Documenting our spiritual journey & prayers is a great way to process & apply what God has spoken to us. It's also a great tool for remembrance, allowing us to reflect on and review some of the lessons learned. Life is crazy-busy for most of us, so the simple discipline of slowing down - being still - reading - listening - focusing our thoughts & documenting our journey can dramatically improve our spiritual growth. It can also strengthen our faith as we see God’s pattern of answered prayers. In addition, while journaling can be a very personal time with the Lord, you may be surprised how often you’re able to share from your devotional time or from Scripture - in everyday situations or conversations. You may even find it appropriate to share some of your daily journaling with your community group, friends or mentors. For these & many others reasons, the daily study of the Scriptures, prayer and journaling is a great habit to get into.
A helpful format to use while journaling is below, using the S-O-A-P acronym.
S | Scripture
Start with prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to open your mind & heart to His Word for you that day. Then open, or turn ON, your Bible & do the reading under today's date. Take your time reading and allow God to speak to you. When you’re done, look for a verse that particularly stood out to you that day, and write it in your journal.
O | Observation
What do you think God is saying to you in this scripture? Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal Jesus to you. Paraphrase and write this scripture down in your own words.
A | Application
Personalize what you have read, by asking the Lord how it applies to your life right now. Perhaps it is instruction, encouragement, revelation of a new promise, or corrections for a particular area of your life. Write how this scripture can apply to you today.
P | Prayer
This can be as simple as asking God to help you use this scripture, or it may be a greater insight on what He may be revealing to you. Remember, prayer is a two-way conversation, so be sure to listen to what God has to say. Write out some of your prayer and the conversation. On a separate prayer page, record people & situations to pray for, as well as answered prayers.
If this all seems a bit overwhelming, chill out, take it slow and keep it simple. No matter how you decide to do your devotions, the important thing is to show up and get your Bible open. And when you miss a day - don’t freak out and get all OCD. Just pick up where you left off and keep on growing. Jesus is the best friend you’ll ever have and it is simply amazing that the God who created you and the universe wants to spend time with you. He does. Enjoy the journey.