I have faithfully kept a journal since the Spring of 1996. Back then it was more of a Dear Diary type of journal. Over time my journals have gone through different changes. There was a season I journaled out my prayers word-for-word. Today, I do things a little more simply. I write out my prayer requests with one color of ink, and then I go back with a different color ink to write in the answers. I then take some time to journal through my Scripture reading. I recently found this simple journaling method called S.O.A.P over at this blog. You can read about S.O.A.P by clicking HERE. The S stands for Scripture. You simply write down the Scripture you read that day (Acts 15). The O stands for observation. You simply write down any and all observations you made while reading the Scripture. A is for Application. Take a moment and think about how God wants you to apply what you learned from His Word to your life. Finally, P stands for prayer. Take a moment and write out a prayer and ask the Lord to help you apply what you've learned to your life and to continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
I like using journaling as a tool during my quiet times with the Lord because it gives me accountability (nothing like writing those dates each day to prove your faithfulness or lack of to STAY in God's Word). Journaling also FORCES me to Be still and focus on God, and Him alone. Last but not least, journaling challenges me to dig deeper into God's Word. I love a famous quote by a man named Edmund Burke, Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting. Have you ever read God's Word in the morning, checked it off your to-do list, and then later in the day you could NOT recall one single thing you read? That's what reading WITHOUT reflecting is all about! Using the S.O.A.P journaling method has helped me reflect and transfer what I've read from short term to long term memory!
I love journaling. I love to write. Notice I did NOT say I AM a writer, I just LIKE to write. When I'm lonely, sad, angry, or frustrated, I love to go to my journal and write out a prayer or poem. You will probably NEVER see a poem I've written in my journal, but it is something I enjoy doing and it is truly an act of personal worship. A gift from me to my AWESOME Savior!
I used to have some pretty journals, and now I just use cheap spiral notebooks that I stock up on during the back-to-school sales. I always use green notebooks for my devotional/prayer journal. I also LOVE Sharpie pens. I can't wait to try these retractable ones! I purchased a 4-pack that came with red, black, green, and blue. I like to use different colors for prayer requests, answers to prayer, and scripture reflection.
So, do you journal during your prayer and devotional times? If so what is a method that works for you? If you need something to help you with accountability, focus, and digging deeper - give journaling a try!