Journaling allows you to chronicle the significant happenings of life, work through your thoughts and emotions about those events, keep track of prayers, record visions and prophecies, write lessons learned, and take notes of sermons, Bible studies, and other teachings. Not every person journals each of these, and not every person journals the same way. When I journal, it opens another avenue for God to speak to me. I will start with a question or prayer and by the end of my writing, God will have spoken to me through the writing as He brought my mindset into alignment with His. I also record sermon notes, what God says to me, and prophecies I receive and sometimes give. Looking back over my journals has often been a catalyst for praise, repentance, worship, perseverance, and hope.
God is our Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6). That name means He counsels us. He advises, guides, advocates, encourages, comforts, exhorts, listens, and speaks. Unlike Him, none of us has a perfect mind; a journal helps us to keep in mind and at our fingertips what He has spoken and done. My own journals have reminded me of prophecies spoken to me and visions God gave me and therefore, put me back on track in God’s will. They have reminded me of answered prayers and given me reasons to praise God when I have been discouraged. They have prompted me to make better choices, when I reread that I faced the same situation in the past. For me, when I am soaking my pillow with tears, they help me hear God over my cries as He takes my focus off myself and puts it back on Him.
Romans 11:33-36 reads,
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
We do not know the mind of God, but, He has given us His Spirit and that means He lets us in on His mind, will, and thinking. We can inquire and He answers. We can seek the answers and He will give them to us. He does not leave us in the dark. In Matthew 7:7-12 Jesus said,
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
God will give you the answers, comfort, and encouragement you are looking for when you journal. Journaling also serves as a reminder about answered prayers, miracles, and times when God did great things for you. In Psalm 77 the psalmist called Asaph was in despair and questioning if God would help him. In verses 6-9 he said,
I said, “Let me remember my song in the night;
let me meditate in my heart.”
Then my spirit made a diligent search:
7 “Will the Lord spurn forever,
and never again be favorable?
8 Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
Are his promises at an end for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion?”
I have written things like this in my journal. But like Asaph, I was seeking my answers from God. In the same Psalm God gave him an answer, verses 10-15 read,
Then I said, “I will appeal to this,
to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
12 I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds.
13 Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is great like our God?
14 You are the God who works wonders;
you have made known your might among the peoples.
15 You with your arm redeemed your people,
the children of Jacob and Joseph.
The remaining verses of the psalm list a few of the miracles God did for Israel as He led them out of slavery in Egypt through the Wilderness toward the Promised Land. The Lord often tells us in His Word to remember what He has done and in remembering to make something that will remind us (Genesis 12:7, 1 Chronicles 16:15, , Exodus 17:15 Psalm 105:5). We don’t build altars today but a journal can and does serve as a solid reminder. Joshua 4:1-14 tells us about God’s command to Joshua and Israel to build an altar of 12 stones in the midst of the Jordan as they crossed the mighty river that God had divided for them. Our journals can serve as the stones.
Psalm 143:5-6 encourages us that remembering is more than merely letting thoughts briefly cross our minds, we are to meditate on God’s deeds, consider them, and apply the insights He brings to our lives.
I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all that you have done;
I ponder the work of your hands.
6 I stretch out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah
And remembering God’s sovereignty in our lives leads us to prayer, repentance, and prayer. It brings us into His presence and gives us a chance to worship Him. Jonah 2:4-7 says,
Then I said, ‘I am driven away
from your sight;
yet I shall again look
upon your holy temple.’
5 The waters closed in over me to take my life;
the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped about my head
6 at the roots of the mountains.
I went down to the land
whose bars closed upon me forever;
yet you brought up my life from the pit,
O Lord my God.
7 When my life was fainting away,
I remembered the Lord,
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.
If you want to grow closer to God, recording your prayers, His answers, the happenings and God’s movement in those events can truly help you to draw close to Him. It gives him another venue to speak to you and it gives you a chance to remember what you would have forgotten and be encouraged about the awesomeness of the LORD.