Thirty-six years ago, I attended a class at church about growing in your relationship with God. While I already had a rich relationship with Him, I knew there is always more to learn. I jumped in with both feet and did all the exercises suggested. There were times of prayer, Bible study, and meditation. One of the suggestions was to write out questions you want God to answer.
During the exercise, I asked the Lord, “Abba, what do You want me to do with my life? You have gifted me in several areas but I don’t know where You want me to focus.
As I waited to hear, these words came, and I wrote them down. “Write testimony of your Living Lord. Share on paper the daily walk we share. Expose your vulnerability and My ability. Write books, compose letters, poetry, song. Put your life with Me on paper. Paint with words the beauty and the variety, the strength, and joy we share.”
“You are called to the vineyard to tend the vine.”
“Tend the vine? Abba, what do You mean?”
“To bring before My children a constant remembrance of Me and My gospel. To renew your mind with My word and teach others.”
While writing down what God spoke to me in journals was a practice I’d started years before, I wasn’t used to keeping a daily record of my walk with Him. Underneath what He told me, I knew He was saying that at some point I would share my journal notes with others.
Over the years since, I’ve written books, preached sermons, taught Bible studies, and spoke to others one-on-one using notes from my journals. I have over forty years of journals on my bookshelves. For me, journaling is an invaluable tool in our pursuit of hearing God and following Him.
You may never share anything out of your journals with others. But having a written record of your time with God will be a priceless blessing.
Here are some suggestions:
- Set aside a scheduled time to spend time with God.
- Date your entries.
- Write out your prayers to God.
- Ask Him questions – then listen to see what He says—dialogue with Him.
- Write out your struggles. Pour them all out on paper and ask God, “What do You say about this matter?”
- At times, you may experience visions. Write them out.
- Write down and date your dreams. Write your Bible research about them.
- Write down scriptures that jump off the page when you read your Bible.
- Keep your writing private unless He tells you to share it.
- Ask Him what to do with the things He shares with you?
- Sometimes He will speak to you about others or give you a dream or vision about them. Are you to tell them? Are you to pray for them? What does He want you to do with what you have received?
- Sometimes He may give you prophetic words.
- 1. Are they for others? A specific person? A group?
- 2. If so, who and where, and when are they to be shared?
- 3. Do you need to get permission from your pastor or another leader to share them?
- On days when you do not know what to write, write anyway. Talk to Him on paper as you would a friend over coffee. Share your thoughts, the projects you are working on, the things that brought you joy, whatever comes to mind. Often, when you look back, you will discover He was speaking to you and helped you sort out some issues.
- Draw pictures of the things He shows you. They do not have to be artist quality. A quick drawing to help you remember what you saw. Pictures are worth a thousand words. 😊
In my journals, you will find greeting cards taped into the pages. There are song lyrics, pieces of emails I printed out and taped to the page. I have autumn leaves, dried flowers, other mementos added.
One thing I’ve found to be most helpful is to type out the things you see and hear from the Lord. I like to handwrite everything. But later, I go back and type out what I heard.
It’s been a practice for me to journal for a month or more and then go back and pull out the bits I want to record. I keep God’s words, visions, and dreams in a separate file on my computer in chronological order. Then, let’s say, when I want to find that dream I had about a big fish, I can do a word search and find it immediately. I also print out my journal file and keep the pages in binders.
You do not have to do any of this or only do part. Whatever works for you. God’s word is priceless. Whether it is from the Bible, a vision, a dream, a conversation, a sermon—They are words to cherish. As we have covered in this series, God often refers to things He has shown us or told us before. And He often gives us more understanding about it. Having a record of His word is extremely helpful.
In closing, here is a scripture of encouragement and challenge for journaling:
Habakkuk 2:1-3 I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me. And what I will answer when I am corrected.
Then the Lord answered me and said: Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who read it.
For For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
If you want to begin the adventure, buy yourself a journal that you like. I buy Composition books at Walmart every year when the back-to-school sales are on. I get a handful for 50 cents to a dollar apiece. They are easy to write in. But you may prefer something else.
Set a regular time and place to meet with the Lord and begin. Your life and the lives of others will be enriched by your practice of journaling.