This is a repost from the archives. It was originally published in December of 2015, but every word rings true today.
Write your prayers down. In a journal, on a piece of computer paper, in the margins of your Bible, on a sticky note, across a chalkboard, in your notes app. Write down what’s making your heart soar, what’s making your heart sink. Write down what you’re hoping for, what you’re asking God for, what you need. Write down your own selfishness, your own unforgiveness, your own mess. Write down the names of the people, precious and broken, who you’re praying for. Write down your greatest joys and most painful heartbreaks.
So you don’t forget them–write down your prayers.
Because when you pray and pray and pray, and God answers your prayer, there’s a tendency to forget the fire. To forget the difficulty of the middle part–you know, the part between asking and receiving. We don’t remember what it’s like to stand in the middle and wait, patiently or impatiently, for His voice in the dark. We forget that we wondered for days and months whether He heard us, whether He would come through. We chalk it up to luck or good timing when our prayer is answered, and subtract God from the equation.
And when we forget that there was a wait, we forget to pray bigger prayers. Our faith doesn’t build; there’s nothing to build on. Prayers answered but always forgotten don’t add up to an unshakable faith: prayers prayed, waited for, and perfectly answered–and then, remembered–do.
And so, I’ll open my most private thoughts and words to you–my journals dating back to 2007 (I have journals from before 2007, but eight years is enough)–with the hope that you will see the importance, the power, the healing of writing your prayers down.
Like on February 4, 2007 I wrote, I think the world and society took over me for almost three months. God, I just want you to know that I love you and I know you’re there for me even though I’m feeling frustrated and alone right now. Please be with me this week, I really need you. And then, just two days later, on February 6, 2007, I wrote, I can’t believe how two days of praying, meditating on God’s word, and journaling my feelings has already provided a complete 360 turnaround in my life. I went from angry and annoyed to optimistic and satisfied. This really shows what God can do in my life.
Then on November 9, 2009, when I wrote, I pray to fall in love with the beautiful body that God knit together for me! God doesn’t make junk. That prayer was abundantly answered; I wrote about it here.
And on January 26, 2010, I wrote [Sorority] recruitment starts tomorrow, and I pray God will be with me every minute of the day–actually I pray that I will recognize that God IS with me every minute of the day. I pray for peace to come over me as I go about recruitment. I want to worship God and see all of the beautiful women that he has created. I pray for peace in God. Then, on February 1, 2010, I wrote Joy! I’m a Sigma Kappa! I’m so excited. I can’t even describe this feeling. Praise God! I ended up meeting precious friends in Sigma Kappa over my four years of college; in fact, my big sister in my sorority was my Maid of Honor! Definitely an answered prayer.
Or on January 14, 2011 when I wrote, Lord, I thank you for standing by me when I’m furious at you–kicking and screaming and crying. Thank you for being my hope. I started a blog about noticing your beauty everyday. God, I hope and pray that you will bless over the words that I write, and that you will show me moments during the day–or make me more aware of them, I should say–not for a blog, but for acknowledging your unbelievable beauty on a daily basis. The blog I was referring to was my first, called The [in]Significant Things. It started me on a journey towards realizing the power of words and the passion I have for writing.
On March 3, 2011, I wrote, [I pray] you answer my prayers for my summer job…I pray to serve God and serve people alongside another believer. But father, you have my heart, and thus, you have my summer. I believe in the power of faith. Well, that summer ended up being the best one of my life. I moved to Texas and worked as a camp counselor, and my co-counselor for the entire summer was a sweet girl from Arizona named Brielle. She loves Jesus wildly, and together, we served God and people. (This was especially miraculous because the camp wasn’t a Christian camp.) Praise the Lord for hearing my heart! (This is also the camp where I met my husband…)
May 22, 2011, just after I had accepted my job at camp, I journaled, At camp this summer–let me touch a life. I also pray that I would be touched–but Lord, I expect to be changed, honestly. I pray for handprints on hearts. This prayer was answered in a great-big-huge way; you can read about that here. (I also wrote about my prayers for camp being answered in my journal, on August 24, 2011: Just three weeks left of this place…it’s so hard to believe that seven have already flown by so quickly. I want to live in the now, be thankful for this moment right here, not take a second of this awesome place for granted. Here at camp, I arrived in pieces, desperate to live a one-track life, truly wanting to be “me” again. And amidst the sweat and the smiles and all the laughter, my heart was healed, and I was able to move on past the old. Isaiah 43 rings so true, and He has protected me from being scorched and burned as I have walked through these fires.)
Then, on another day in May of 2011, on a day when I forgot to mark the date, I wrote, I pray for my husband…that he would lead us, love us, unconditionally, all the time, in Jesus’ name. That he would let [our] kids grow slowly, in His hands, patiently, with loads of faith. That he would allow me, persuade me, to cultivate curiosity in the hearts of my children, not as the world sees it or gives it, but as the Lord gives it. Though we don’t have children yet, Riley’s wedding vows to me were a precious answer to this prayer.
On October 10, 2011, I wrote, God, with me it always seems to be the trust. You give me beautiful things and I don’t thank you for them, acknowledge them, for fear that they will be taken away. But even if you take them away, would you not still be a good God? Would your love for me be any different? No. I can hear a resounding “no!” Your goodness is not on trial, your goodness is not on trial. You are good because you are you. This is an ongoing prayer, and there are times when I am more grateful than others…but oh, have I grown to learn to acknowledge the beautiful things in my life, because I know that they are often for just a season.
September 13, 2012, an entry that brings me to tears, I’m learning, learning is a slow process, but it’s a day by day process. Learning that there are seeds of passion in my soul that you planted before I was born. What to do with these seeds? I pray to worship you as I cultivate them. Writing, blogging, creating…loving you through it all. How can I bring you glory in it all? How can I further your kingdom? You’re teaching me that those passions aren’t for nothing–and to live a nothing life would make my perception of you a nothing God–and you are the perfect opposite of a nothing God. Oh, and the tears fall hot and fast as I read those words. Because they’ve been so answered.
And after I had just moved across the country to Austin, Texas after graduation, I wrote on July 22, 2013, Lately, I have been pretty fearless. Moving to Austin alone, beginning my job, etc. But I do wonder, Lord, if there’s a cap limit on this fearlessness? What are you calling me to do that goes beyond the everyday? I need a Christian girlfriend here…It’s one part refreshing to three parts lonely not to have anyone to call and be in fellowship with. It’s only been two weeks, there’s time, but Lord hear my prayer. I need a friend! And this prayer was answered in abundance. I met incredible friends in Austin, all of whom I talk about in this post.
Then on August 29, 2013, I wrote, My goals: become an author, grow Blair Blogs (and encourage people through it), become a full-time blogger, work somewhere more fulfilling. God is so awesome. I’m not an author yet (but actively praying about/pursuing it), this blog has certainly grown, I am now a full-time blogger, and it is oh-so fulfilling. Amen.
After months of dreaming of a puppy, on September 17, 2013, I wrote, I do feel unqualified and nervous [about getting a dog], but I also have a heart bursting with love for a little puppy. I keep praying for a sign. (Lord, please give me a sign!)…Father, draw near to me as I seek you. Help me to know your will for me. Dog? No dog? Then, on the very next day, September 18, 2013, I wrote, I came to a peace (finally) about the puppy situation! Now, I am getting a dog in December (hello, birthday present to me!)…I pray over these months in between for patience. And then, on my birthday, December 9, 2013, I wrote, Happy birthday to me! I praise you for all of the wonderful blessings you’ve poured out to me–including the precious puppy I got yesterday, who still remains nameless! Charley has been an answered prayer indeed.
The very next day, on December 10, 2013 I was laid off from my job. I wrote, Today, I was laid off, along with 80 perfect of [the company’s] employees. Shocked. Angry. Sad, scared. All of the above. But, father, I trust you. I know you’ll provide and I ask for a life-giving opportunity. I love you, Lord. Then, just 10 days later, on December 20, 2013, I wrote, Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness! I was hired at Gateway today! Thank you, Lord! Praise you! I am overjoyed. Thank you for being a God who answers prayers.
Just a few weeks later, I felt called to break up with my then-long-term boyfriend. (This season of life, December 2013 and January 2014 were rough!) On January 2, 2014, I wrote, Lord, you called me to step out in faith big time yesterday. We have broken up. I have loads and loads of peace, and I earnestly pray that you would continue to dump peace, your love, and contentment into both my life and his. I pray desperately for healing in this great time of difficult change. My, how this prayer was answered. I have never known such incomprehensible peace as the peace I felt permeate my soul that January. I was able to heal and move on much more quickly than I would have anticipated, which was a good thing, because my Riley was in the near future!
On February 3, 2014, I wrote, Riley Lamb from Camp Lonehollow has been texting me lately–and I really enjoy the attention. I totally admit it. (HAHA!) The next day, on February 4, 2014, I wrote, Talk about risk-taking. I have no idea why Riley continues to text me day in and day out, but I love talking to him. Dare I say I have a little crush on him? How did I even get here? How random is our communication! Then, on February 14, 2014, I wrote, I just got off the phone with Riley after five hours! (It’s 3:20am!) I really like him. Not in a…super passionate physical way (although he is super cute), but in a way where we really relate to one another and we get along so well. I mean we just talked for FIVE hours! I’m totally jaded from past relationships but I’m really into him and–can I even say this?–I could see a future with him. We’re just so alike, so aligned and in sync with our goals, morals, and values. I’ve never met anyone quite like him. Then, on February 19, 2014, I wrote It’s just butterflies in my stomach all the time with [Riley]–wow, I really like him!
After our first date, which was on February 22nd if you’re wondering, I wrote on February 24, 2014, I pray for Riley & I, whatever “we” are. I pray that you would lead us both, slowly, that you would speak to my heart and mind about “us;” him, too. I’m just attracted to his mind, his humor, the way he lives his life. I don’t know, Jesus, but you do.
Fast forward through the months that we dated to January 5, 2015, when I wrote, On December 27th, I got engaged to Riley!!!!! (Yes, there were five exclamation points!) What an amazing answered prayer that is–one I’ve prayed for SO many years, since I was just 11 or 12! Thank you, Jesus, for hearing my heart’s deepest desire and answering it in your perfect timing with the perfect man for me. I am just enamored with Riley. He is so gentle and kind, he loves you, Lord, he is so, so funny, we share the same hopes and dreams, he adopted my dreams as his own, he is smart, I trust him–I love him more than anyone.
Then, on the morning of our wedding, July 31, 2015, I wrote, Today is our wedding day! I am so thrilled! There is such a sense of anticipation, but I feel calm…You are such a great big God to orchestrate us meeting and falling in love!
There are so many more entries than these, ones that make me belly laugh, ones that break my heart. So many that I don’t remember writing–not only that, but entries that give an account of various periods of my life that I don’t remember, like, I don’t remember feeling that way. And this–this is why. This is why I write my prayers down. Some days, it’s a scribbled list, some days it’s flowing paragraphs, some days it’s pictures and speech bubbles and little doodles–and some days it’s really just hurt and pain poured onto paper, but I know God hears my heart’s prayers then, too.
Because when I need a reminder of my God’s everlasting love and faithfulness, I open up a journal and start reading. And the redemption overflows. The peace is abundant. The joy and grace are clear. My Jesus has walked with me through every season, regardless of what it’s been. I can acknowledge and remember this in such a personal way when I write down my prayers.
So get a journal, get a pen. Just get something. And start documenting your prayers. I promise your life will change for the better when you do.
// Do you write down your prayers? How has it changed you? If not, are you considering it?
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