Last week, I posted about my goal to attempt to be wiser on my 36th birthday than I was on my 35th. One of the ways to accomplish this is through prayer.
I’ve prayed in a variety of ways – written them down, spoken them, quietly meditated on the words. Back in April 2016, I started a prayer challenge where I prayed 30 minutes a day. It was refreshment for my soul – and, more importantly, those hours in prayer over those weeks helped carry me through when my dad passed away at the end of that month. I wasn’t able to pray for a while after that, but because I had spent so much time in prayer, I still felt connected with God.
Prayer changes lives. I have experienced this in my own life; I have seen it magnified in others. I do not always lead by the best example, but I do experience joy when I am praying to and praising God.
I also like to write things down (who knew, right?). Over the years, I have used a variety of tools to help organize my prayers, but I have stuck to these two because I love the format, the quality, and the heart behind the creators of these two journals. Jonann Byargeon is a close friend who published her prayer journal last year, and Val Woerner is a Louisiana Tech journalism graduate like me (#hbtd). Both of these women have a passion to help others spend time with God.
Let me stop here and add this: you do not need anything to pray with God. Prayer, to me, is like running – there’s no special equipment you need, no certain time you have to do it. When I decide to run, I lace up my shoes and go run. I have some wick sweat shirts, some fancy running shoes, and even some cold weather head gear, but honestly, running is just running. I don’t need a gym, a treadmill, or the snazzy workout gear. I just need a path.
Same goes with prayer – I don’t need anything to spend time with God. I just need God. But I do like these prayer journals. They help me keep organized. They prompt me when I need prompting. They help me remember specific prayer requests.
Valerie’s prayer journal covers the whole year and offers space for answered prayers, burdens, and other various prayer requests. It’s big enough to write in but small enough to fit inside my purse. I have used variations of her prayer journal for years. In addition, she has other items that you may be interested in, including a family legacy journal, a men’s journal and kid’s journal, and journals for pregnancy and adoption.
Jonann’s prayer guide is a more cost-effective option and offers the ability to add or remove pages. It’s easy to flip through and offers suggestions for prayer throughout the week. Jonann was our Sunday school teacher in the late 2000s, and she taught our class to pray using her guide’s outline. It was very helpful then when I didn’t pray more than an evening “thank You for this day” shout out. It was a way to jump start my prayer life.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 states, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. “
Prayer journals are not necessary – but neither are fancy running shoes. But I do like having them on hand, being able to take them to church or to work, and being able to remember specific prayer requests or look through and see the answered prayers in my life.
Prayer really is a lot like running. A little effort makes a big difference.