This simple blog is devoted to the greatest privilege that man has ever been given; PRAYER.
And the Lord gave me the two tablets of stone written by the finger of God; and on them were all the words which the Lord had spoken with you.
The phrase “It is written” is found repeatedly in the Word. God, Himself, wrote the Ten Commandments. The role of the scribes was very valuable during Bible days for recording important events and for keeping track of earlier writings and genealogies. As we begin to hear God’s voice, we, too, must establish the habit of journaling—maintaining a personal written record of experiences, observations, etc., on a regular basis.
Many people do not like journaling, and yet journaling is one ofthe most important disciplines of a Christian’s life. The hardest part of journaling is cultivating the habit; but those who do, reap great benefits from it.
Where Do I Begin?
Journaling should always begin with the date of entry. As time goes by, you may forget when certain events happened But your journal will help you to trace patterns that have occurred around different circumstances in your life.
Words or Scriptures you receive during your prayer time. This is not necessarily every day, but often. Your journal need not be fancy, but it should be confidential; it will often contain details you don’t want anyone but God to read.
A friend sent me the following poem regarding her journal:
Now I lay me down to sleep… I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, Throw my journal in the lake!
Sometimes it’s good to share specific entries with others, but ask God before you do. There are times when God will show you something that is not to be shared; it’s only to be prayed for. Make sure you hold His secrets in trust.
Back in the early 70s, I was praying one morning when God showed me a certain man. From the front, the man was white; from the back, the man was gray. I asked, “Lord, what does that mean?” At first I didn’t receive anything. Then I got the word “deception.” I wrote the word down and waited. Next I heard, “He will be one way to your face, but he is very undecided.” Finally I saw him turn and he became gray and black. The Lord then said, “Because of the grayness in this man, he will gradually go into deception. Beware.”
I recorded everything the Lord showed me that morning. When the time of reckoning came with this man. I realized that God had prepared me and that what I was seeing was more than just my imagination.
It is difficult to trust to memory all the things you hear and receive— especially if you do not fully understand what the Lord is saying. Your journal isn’t for God or others—it’s for you.
The Lord may speak things to you that will actually come about days, months or years later. How many times have you said, “If I could just remember…,” or “If I had only written it down….”
Keeping a journal increases your faith as you come to realize that you really do hear from the Lord, especially when the things you have written down begin to come to pass.
How to Journal
There are many different ways of keeping a journal. Your journal should always include any impression, Scripture or picture you receive while praying for a person or situation. You should record not only what you have seen and heard, but also your own feelings and interpretation at the time. Then when God answers, you can check your feelings or impressions with the outcome.
Be sure you record the date each time you make an entry.
Journals do not have to be expensive or fancy. Some people find a loose-leaf or spiral notebook adequate, or a daily log book. Others prefer to purchase a journal from a stationery store, or use a computer. Try several different ways before you find one that works best for you. What matters most is that you record your times with the Lord.
You might want to separate your journal into subjects that relate to you, such as family, church, business, friends, impressions, etc. Are you praying for a particular friend or family member? Put his or her picture at the top of the page, with your prayer requests under it and the answers as they come.
A dear friend of mine meets with God at the beginning of each year to ask for the names of those the Lord wants her to pray for. She then includes their pictures in her journal and asks the Lord for a specific verse to pray for each person. Every day she prays over the pictures and writes whatever impressions, words or Scriptures the Holy Spirit gives her throughout the year. It’s a blessing to know that Floyd and I are part of her journal.
I have several personal prayer partners with whom I am very close. For years now, we have given each other a Scripture verse as a Christmas gift. This year, however, we drew names and have committed to keeping a journal for the person whose name we picked. At the end of the year we will exchange journals. I treasure this experience.
One ofthe ways that God often speaks to me is with pictures. Although I am certainly not an artist, I do sketch the pictures the Lord gives me. For example on April 18, 1982, I drew the following sketch in my journal:
I saw a door and the door was closed. Immediately what came to mind is that when God shuts a door, no person can open it. Then I asked the question, Was the door just closed or has it never been open? I really did not know. I also saw a safe within a safe. The door on the first safe was wide open; the door on the second safe was not. I noticed the keyholes, but I noticed the key was missing. Next I saw myself entering a long corridor with many doors on both side (some open; others closed).
I knew I would not realize what was behind each door until I reached it. The Lord then spoke Revelation 3:8 into my mind. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut.
I asked the question, How will I know which door to choose? A Scripture immediately came to my mind, A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure (Prov. 16:9, Amp.). I recorded every detail and put the word away, leaving it with God.
Later I was teaching in Germany and doing an exercise on hearing the voice of God when a man approached me with the following word and sketch:
Beth, I see a door before you that was previously closed, but is now open. The date was December 12, 1984 (two years later). I see a safe and there’s another safe inside that one which has been opened [This was just like the safe I had seen before]. Inside there is a map of Germany. Elizabeth, God is giving you a key to open something in all of my country. I saw a big key and it looked like this:
And I saw a large hallway with many open doors, but you did not know what was behind the door until you reached it. What God opens no man can close—Revelation 3:8.”
Ten years passed and I was teaching on hearing the voice of God in Sweden in 1994. Because I did not have an overhead projector to use, I began drawing a picture of the keyhole I had received in my sketch which was later confirmed in Germany. All of a sudden, as though the Lord were whisking back a curtain, I received the revelation that the key was actually the logo for our ministry, Intercessors International. As I looked at the keyhole and then at our logo, I began to weep. God is faithful!
If I had not drawn the picture in my journal, I would have missed a great
opportunity to see the Lord present, confirm and bring to pass His plans for my future. Journaling is a great blessing!
When you receive a picture in the theater of your mind, draw it out. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just something to jog your memory when you look back over it. Label what or who each person or item might mean. Time can be your enemy when it comes to remembering details.
One of the reasons it is important to record visions is that shortly after we receive the picture, the enemy will try to put confusion on us. But when we have recorded it, we can overcome the enemy’s tactics with “It is written.”
I recommend writing out any Scriptures you receive, especially if you’re a new Christian. This makes for a quicker reference when you look back to what the Lord spoke to you—it also helps you to commit the Word to memory.
Keeping a journal can be one of the most rewarding things you do for yourself. If you will be dedicated for 21 days, you will find you have established a habit pattern and the rewards will be phenomenal.
Excerpt from Chapter 6 (Journaling: Recording What You Hear) of “Becoming a Prayer Warrior” by Elizabeth Alves