A Glimpse into My Prayer Journal: Personal Prayers

This is Day 5 of this 7-Day Series. You can find the first 4 days here:
Establishing the Habit
Daily Prayers
Praise & Adoration; Rest

Today is all about Personal Prayers – the things I pray for myself.

Because it’s too personal and intimate, I will not be sharing a picture of these pages in my journal. However, I’ll tell you about the things I have listed.

I’ve listed all the hats I wear – I pray for myself as a wife, as a mother, as a small group leader, as a homeschool teacher, etc.

I pray for our homeschool. I pray for my relationships with my children who have a different personality type than me. I humble myself at this time in my prayers so that I can be moldable by God – that He can make me into a better mom. I want to understand how He created my children and the ways they tick, the ways they grow, and learn and how I can respond to them better. I want to understand my husband and serve him better.

I pray for my friendships and relationships with others.

I pray for my goals in my personal life, my spiritual life, and all aspects.

I pray that I can be intentional and prioritize my time wisely, that I can be okay with the things that don’t get done or checked off my list because they may not have been in God’s plan for that day.

I pray that God helps me to see Him in the ordinary, in the every day things – that I’m aware and can thank Him for those little blessings throughout my day.

I pray for struggles I have currently and things that God is working on in my life.

I thank God for prayers He’s already answered in my life – like my addiction to sweets & cravings, my self-image, my sins I’ve been set free from. I keep these in the forefront of my mind so that I don’t forget where I came from and what He’s done.

I have this written in my journal on the Personal Prayers page. I think it comes from the L.I.F.E. Bible study book, and it’s a good reminder for me of the areas I can pray and surrender in my life.

I surrender all…
my plans
my goals
my pleasures
my ambitions
my hurts
my furutre
my past
my selfishness
my ego
my sin
my pride
my physical appearance
my lust
my anger
my fear
my health
my unforgiveness

Usually when I “journal” prayers, more than just bullet point lists, it’s in this section. Especially when I’m dealing with hard things or don’t know what to do, I journal my feelings and thoughts and prayers to God, and it’s nice to be able to come back and see these and how he’s answered them for me.

Today, we are going to hear from Mrs. Dianne Goulet. Mrs. Dianne is also a volunteer for the Prayer Team at Northwood church. I have been blown away by the faith of this woman as she battles some pretty major things in her life. She has an awesome story of redemption and healing, and she’s a huge inspiration for me as a Christian, homeschooling mom. I know you will be blessed by this today.

Prayer is not so much a specific time of day for me, as it is a way of life.  Just as relationship between two people is ongoing and dynamic, involving frequent communication that encompasses many emotions, so is my relationship with the Father.  As I’ve grown closer to Him since the day I first surrendered everything in exchange for His all, the natural result has been that I want to talk to Him more and more.  I started out praying about problems, asking for help and healing; today, I find myself devoting more of my prayer time to worship and to listening. The focus has shifted from what I want Him to do for me, to loving and listening to Him.
The practical expression of my prayer life has varied in different seasons.  When I was a full-time student with a preschooler at home, I got up in the wee hours of the morning, before it was light, to read the Word and talk to God.  Whether I was at the kitchen table, on the couch, or out on the deck with a flashlight, waiting for the sun to rise, I always came with a hunger to hear from God and an expectancy that I would, either through His Word or as the Spirit spoke to my heart.  When I was working full time, my long commute provided uninterrupted time to pour out my heart to Him about the trials in our marriage and family, asking Him for supernatural empowerment to love through the pain and to minister, both at home and at work.  When my son was hospitalized for mental health issues, I paced the floor of my home shouting, “Satan, you cannot have my son!”, declaring the Word of God over his life and agreeing with it in a loud voice punctuated with sobs.  When it appeared that my husband had lost all interest in our marriage and I couldn’t sleep because of the agony in my heart, I laid face down on the floor of my walk-in closet, sobbing and praying in tongues until there was peace.  When doctors told me I should not be alive, I said, “Lord, what do YOU say about it?”  As I lay in bed for months, I proclaimed the Scripture He had given me declaring life and purpose, praising and thanking Him that He would bring it to pass.   At times of feeling overwhelmed, prayer has simply been sitting on a chair in the sun and saying, “Lord, I need You…” waiting there until He spoke to my heart.  In corporate and personal worship, I sing the songs as a prayer to Him.  During seasons He has called me to intercede for specific people or situations, I’ve set aside dedicated time for prayer and fasting.  I often journal those prayers word for word, until I receive a release from that intercessory mandate.  If He’s given me Scriptures to pray for someone, I’ll write those down, too.
In this particular season of life, I’m a homeschooling mom.  I start my day with prayer before my feet even hit the floor.  My husband and I pray for each other before he leaves for work.  My daughter and I start our day with time in the Word, sharing how God is speaking to us and talking about how to apply what He’s saying.  We pray before we start school, and especially before those subjects or assignments we know are likely to be more difficult for her.  As I move through the day, prayer is like breathing–a rhythm I no longer have to plan; it’s just interwoven with thought and action.  It is an ongoing conversation with my Beloved. I ask the Holy Spirit to direct my day.  I ask God how to be a good steward with our resources.  I thank Him for self-control when I walk down the cookie aisle at the grocery store.  I ask Him for wisdom to advise our young adult children.  When I see all the wildflowers in the roadside ditches, I praise Him that He has richly given me all good things to enjoy.  As different people or situations come to mind, I pray for them on the spot rather than wait.  If they are comfortable with it, I pray with them, too.  At bedtime, my daughter and I pray together for the people and situations God lays on her heart.  There are times, especially when I’m seeking direction, that I do head to my bedroom and kneel before Him, shutting out distractions for as long as it takes.  I still talk to Him while I’m driving, especially about my human relationships and about the condition of my own heart.  At times, He wakes me in the early hours of the morning to speak to me when all is quiet. I don’t worry so much about what prayer is supposed to look like…my focus is worshipping, loving and obeying Jesus, and the prayer flows out of that relationship.
Over the years, I’ve learned how vital and valuable it is to pray in agreement with Scripture.  1 John 5:14-15 NIV says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.”  When I pray the Word of God, I am praying the will of God, and I can be confident of the answer.  Isaiah 55:11 tells us that God’s Word always accomplishes what He sends it out to do–it always produces fruit.  Hebrews 4:12 reveals that His Word is alive and powerful, able to penetrate to the heart of the matter.   Praying the Word is powerful, focused prayer that produces lasting fruit in accordance with God’s will.  As I speak His Word over situations and people, it increases my faith as well, because faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
The Lord does want us to bring our needs to Him and to thank Him for what He’s done (Philippians 4:6-7).  We can come boldly before His throne to find grace and mercy to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).  Jesus taught us to pray with persistence (Luke 11:5-10). Our prayers are incense before His throne, a pleasing aroma (Revelation 5:8, 8:4).  And yet…if my only communication with my husband was to walk up to him, talk at him, and walk away without hearing his response, what kind of marriage would we have?  I have learned that the sweetest intimacy with God in prayer comes from pouring out my heart to Him, and then being still before Him while He answers with the words my heart so needs to hear.
The third thing I have learned is that if I am awakened suddenly at the same time every night (for me, usually between 1 and 3 am), and there’s no apparent reason, it’s usually because the Lord wants to tell me something.  Some of the sweetest, most healing, most powerful moments of my spiritual life have come when, like Samuel, I finally realized it was the Lord waking me and replied, “Speak, Lord; your servant is listening.”…and was still before Him as He sang over me, taught my heart, corrected me, and spoke purpose into me.  I was never tired the day following those times alone with the Lover of my soul.
God is faithful to His Word, and He does answer prayer.  I have seen Him heal me of multiple sclerosis and celiac disease.  He has twice immediately opened my daughter’s airways during a life-threatening asthma attack.  I have seen Him spontaneously heal a third-degree burn, and literally set an SUV that was in the process of rolling onto another car back down on its wheels, all in response to prayer.  During the past six years He has delivered my husband from addictions to alcohol and pornography.  We have seen children turn back to following Him in answer to prayer.  Several years ago, I was hiking on a trail with my daughters and we saw a van parked at the trail head, with its windows blacked out and back doors wide open, and two men peering out of the bushes on either side of the trail up ahead, waiting for us.  Their intention was clear.  I pulled the girls closer and slowed our pace.  I had no cell phone to call the sheriff, and heading back up the trail would only put us further away from help and attention. I prayed and asked the Lord to send His warrior angels to protect us, as He promised (Psalm 91:9-11, Hebrews 1:14).  The terror subsided and I felt His peace.  The next time one man peered out of the bushes, he looked startled and ran across the trail, exposing himself to us, to reach his friend.  He pointed back our way and said, “Where did those six big guys come from???”  The second man looked, and said, “I don’t know, but they’re scary!”.  They both ran to the van and, without even shutting the back doors, drove away as fast as they could.  I saw nothing, but I have no doubt they saw the angels of God.
If you are desiring to grow your prayer life, I encourage you not to worry so much about how it’s “supposed” to look, but just cry out to your Father, Who loves you and wants to fellowship with you intimately.  He will meet you where you are.  He is not concerned with outward appearance, but with the heart (1 Samuel 16:7)–and if you seek Him with your whole heart, you will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).  As you read the Word, begin to pray it for yourself and for others.  Make time to be still in His presence, and listen to His heartbeat as you lay your head against His chest.

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