by Roger Severino
[vimeo 109255917 w=640 h=360]
[vimeo 109255917 w=640 h=360]
I am not consistent in my journaling, but have at one time or another practiced each of these methods. Maybe you will find at least one of these helpful to you.
- Journal Your Experiences. I know people who do this on a consistent basis. They keep a diary of their experiences and then can look back on ways God has been at work in their lives. Without capturing these with pen and paper, we can lose the opportunity to see how God delivered us from a trying season, or miss the chance to see growth in our lives. Unfortunately, I have tended to practice this only during particularly dark or difficult times, so if someone reads my journals when I die, they will think I lived a pretty sad and sorry life. Nevertheless, it has been therapeutic for me to write out what I am feeling and invite God’s presence into the experience.
- Journal Your Bible Study. Donald Whitney has said that the difference between Bible reading and Bible study is pen and paper. I have been a little more consistent in this area. Sometimes I take notes on what I am reading, perhaps writing out the main principles or how I will apply the text to my life. Occasionally, I create an outline of a passage as if I would teach it. There are times I merely copy onto paper the exact words I am reading. That might sound strange, but I absorb and process a text differently when I write out the words compared to when I simply read them. I would encourage you to have pen and paper in hand when you do your Bible study.
- Journal Your Prayers. Why write out your prayers? This process gives structure and coherence to your prayers. If you’re like me, my mind often drifts when I pray, and writing out my prayers has helped me to stay focused and voice what I wish to pray. It helps me be intentional on what I want to praise God for, or what I want to confess, or what I need to request for myself or others. This is not a daily habit of mine, but I have found this profitable when I have practiced writing out my prayers.
- Journal Your Prayer List. OK, this relates to journaling your prayers, but this is a little different. Do you want to be intentional about who you pray for? If so, write out a prayer list in your notebook or journal. For example, I want to pray for my family members each day. This goes on my daily prayer list. Also, there are other things I may wish to pray for daily, such as my Oikos list (5-10 unbelievers who I have identified that are in my sphere of relationships). There are others who I want to pray for on a weekly basis. In the back of my notebook, I have divided the sheet into eight quadrants by drawing a line down the middle and three horizontal lines. The top left quadrant is for daily prayers. The remaining seven quadrants are the days of the week. Under each of these, I have identified family, friends, missionaries, countries, co-workers, ministers, etc., that I wish to pray for on a weekly basis.