Psalm 12:1-5 (NLT )
Help, O Lord, for the godly are fast disappearing! The faithful have vanished from the earth! Neighbors lie to each other, speaking with flattering lips and deceitful hearts. May the Lord cut off their flattering lips and silence their boastful tongues. They say, “We will lie to our hearts’ content. Our lips are our own—who can stop us?” The LORD replies, "I have seen violence done to the helpless, and I have heard the groans of the poor. Now I will rise up to rescue them, as they have longed for me to do."
Last week we explored the importance of praying the scripture, and this week we are going to look at hearing God through journaling our prayers and God’s responses. As we dive into this topic, know that although the term journaling is new, the concept is ancient, and God has been waiting for a people who would learn to seek Him with their whole heart and allow Him to open their ears (p. 37).
Consider the following:
Throughout the history of the church, God’s people have recorded their prayers and what they thought was God’s response. We particularly see this in the book of Psalms, we find the Psalmists pouring out their praises, fears, hopes, confessions, and hearts. Our scripture lesson illustrates in the first few versus David sharing his heart with the Lord, and in verse five, he hears what the Lord says. This is one of many examples of the importance of writing.
Japenga expressed he heard God more than tenfold once he started journaling his dialogue with God. Japenga suggests these basic steps. 1) Preparation — spend some time quieting and preparing yourself to hear God; this will look different for everyone but sometimes a combination of praise, worship, adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and scripture reading aids in this preparation. Therefore, eliminate all distractions but know you can experience God in a public place. Know that when Jesus told us to pray in our prayer closet, He was speaking metaphorically of being distraction free, since no one in Jesus’ day had a closet with a door on it. 2) Turn your prayers into questions and write them out, what is on your heart. More often than not, most people are tempted to skip this part because it takes much longer than praying silently, however, this is very important. Trust me, you will see fruitfulness in this step. 3) As you pray, formulate some additional questions that you desire to ask and write them out. Your prayers will generate many questions and know that God can handle your questions! 4) Wait in silence and begin to write the first thoughts that spontaneously begin to come in reply to the question. As we are open to Him, those thoughts are very often Him speaking to us. Allow the Lord to speak. You may be surprised at what He will say. Try not to worry about discerning if it is Him right now. This will become apparent as you move on. Just allow the thoughts to flow and record them as best you can. Be sure to continue your dialogue with follow-up questions and be very careful not to doubt. There will be plenty of time to let the words be tested. Fatih is essential to our hearing. Very often, God will answer a different question than the one we asked. Jesus did this all the time while here in the flesh. He is the same today! Allow Him to lead. 5) Honor the words you have received. God will speak to you about many things in these times. It is important to keep these words in a special and accessible place for two reasons. First, often we quickly forget what God has clearly spoken and it is important to continue to be obedient concerning what He has already spoken in order to be available for more. Second, having the words written and accessible provides the surest means to test the words God has spoken. It also reveals to you that God has already accomplished much of what He said He was going to do, and it will become apparent which words are from Him and which are not (p. 32-24).
I encourage you for further study to read the very short book of Habakkuk, one of my favorite prophets because he asked God countless questions and God answered him. As you read Habakkuk, you will note that it is basically a prayer journal.
Devotion is based on: “An Introductory Guide to Listening Prayer: God’s invitation for you to join Him on a quest.” click here to download the guide.