by Jennie Heideman
Around 1400 BC, the walls of Jericho fell, and the long-awaited Promised Land—the land God first promised to give to the Israelites circa 2100 BC—was given over to them. This well-known story is documented in Joshua 6 in the Old Testament and shows how God is faithful to fulfill His promises (Genesis 15:12-21).
However, if you flip just a few chapters back in Joshua, you will find a lesser-known story, but one that is just as important. Just before God gave the Israelites’ Jericho, we see God perform another miracle. Many people know about the Red Sea crossing in Exodus, but here in Joshua, we see God part the Jordan River, which was at flood stage, so that the Israelites could make their way to the Promised Land (Joshua 3). After they crossed the Jordan River, Joshua directed the Israelites to gather 12 stones as a memorial so that in the future, when the Israelites’ descendants asked what the stones represent, they could tell them about how God was faithful to help them cross the Jordan River (Joshua 4:1-7).
Remembering God’s faithfulness was key to the Israelites.
Like us, they tended to forget how God had provided for them (Judges 8:34), and so it was important to have tokens and celebrations of remembrance. They would remember His faithfulness in several ways like through the stones in Joshua, celebrating the Passover (Exodus 23:15), and the Feast of the Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34-43), just to name a few.
In fact, the whole Bible is a display of God’s faithfulness to keep His promises and answer prayers. God was faithful to deliver the people to the Promised Land (Joshua 6), to give Abraham a son (Genesis 21:1-7), to bring back a remnant of the faithful Israelites from exile (Ezra 1:1-4), and ultimately to deliver a Messiah who saved us from the heredity of sin and offers us eternal life with Him (John 8:12-58).
It is incredible that we have a record of God’s faithfulness through the Bible, but we often forget God’s faithfulness in our own lives because we fail to record how He has been faithful to us. Failing to record instances of God’s faithfulness can cause us to forget all the ways He has walked with us, seen us through difficult times, answered prayers, and delivered on His promises. That said, when we take time to record how God is faithful in our lives and the lives of those we love, it can help our faith in hard times because we have a record to look back on and can remind ourselves, “God was faithful then, so we can trust God to be faithful today.” Recording our prayers is a way of documenting God’s faithfulness in our lives. But what is the best way to go about recording God’s faithfulness to us?
Thankfully, there is a fairly easy way to begin recording God’s faithfulness through prayer journaling. Prayer journaling is just what it sounds like, journaling your prayers. You can write your prayers out, or you can write your prayers in bullet points. The form does not matter, but the act of recording your prayers and God’s answers does. If you are new to prayer journaling, below are a few ways to get started.
- Find a tool to use for your prayer journal
This tool can be a notebook and pen, a journal specifically designed for prayer journaling, an app on your phone meant for taking notes, or even voice recordings on your phone if writing is a struggle for you. Just find something that will be easy for you to use.
- Incorporate it into your daily habits
One of the keys to prayer journaling is to do it often. To do this, you will need to make it a habit, like brushing your teeth. One of the easiest ways to begin a new habit is to start it by “habit stacking.”
Habit stacking is an idea that was popularized by James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits. It is where you stack a new habit you want to build onto an already established habit. So, for example, if you want to incorporate prayer journaling into your daily life, you can do it right before you do an already established habit.
Practically, habit stacking looks like is taking a habit you already have (like brushing your teeth) and prayer journaling right before you brush your teeth. You can put your prayer journal and pen by your sink and then take a moment to write down a few prayers before you brush your teeth. Or let’s say you already do a quiet time each day, place your journal next to your Bible or devotional and write down your prayers before you begin reading. Simply write down a habit you already have (reading, exercising, meal prepping, driving to class or work, scrolling through Instagram, etc.) and then place your prayer journal in the location where you do your already established habit.
- Record answered prayers
Make sure that you record when God answers your prayers, even if you are disappointed by the answer. One of the most incredible things about prayer journaling is how you can look back and see how even prayers that God said “no” to were for your good. For example, looking back at an old prayer journal, I prayed that God would send me to a certain college. However, I was wait-listed and ended up attending a different college. At the time I was disappointed, but now I can see God’s goodness in sending me to a different college than I had originally wanted.
If you are using voice-recordings for your prayer journal, I recommend recording the answer to your prayer by changing the title of your recording to the answer to the prayer. To learn how to do this, click here.
- Look back through your prayer journals
The best part about prayer journaling is looking back through journals and seeing God’s faithfulness. For myself, I can see God’s fingerprints in disappointments that were ultimately for my good. I can also see how He provided when I was in need. Prayer journaling has built my faith so that now my ultimate response to difficult circumstances is to no longer panic but to trust in God. It is easy to trust God because I have a record of God’s faithfulness in my life that I cannot deny (Matthew 6:25-34).
Over time, prayer journals can serve as remembrances to show others how God has been faithful. It will build your faith because you have tangible examples of how God saw you through the pastures and storms alike of life. So if you haven’t already, I encourage you to start your own prayer journal and document God’s faithfulness in your life.
If you need a prayer journal, check out our In Everything Journal. It has space to record prayer requests and how God answered the prayer request. Additionally, our It is Well Journal can be used for prayer journaling. It is a lined, blank journal that is easy to transport and you can modify to your liking.