From the moment we could put sounds together to form real words, our parents helped and encouraged us to say something that, although another human might not understand, your heavenly Father could. It was a prayer; a prayer of blessing and of thanksgiving, a prayer of sorrow and defeat, of longing and of peace. Prayer is the line of communication to our Father. It is part of the bond that we experience as His precious sons and daughters. In order for our relationship with our Lord and Savior to grow, we must “pray without ceasing” as we are instructed in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. This means that prayer is a regular occurrence and should have a special part in our personal devotional life as well.
All too often as I am praying at night right before laying my head on the pillow, my mind drifts off to the events of the day, or I find myself drifting into sleep before ending my prayer. This is a serious mistake because prayer is so serious. Not only am I talking to a friend, but the Friend that sticks closer than a brother. Not only am I talking to a father, but my heavenly Father. Not only am I talking to a God, but to my God and my Redeemer, the One who laid down His life for me at the bitter and shameful cross. And I thank Him by falling asleep as I try to muster up enough energy to repeat the all too familiar lines of previous prayers. I struggled with this for a while until a good friend of mine suggested something that has changed my prayer life and has helped me think deeply about what I am saying to my Father.
She suggested that I write a prayer journal. At first, I thought that would take too much time but that’s exactly the point! Sitting down with a notebook and a pen and actually writing every word out does take longer, but that is the blessedness about it! You get to spend more time talking to your heavenly Father! When I started writing a journal, my prayers felt more personal as I thought harder and longer about how the Lord had blessed me and what I was thankful for and who I wanted to pray for. It was as if heaven was brought down, closer to me in those late hours of my day as I poured out my heart to my Father in the pages of my journal. Sometimes, I even look back and read my previous prayers. There is joy as I see the prayers that God has answered and how He used every individual person and situation to mold me into the person I am today.
Writing my own prayer journal has helped me with my prayers, and I strongly encourage you to try it out too. None of us will be perfect with our prayers, but I firmly believe that this can help us think more about what we say when we enter into the presence of our Father and to mean every single word of that written prayer.