When Mariah was a teenager, she longed to get to know God. She’d grown up in church, but she didn’t feel a personal connection to God and prayer just made her feel awkward.
An older friend noticed Mariah’s passion for writing and advised the young teenager to write God letters. She encouraged her to do it every day for a month.
“I can do that?” Mariah asked, growing excited. “I can just write God a letter and He won’t mind that I haven’t spoken my prayers?”
“God hears all of our prayers,” Her friend assured her. “It’s why the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit intercedes, sometimes even without words on our behalf. Think about David. The whole book of Psalms is basically one man’s prayer journal.”
Growing closer to God through journaling can be a wonderful adventure. It will nurture a deeper relationship, give you insight into God’s character, and teach you how to truly bring your burdens to Him.
But getting started can be difficult if you’ve never tried creating a spiritual journal. Here are a few tips to help you along the way…
Begin by Deciding When To Journal
Many people enjoy spending time with Jesus first thing in the morning. This can be a wonderful habit but it isn’t ideal for everyone. Maybe you work odd hours, have a newborn baby, or a medical condition that makes morning rituals difficult.
Don’t beat yourself up over it. God delights in meeting with you – whether that’s at 6am or 6pm or any time in between! Just pick a time when you can show up and give God your full attention.
Where Will You Do Your Journaling?
Besides choosing a time, it can also be helpful to pick a location. When Femi started journaling, she was a work-at-home mom. The noise of her children made it difficult to concentrate so she would often go onto the back porch to read her Bible and pray. Her kids knew not to disturb Mom when she was spending time with Jesus.
You can pick any location that’s comfortable and enjoyable to you. You could start your journaling practice at your local library, a coffee shop, or even from your favorite chair in your living room.
Remember David prayed to God in many locations – in caves, on mountains, during battle, in the Temple, and in his palace. God showed no preference over the location. He just cared that David came to Him.
Make Use Of A Guided Journal
When you’re new to journaling, it’s hard to know what to write. That’s why it can be helpful to grab a guided journal. A guided journal typically includes prompts or questions (usually faith-based) to help you get started.
Of course, you don’t have to use one. There’s nothing wrong with grabbing a blank journal and starting your letters to God. But if you’re having difficulty with the practice, you might benefit from a guided journal.
Be Consistent With Journaling
You can’t grow a deep relationship with someone if you only see them once or twice a year and never speak the rest of the time. If you want true intimacy, you have to cultivate it. In our human relationships that means phone calls, text messages, Skype sessions, Facetime, silly videos, and even exchanging GIFs.
In our relationship with our Heavenly Father that means stopping in to pray, read our Bibles, or journal. Of course, you may not journal every day, especially not at first. But if you keep working to make it a habit, you will get there eventually.
Don’t Focus on How You Feel
When you feel the presence of God during your journaling sessions, it’s amazing. It feels like you’re sitting down with the Holy Spirit and sharing special secrets. Like you have a unique relationship no one else can see (and you do!).
But not every journal entry will be fascinating. Not every journal session will feel like you’re standing on the mountain. In fact, those may be on the rare side. Most people just feel rather ho-hum about their journaling, especially when they’re first starting out. Don’t let this discourage you.
Instead, focus on meeting with God and spending time with Him. The more you do, the more you’ll learn to recognize His voice and feel His presence.
Remember, your journals don’t have to be filled with perfect grammar and punctuation. God isn’t grading your penmanship. He’s listening to your heart. He’s delighted that you’ve made the decision to spend more time with Him and He can’t wait to hear from you!