There is a longing deep within me to be in continued close communication with God. Yet I am never satisfied, there always feels like there should be more. I want to be able to talk with God, not just to God. I want to be able to have the wisdom God offers the praying individual in the book of James. I want to know when He says yes or no to a decision I am about to make. Too often I have seesawed back and forth between yes and no even when facing decisions that were not life changing.
A few years ago, I was able to take in a “Hearing God” seminar out of Southland Church in Steinback, Manitoba. After a couple of months of weekly teaching, I was feeling much more clarity in my conversations with God.
The Hearing God seminar focuses on teaching you how to prayer journal, how to write out a conversation with God. This has helped me make decisions, both small and large, with more confidence. Since practicing prayer journaling almost daily for the last couple of years, Lynnette and I have made moves with confidence that seemed strange to others. We have heard God speaking as we moved to new places, bought a house again after years of renting, began a new ministry, and even in our daily decisions.
The seminar teaches you to write down your question for God. You can even put your initial down (A for Andy), then ask your question. Then on the next line put “G” for God, and write what you believe God is saying. Check the example below.
A: God, what do you want to say to me this morning?
As you listen, you can expect God to speak. Sometimes it takes a little time to get clarity, but I believe what the seminar teaches: God wants to speak to his children. This format helps me have more of a dialog with God. I actually wait and expect him to speak. I don’t just keep rattling on with my desires and concerns, but actually stop to hear God speak. The next step is to write what you think God is saying and evaluate it later. Don’t take actions unless you have confirmed that you heard correctly.
There is no scripture that says you need to journal when talking with God. Some people may even call it a fad. Maybe, but it is a fad that I am benefiting from. I hear God speak to me more than I ever have before. The act of writing helps me to slow down and listen.
Some people like to go back over their journals from time to time to see what God has been saying and how he has worked in your life. This is a great way to spark your thanksgiving as you celebrate how you have seen God answer and work. I don’t often go back over my journals, but love how it helps me focus in the moment.
In the church where I was taught the Hearing God seminar, prayer journaling was commonplace. It was part of their church culture. The pastor often referred to his own journaling experience in his sermons, and encouraged church member to write in their journals as they heard God speak during the service.
Church prayer times were connected to the prayer journal too. Those attending prayer meetings were encouraged to bring their journals and there were times of personal journaling on certain topics and then sharing what people believed God had said.
One concern with prayer journaling is that some people may speak something as from God or with his authority, but they may have not heard clearly. What you believe God is saying to you must always line up with scripture. If it does not, then either you are not hearing God, or you just need to wait on him for more clarity. Be cautious about saying, “God said…” when referring to your prayer journal. I would preface what I believed God had said with something like: “I believe God is saying…”, or “It seems God is saying…” This gives opportunity for others, maybe leadership, to speak into or confirm or clarify what you believe God is saying. If you believe God is saying something to the congregation as a whole, then others will usually confirm that they are hearing God say something similar. Be willing to test your words from God with scripture, or the input of other believers.
You want to hear God speak. God wants to speak to you. Take time to slow down when you pray and expect Him to speak. Why not try journaling?
This is a tool that could help deepen your prayer life, so why not try it? If it is a meaningless exercise for you after trying it for a while, then go back to what works better for you. If you miss a day or two, just pick back up where you left off the next time you come back to the journal.
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