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~The Welcome Home~

On Keeping a Journal
pamela spurling

Dear Sisters---
I am writing this week’s welcome home letter specifically in response to my friend who wrote to me about journaling but I thought I would sort of share my thoughts in the form of an open letter in order that you might be encouraged in your quiet time with the LORD and to perhaps develop a new area in your life and that is the area of prayer and journaling as a means of walking with Him and watching Him as He works in your life.

A journal of prayer is simply a written collection of your daily thoughts, prayers, memory verses or passages, requests, petitions, praises, trials and longings that you are experiencing. A prayer journal need not be any particular type or style of notebook or paper---but one thing I have found, it does need to be something that is our personalized style or preference---otherwise, you’ll be less likely or inclined to actually use the book. A pretty pen is also preferable but not necessary as a pencil will do the job just as nicely. I tend not to actually date every entry but dates are good markers as the LORD speaks to you through His Word or in answered prayer, it’s interesting to be able to look back on situations and see exactly when you prayed over a particular issue and then to see how the LORD worked or answered; and so, it is useful to have specific dates.

Some women feel as though they need to begin a project at a certain point in the year or at the beginning of a month or whatever. O, it’s not necessary at all to begin on a specific day or to begin at a certain point such as, when you are going through a trial or have specific for which you’re seeking answers; it really isn’t a matter of when or how to begin---but (I believe) it *is* necessary to begin!

If you’ve never journaled or haven’t in a long while, then I pray to encourage you today to begin journaling your journey. Choose a pen and a journal; it needn't be any specific type---again, just something you would enjoy, and set out the first day to just write a letter to the LORD---a letter of praise, of thanks, of honour, of hope and of your need for His work in your life. I’d suggest doing this after you have prayed to Him and sought His face, and in a spirit of prayer, seek to be right before Him. Confess known sin, confess attitudes or behaviours, confess faults and shortcomings, and confess those things for which you have fretted over or concerned yourself and give Him those things. Give Him the glory and honour due His Name. Then choose a passage of the Word to read and on which you can meditate. In your meditation, ask the LORD to show you what He would have for you in the reading of His Word. Put your journal away until the next morning or the next time you have with the LORD.

You know, He says that His Word will never return void. In Isaiah 55:11 we read: "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."

So we know that the Word is living... it is for us, for our spiritual health---our very life.

After prayer and reading in the Word, thoughts will naturally come to your mind, names of people will occur to you and situations that concern you will be before you in your thoughts. You may have a list of names of people for whom you pray each day or specific requests you want to remember each day. These are the very things that make up the material for a journal, these are the things to begin to commit to paper. If you have a request, then write it---pray about it and wait. Wait for it because as we read in Habakkuk 2.3, it will surely come. "For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry."

It does seem that some answers do "tarry" doesn't it?! But we know the LORD hears us. John 9.31: "Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth."

When we come before Him in an attitude of humility and with a heart of openness and expectancy, we're surely going to receive that blessing of the drinking from the well of God's Word---regardless what His answer ends up being---even if it's not what we think it would be/should be. That's our sovereign LORD's to choose. Ours is to obey, to trust Him in faith. Psalm 38.15: "For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God." We can rest assured that the LORD is attentive to our prayers and that He will answer according to His purpose and plan. That's what's sometimes difficult to accept: that He will perhaps answer differently than we hope---but(!) that's where faith comes in... faith, it's been said, is in advance trusting God knowing that His plan is *exactly* what we'd choose had we all the facts at the beginning.

Psalm 69.13 "But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation."

So, as we read, as we trust, as we pray, as we seek the LORD, the purpose of our journal is to make notations of any or all those things... to write down what's in our heart, what's in our thoughts, what both troubles and delights us.
Psalms 94.19 "In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul."

His comforts will delight our soul. As we drink from the rich well of His Word, we will know that peace that passes understanding. Our thoughts will be heavenward. Jeremiah 15.16 "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts."

Your journal may, in the end, look very different than you originally begin or intend. As the days pass, you may get into a particular pattern and then as you enter a season in your life, your journal may reflect the rocks on the path of your journey or the smooth sailing on calm seas in a season of rest in your walk with the LORD. Your pages may become tear stained and smudged. You may find that you cannot write for the grief of your heart is too deep and your anguish overwhelming. You know, the LORD hears your cries and catches your tears. A journal mustn't be a matter of bondage---quite the contrary: it ought to free you---and I believe it will.

You see, oftentimes, the enemy seeks to thwart every effort we make to walk with God, to commune with Him and to feast at His banqueting table. The enemy seeks to undermine our intentions and our decisions. It is in times like these that I write matters in my journal and then I have a written account of decisions and directions I have committed to the LORD. No matter how many darts the enemy lobs my way, no matter the number of attacks he initiates, I need only reread what I have written in my journal and I have, in addition to God's Word, an account I can depend on---I can take these words to the LORD and again lay them at His feet and seek His face in whatever matter concerns me---I've done this so many times and God is faithful.

Malachi 3.16 "Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name."

I pray for you today, each one, that He be the joy and rejoicing of your heart. Thank you, dear friend, for writing. I pray to have been an encouragement. All of us need an inspiration from time to time---thank you.

With love, pamela


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