Man journaling in a notebook outside

Praying Concretely and Consistently

It’s rare that any pastor gets to have a very deep look into the private thoughts of someone. Last week, a grieving family gave me the opportunity to look at a prayer journal that dated back to 2005. It belonged to a woman who was precious to me and to our church family. Years ago, we had a couple of conversations about praying. I once told her about my own journaling. “I tend to wander without helpful focus, so I started journaling my prayers. I can type quickly and blindly, so I close my eyes and begin to pray, typing out my prayers.” She said, “I write mine out in a spiral that I keep for my prayers.” And she did.

She prayed for her family when they had challenges and problems, when they were celebrating milestones, and when they were stressed.

She prayed for friends facing surgery, disease, layoffs, accidents, and funerals.

She prayed for our church through changes, new challenges, and painful news.

She prayed for her own leadership when she felt inadequate.

She prayed for God to grow her faith and stretch her confidence for new circumstances.

She confessed her struggles and the sense of her own disappointment in her walk.

She prayed for faithfulness when she faced tough decisions.

But most of all–she prayed PRAISE and THANKSGIVING for what Jesus had done for her and her family.

Do you struggle to pray consistently and concretely? Do you find that your mind wanders, even when you’re trying to pray for something that’s vitally important to you? Then consider a prayer journal. You can be specific, and it feels so much more like a conversation with God. For me, I want to be blatantly honest with God, so I use a password-protected Word file, close my eyes, and begin typing. The writing keeps my mind focused, gives guardrails for my thinking, and I wind up feeling much more connected to the Lord.

After reading my friend’s prayer journal, I feel freshly inspired, especially considering the decade and a half of watching the effect of that prayer life in shaping her soul. Maybe her story will encourage you to pray more concretely, pursuing Jesus more consistently.

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