Power of Prayer and a Prayer Journal

A Daily Discipline

Since the financial crisis of 2009, I have searched for a new career that will allow me to take care of my family and provide a reasonable retirement. It’s been a difficult journey financially and emotionally these last seven years of primary self-employment. Yet, I am grateful that God has provided for us in many ways I could not have imagined prior to 2009.

A couple of weeks ago I happened upon a job posting on LinkedIn that was very similar to my past career prior to 2009. Everything about the company, job, and the outlook was perfect (well, as perfect as anything can be, right?) I had a short telephone interview with the human resources manager who recommended me to the hiring manager. My personal interview with the hiring manager, seemed in my opinion, to go great. She enthusiastically said I met all of her criteria for the position and could not name one objection that would prevent her from extending an offer to me. She told me she was recommending me to go to the next step in the hiring process – an interview with her boss. Now it is important for me to note that this company and her boss was known to me as a client of my previous employer before the downturn. So I believed my chances of moving forward and possibly being hired were excellent. But instead of a telephone call after the Memorial Day holiday to schedule the third interview, I received the typical rejection email notification from the human resources manager. Needless to say, my heart sank and a few tears were shed.

“God? I don’t understand. What more can I do?”

I am disappointed. Discouraged? I would be lying if I said I wasn’t. But what my prayer journal has helped me to overcome in the last seven years is despair. I have received literally hundreds of rejection emails from prospective employers that didn’t even give me a chance to interview, and hundreds more from companies who never responded to my resume and application. I have applied for all types of jobs with varying pay scales.

Rewind the clock five days

I went back to my prayer journal to read what I had written the day of my interview with the hiring manager. On the last page for that day, I had written the following passages.

My prayer: “Lord, when the odds are against me, help me to remember You have a plan for my life. Amen”

Further down the page: “No matter how He answers my prayer, can I trust and love Him?”

Fast forward to today

5262016   Today, I have written in a bold marker for journal entry 5/26/16:

“Yes! Lord, I trust and love you always! I do believe you have a plan for my life, and it may not be one I ever expected, but Lord, you have always taken care of me. Thank you, Lord. I praise your name. Amen”
PRAY

The confidence in prayer comes from the power of God’s Word. My prayer journal time is reading God’s Word and reading a number of different Christian devotionals for a perspective that helps me to understand how God is working in my life.

“God’s word in the Bible can have power only because it corresponds to God’s word in the universe. It is the present Voice which makes the written Word all-powerful.” A.W. Tozer

Parables on Prayer – Luke 18:1-8

Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’ For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge *said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”

God’s Word and the daily discipline of writing in my prayer journal has taught me to go to God first because only He can bring immediate peace over my situation – that is the power of prayer and the power of a prayer journal.

Journal Tools

As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I leave space in each day’s entry for when God answers prayers. Today was a prime example of needing that extra space!

Because I journal early in the day and often throughout the day, I usually re-read my daily journal entry prior to my evening prayers. I also believe that re-reading my journal at the end of the month helps me to see the progression of my relationship with God. I may even read several of my past prayer journals.

In the past when I would have received yet another rejection letter, I would have had a complete meltdown and would be depressed for days. Yesterday, I had a few tears, but today my faith in God is stronger and His Word gives me hope. That is the power of prayer. It is also the power of a prayer journal to see how far I have come in faith, hope, and love of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Praying the Scripture:

“Now may the God of hope fill (me) with all joy and peace in believing, so that (I) will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Psalm 62:5-6
My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.

Prayer Writing Prompts:

How has prayer strengthened my relationship with God?

What do I do when things go wrong or go badly?

May I pray for you?

Email:          Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com
Twitter:       @PrayerPrompts

Blessings on your day!

Sheri

The Prayer Habit – Beware & Be Blessed

Years ago I enlisted the help of a therapist for postpartum depression after my second son was born. I had my children in mid-thirties, and I wanted to be that perfect mother. Constantly worried about whether I was parenting correctly and obsessed with their safety, I knew that I needed help. After a few months of therapy, I remember one session where the therapist advised me, “One day, Sheri, I am going to see your teenage children in here.” She proceeded to share with me how some of my behaviors could have a dramatic effect on my relationship with my children. After that session, I felt as though I had been ‘verbally’ spanked but I was grateful for it. She made me sit up and take notice. I am blessed to have wonderful and loving relationships with both of my sons because I heeded her advice.

So when I read a devotion by Oswald Chambers last week, I felt again as though I had been verbally spanked. It made me sit up and say, WOW! While the devotion was entitled, “The Habit of Having No Habits,” the message was clear about my prayer journal habit.

WOW!

“Your god may be your little Christian habit – the habit of prayer or Bible reading at certain times of your day. Watch how your Father will upset your schedule if you begin to worship your habit instead of what the habit symbolizes. We say, ‘I can’t do that right now; this is my time alone with God.’ No, this is your time alone with your habit. There is a quality that is still lacking in you. Identify your shortcoming and then look for opportunities to work into your life that missing quality,” writes Oswald Chambers.

Here is the link to read the entire devotion: http://utmost.org/the-habit-of-having-no-habits/

I have been guilty of loving the habit of my journal writing – the habit of writing – so much so that at times I have consciously missed to simply meditating on His Word, His presence at that moment, and forgetting to put down the pen to quietly listen to God.

As Oswald Chambers wisely ends this particular devotion, “Remember that ‘the need to receive, recognize, and rely on the Holy Spirit’ is before all else.”

Is there someplace where I am not at home with God?

My prayer journal has helped me to focus attention inwardly on my relationship with God. I have created this habit of writing daily in my prayer journal, and I take my journal almost everywhere I go. However, this Oswald Chamber helped me to question whether my journal writing was a self-examination of my relationship with God, or was my prayer journal just an opportunity to write everything that was going on in my life?

Truthfully, the answer was both.

Writing in my prayer journal is a spontaneous habit in my life, but the habit hasn’t always been immersed in drawing closer to God. I thank Oswald Chambers for verbally spanking me just has my therapist had many years ago to set me on the right path.

Prayer Is

 

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” James 4:8

“If we can change our attitudes about prayer – thinking of it as a process that builds our relationship with God – and cultivate a daily prayer time, we can become strong people of prayer. And the prayer life we develop has the potential to completely transform our lives.” John Maxwell, Author, and Speaker

Journal Tools

When I begin my daily prayer time, I read several Christian devotions and then I end with reading Scripture before I begin writing. God speaks to me in many different ways and in my circumstances, as well as, through other people’s perspectives. Devotion topics lead me to spiritual self-examination allowing me to explore where I am in my relationship to God. I am able then to journal my own perspective and allowing God to work with me in whatever is limiting my understanding or acceptance of His Will for my life.

The following daily devotion websites are some of my favorite reflective readings:

Our Daily Bread www.odb.org

Oswald Chambers www.utmost.org

Rick Warren www.rickwarren.org

InTouch Ministries www.intouch.org

Lutheran Women’s Missionary League www.lwml.org/mustard-seed-devotions

Biblegateway www.biblegateway.com/devotionals has a list of daily devotions.

Crosswalk www.crosswalk.com/devotionals has a list of daily devotions.

Praying the Scriptures:

“Give (me) each day (my) daily bread.” Luke 11:3

“Trust in the Lord with all (my) heart, and do not rely on (my) own insight. In all (my) ways acknowledge him and he will straight (my) paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

“Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I obey your word.
You are good, and what you do is good;
teach me your decrees.” Psalm 119:67-68

Prayer Writing Prompt:

If my devotions lead me to Jesus, then they are good. But, if I stay where I am, something is wrong. Is there someplace where I am not at home with God?

Am I limiting myself from doing certain things that restrict me from drawing closer to God?

You can now follow The Prayer Journals on Twitter for daily writing prompts.
Twitter: @PrayerPrompts

Comment on this post with your favorite daily devotions!

If you would like me to pray for you, email me, Sheri at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com or send a tweet @PrayerPrompts.

Blessings on your day!