03 Jan Keeping a Journal – Helen Clarkson
I have found this a tricky task – keeping a journal with the Lord is such a personal activity – but I hope some of my notes below may be of some use.
- Bible reading plan
- Prayer list
- Choose a book you’re going to enjoy
- Give yourself time
- Listening to God
- Use of the Psalms
I take pleasure in choosing a new note book when I need a new journal – I choose a book I’m going to enjoy writing in, but not too big as it comes with me when I’m away from home.
To ensure I read the whole Bible, I list all of its books in the back of the notebook, and enter a date when each is completed. This gives me an overview of my readings and ensures I don’t omit any. Some books have several dates beside them even though they’re in the same run-through – either because we have covered them on a Sunday and I want to read the whole book, or like now, where we are encouraged to read Mark. Generally I alternate between Old and New Testaments. I also always have the book of Psalms on the go.
I have made a separate part of my journal to record words from God which I keep easily accessible – I can meditate on these as part of my time with Him.
I am learning to make worship more part of my time with the Lord. I find I hear His voice much clearer when I come from a place of worship. Reading Psalms – often aloud – has really made an impact. Also, I sing – even though this is often my own words to familiar tunes and sometimes some golden oldies. These too are noted – often the Lord prompts a tune or words to come to mind that emphasises what He is saying, and what is on His heart.
Names and situations that I want to be faithful in are added to the journal. This helps me to stay faithful and as I review the entries I can see how the Lord is moving. We are asked to pray for leaders and those in authority – noting this somewhere that is regularly reviewed again helps in remaining faithful to what He has asked.
Notes and hearing God
The notes made each time vary – obviously the Bible passages read, maybe a particular verse or verses that have really struck me. Often the Lord shows me something new or with different emphasis and this is noted. Making the effort to allow enough time has made such a difference to the quality of the time with Him. I am struck that the Lord has so much to communicate to us if we take the time to listen – to my shame this has not always been the case.
I find that hearing the Lord is much easier and clearer when I come from a place of worship – this tunes my spirit in line with His. It also brings to my attention things I need to put right, ask for forgiveness and sometimes the Lord shows me His perspective in regards to a situation.
The notes really help in those time when I don’t feel I’m hearing well – or I’m going through some tough stuff, often they help me to focus, give encouragement and remind me of His goodness.
Like any good parent the Lord longs to spend time with us, loves hearing our voice and gets a thrill from answering the longings of our heart. That is not to say that He always answers when and how we anticipate – but His timing is always perfect and He always wants the very best for His children. His perspective is vastly different from ours – He sees a much bigger picture than us. Spending time with Him changes us to be more like Him – what a promise!