“Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord”—Psalms 102:18 (NIV)
In my 18 years of life, journaling has played a huge role in my faith. What started as a 10-year-old’s diary turned into a tangible documentation of my personal journey with Christ!
My prayer as a middle schooler began as, “God, help me to get over my insecurities so I can fulfill Your plan for my life.” Years later, it has grown and now sounds like this: “I want my faith in You to grow so strong that I won’t be afraid about what other people think. I want to be extravagantly devoted to You!”
As my prayers for God’s help in keeping my heart pure were answered, my awareness of the spiritual battle surrounding us intensified. Yet even in the midst of this, I prayed “This battle is about more than just high school and friend groups; it is a spiritual war that ultimately comes down to living for God or living for the world. This battle may be a daily thing, but I know You are fighting for me and in You I have victory!”
As I look back on these raw and detailed prayers, the Lord uses them to remind me of various truths! The English writer Samuel Johnson once said, “People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.” When we take time to document God’s messages of truth to us, we create another tool for spiritual growth. In the same way, God told Jeremiah to write down His words in Jeremiah 30 so that His people could be reminded of His promises far into the future (Jeremiah 30:2).
Although the Bible does not explicitly speak about journaling, there is an implicit understanding regarding the power and value in writing down our prayers and experiences. When we take the time to write, we force ourselves to reflect on our soul’s condition and what God may be shaping in us. Consider what we're told about Mary, the mother of Christ, who “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). Consider the practice of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, and the Israelites to build altars and monuments of stone as milestone markers to remember what God had done for them. Consider the holy days (holidays) of the Jewish people, who held festivals and recounted stories of God's faithfulness in Egypt (Passover), during the Maccabean Revolt and rededication of the temple (Hanukkah), and in countless other instances. The point of all these is to remember what God had said and done, how He had worked, what He revealed, and how He changed the hearts and lives of people. Journaling allows us to see our progress, to remember His faithfulness, to recall who we were, how we felt, and see where He's taken us.
Lastly, much like the Psalmist proclaims in today’s Scripture, our journaling can also be used by God to reach others! Our experiences, our thoughts, and our emotions are interwoven throughout most of our prayers. Whether it be “a future generation” or simply a family member, friend, or someone you're mentoring or discipling, the Lord can graciously use our written words, our revelations through Scripture, and our deepest, most honest prayers to inspire and draw others closer to Himself! It's what makes the Psalms so powerful, profound, relevant, and timeless.
As this plan comes to a close, our hope is that we would not only leave with a greater understanding of the worth of prayer and the necessity of it in its various forms, but that we may we also be intentional about acting and livingaccording to this knowledge as we relentlessly pursue the real prize and purpose of prayer and the Christian life as a whole . . . God Himself!
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