The Prayer Journal

Replica of the prayer journal

1 Timothy 2:1&3 “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men….This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour…”

Fifteen years ago upon becoming a pastor’s wife, I determined that the prayer requests coming in from our parishioners were far more numerous than my mind could possibly keep in order and maintain.

An avid reader, I was shopping in a book store, and I found an entire section of journals.  Some of those blank page journals were very attractive to me.  One of my favorites was a red leather journal with the antiqued paper that had the burned look to the edges.  Oh so lovely.  I determined that I had to have one, but was unsure of exactly how I would use it.  It stayed in my nightstand for quite some time.

One evening, when a prayer request came to my attention, I was trying to find something on which to write.  I pulled open that drawer and saw the journal.  Inspired, I knew that my journal should be used for the prayers of God’s beautiful people.  Where I could hold them in my hands, lift them up to God and pray vigilantly for the good, the bad, and the hurt – to ask for God’s answers.

A couple years ago, a wonderful seminary student came through the Sunday receiving line after church services.  He was hurting; he had received a blow in his personal life and reached out, asking for prayer.  I told him I would immediately begin praying for him and would add him to my personal prayer journal.  He asked about it, and I explained to him what I did.  He was extremely grateful to know that I was sincere when I said that I would pray for him.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16

How often do we tell someone that we will pray for them and promptly forget to do so?  It can become routine to tell someone “I’ll pray for you.”  It’s almost an off-the-cuff response by Christians because, well let’s face it, it’s easy and who’s going to know if you actually prayed?  But let me tell you, people know a sincere heart and attitude, and they also know those that are just giving lip-service.

This past Sunday, another parishioner came through our receiving line after services.  Sarah gave me the biggest hug.  She proceeded to tell me that when she heard that I had been experiencing severe back trouble the week before and was incapacitated, she said: “I prayed for you, I prayed hard for you”.  Her sincerity was so apparent, I knew without a doubt that she indeed did pray hard for me.

Several prayer journals later, I have a new favorite journal.  In December 2012, one of my favorite friends gave me a LIFE journal that she had made especially for each member of our women’s Bible study group.  Our circle is named LIFE (Living in Faith Everyday).  Since December 2012, I have been using this journal for prayer offerings to the Lord.

Prayer Journal 2014

Last night a dear friend asked me to pray for her and her family due to some employment issues that have been brewing.  They are being affected emotionally and spiritually, and they want God’s intervention.  I was more than happy to add them to my prayer journal.  I thank God that He has given me the will and the desire to go to Him in prayer for the people in my life that ask me.  I pray also that they will know for certain that I will lift them up to our awesome God.  For we can rest in the promise that God grants us about our prayers –

1 John 5:14-15 “And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”

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Thanksgiving Day Blessings…

When I was growing up, I looked so forward each year to Thanksgiving.  My mom and dad were really good about making it special.   

Growing up on a dairy farm, I had chores to do every day with milking taking place early in the morning before school and late in the afternoon after getting off the bus.  There was no relief on the holidays.  At 4:00 p.m. my brother and sisters and I were off to the barn to spend the next 2 to 3 hours taking care of the animals and milking the cows.  Then cleaning up, we would go into the house to celebrate.  Of course mom was also usually down there in the morning and dad was down there in the evening.

On Thanksgiving Day, the cars were lined up in the driveway and starting at around 4:00 p.m., the festivities with grandparents, aunts and uncles and loads of cousins, began.  By the time we finished chores, it was 6:00-7:00 at night.  We would then come into the house through the basement and try to sneak through the maze of people to get to our rooms to change out of some extremely smelly clothes and race to the bathroom to wash up before dinner.

The aromas coming from my Mother’s kitchen were heavenly.  My mother would cook the biggest turkey she could find 25 – 30lbs, crammed with homemade stuffing.  Earlier in the day, my sisters and I would have already pealed a minimum of 10lbs of potatoes, and along with all that, there was no less than 12 other vegetables and side items spread out on the table for all to be enticed.

For the past 13 years, I have missed out on my family’s Thanksgiving Day dinners and gatherings.  For years, Earl led Thanksgiving Day services in churches.  We’ve also lived so far from either of our families that even when he didn’t have services, just trying to get to them has proved difficult.  In the early years with the kids, we couldn’t afford to fly with three children, so the attempts to get to St. Louis would be delayed by Atlanta traffic.  I remember one year trying to leave Atlanta on the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving and 4 or 5 hours into the trip we had traveled only as far as the Tennessee border.  The red lights ahead of us were like a never ending river.  We realized that we had to turn around and go back or drive all night.

So now we have made our own traditions for Thanksgiving.  When the kids were home, I made sure I cooked everything my mom always had.  The first year, Earl and the kids were amazed as they counted 16 different items of food on the table.  I enjoy cooking, so Thanksgiving at our house has always been special, and it’s truly a day that Earl and I can give God thanks and also rest.  We’ve learned that Thanksgiving Day is a restful day – a gift from God for the service we do in His name.  And it gives Earl a couple days to energize before the Advent season begins.

Last year we started what I am going to consider a new tradition in this empty nest season of our lives.  With no kids at home and living far away from family, we found some of our friends who weren’t traveling either, and we decided to celebrate with them.  We split the cooking, and we all gather around a feast of food at one of our homes.  This year, we decided to eat over at our house.  We will enjoy the fellowship of one of our church families – but representative of our thanksgiving for all the saints.

“We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ…” (I Thess. 1:2-3)

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