wrote his prayers down and that is how we got the Psalms. And, as you read the Psalms, you’ll see that David includes just about every emotion known to the human race: envy, jealousy, lust, greed.
Why? Because he's honest.  He's not writing what he thinks he should write; he's writing what he honestly feels. We should be honest, too, when we talk to God about our problems.
Here are some suggestions for journaling --
  • Requests and Answers -- On each page, make two columns. In one column write down what you say to God: ‘God, I need this. I'm worried about that,’ and so forth. In the second column, write down the answers that God gives you.

  • ‘What I learned today’ -- Another way to do it is to take a page and write, ‘Here is what I learned yesterday about life or about God.’ This will help you focus your thoughts and help you remember what God said.
The Bible says, “Write these things down for the future so that people who are not yet born will praise the Lord.” (Psalm 102:18 NCV)


Introducing: PrayerWithPurpose

I cannot believe I am finally writing this post! I have been working on these prayer journals for 5 years now and they are finally done, the website is up and we are ready to roll!
When I was pregnant with my firstborn, Ellie, I had such a desire to completely cover her in prayer. My heart's desires for her were endless. So, I started a little spreadsheet of spiritual virtues I wanted to pray over her and asked family and friends to join me in that day's prayer. We all prayed for faithfulness on the same day or joy, peace, patience, obedience, etc.. Then, I thought I should add a "physical need or desire" with that day's prayer, so I added another column for things like a good sleeper, ease of delivery, the doctors, the endocrine system (I was happy to learn what that was!), etc.. I added scripture to go with the virtues and sent it out. We all loved being on the same page praying for Ellie and felt so bonded with her when she was born. I continued to work on my list and when I was pregnant with my second, Izzy, we were excited to start using the list again. The best part of this process was, no matter what happened- and there were some issues with my delivery of Ellie and different issues with Izzy's pregnancy and when she was born- we had complete peace and comfort knowing that we covered every aspect in prayer and they truly were in the Lord's hands in every way. There is very little we can do to control pregnancy, but there is so much peace in trusting the One who has complete control.
After my girls were born, I missed the process of praying scripture over every aspect of their lives in this way. It was no longer necessary to pray for the birthing "logistics" so I created a list for children covering; future spouse, future friends, schools, spiritual virtues, reputation, purity, obedience, etc.. this list became a daily prayer for them where I would write it at the top of my journal page and be reminded of that prayer and scripture throughout the day. It has been neat to memorize this scripture simply as a result of repetition through the years of praying for them. We now use this list with Ellie before bed. She gets out her pink bible and looks up the verse (with our help of course) and we read about that day's prayer. It is fun to discuss things like financial responsibility and what the bible says about it with her. She also hears the scripture enough that we can refer back to that if, by chance, we need to pull one out about obedience!

That leads us to these books. Various people have requested my "spreadsheet" over the past 5 years and the Lord put it on my heart to do something with the lists. I do not have a desire to write a book on how to pray for your child- (you are more than capable of that), I simply wanted to share this tool with others. I woke up in the middle of the night last spring and said...THAT IS IT! It is a prayer journal, the prayers and scripture at the top, room to journal and any necessary definitions to pray specifically at the bottom. I wanted it to be pretty and simple. What an awesome keepsake to pass down to your children- imagine how blessed you would be to see the prayers spoken over you in the womb and as a young child. I hope these books will be a blessing during such a special time, I am SO excited to share them with everyone! They are available on www.prayerwithpurpose.com and please make sure to follow this blog or facebook page or twitter page for updates. I have some great articles to post on the blog about prayer. Thank you for letting me share!