One Key Way Prayer Journaling Uncovers Denial And Linkup

I never dreamed many years ago that prayer journaling would open up a whole new world of insight for me like I’d never experienced before in my prayer life. I must preface that by saying God opened up new insights as I combined my prayer journaling with my Bible studies and readings.

[Tweet “We should always use prayer in tandem with Scripture in order to truly hear the Lord. #Truth”]

Prayer Journal

One key way that prayer journaling continuously convicts me is through this powerful combination. So I’ll read Scripture and then begin to pray and process out in writing what I’ve just learned and want to apply from my reading.

Very often I compare my life and current struggles with the Bible character’s struggles as I prayer journal. And if there’s not a person to relate to, then there’s always a principle that’s being taught. So when that’s the case, I evaluate my current actions and attitudes in relation to that principle.

God uses this prayer processing to convict me in ways that almost always positively impacts my marriage. And this is the KEY way it improves and impacts my marriage—by revealing how I’ve hurt or sinned against my husband. #eyeopening #heartrevealing #heartsoftening

Like every other human being . . .

[Tweet “I can so easily overlook or ignore the ways I’ve offended my spouse. #prayerjournalinmarriage”]

Quite frankly, I don’t know how couples stay together—finding growth, health and healing in their marriages—without the refining power of God’s word and prayer being a part of the mix.

Today I’m offering several decorative prayer journaling pages that you can print out and use (whether you’re married or not). Design One, Two, Three, Four, Five. This is my Christmas gift and thank you to my lovely Messy Marriage readers! Remember, these journaling pages are intended to be used in tandem with your daily Bible studies or readings—that is, if you want to get the most from this sacred practice.*

Since I’m feeling the heat of the holidays (well, actually not “heat” as in temperature—since it’s only 17 degrees at the moment and has gotten down in the single digits as of late here in the Midwest! Brrr!), I’m going to keep this post short and sweet like my gingerbread men. 😉

I will be continuing this prayer journaling series after I return from a two-week blog and holiday break. Because of that, this will be the last “From Messes to Messages” Linkup until January 10th and 11th.

As one more way to celebrate our Savior’s birth, I’d like to give away the lovely Vera Bradley journal that’s pictured below to one randomly chosen person (resident of U.S.) who comments on this post by noon on Saturday, Dec. 24th. Sorry to any men who want a more masculine-looking prize!  Just consider giving it to your wife or girlfriend as a belated Christmas or New Years gift! And check back here to see who won, because I’ll be adding a note in this post after that winner is determined.

I’m excited to announce that Susan from the blog Hope, Heart Home is our winner of this great journal! Congrats to Susan and Merry Christmas to all of you!

journal

[Tweet “Christian Bloggers, ‘From Messes to Messages’ linkup is live! #MessyMarriage “]

christmas-card-edit

Merry Christmas from the Steffaniak Family!

(Bottom left pic – Graham (23), Jordan (26), Braden (20), top right pic – Sarah and Jordan, bottom right pic – Gary and yours truly)

 

What is something—good or bad—that the Lord has revealed to you through your prayers recently?

 

What is something you hope to do over the holidays with your family?

 

*If you don’t have a Bible study that you’re already involved in, consider participating in my six-week Worthy Study of the book of Philippians. This is offered through a private Facebook group where I’ll add you to a group that went through this study last year in January. This means you can have access to the devotional studies that I did a year ago by clicking on the “Files” tab in that group. Then you can download each PDF file at your own pace or all at once. Keep in mind that no one will be holding you accountable to comment or participate further. This is just my free gift to those of you who might be interested and want to start the year off with a Bible study and prayer journaling habit! You’ll need to FB friend me and then message me (by the deadline of Jan. 8, 2017), telling me that you want to be added to the Philippians study. And if you haven’t done so before, a wonderful Christmas gift to me would be to “like” my Messy Marriage FB page while you’re at it!


Here are some great linkups I join – Christian Blogger Community, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Testimony Tuesday, Coffee and Conversation, Coffee for Your Heart, Sitting Among Friends, Moments of Hope, Literary Musing Mondays, Fresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday

Let’s Get this ‘From Messes to Messages’ Linkup Started!
Add any links that are uplifting, helpful and encouraging to our spiritual lives, marriages and families! Be sure to add a link on your blog back to “From Messes to Messages” or Messy Marriage as well. For linkup guidelines/button, click here.

Messy Marriage

  • Hi Beth! Love your family Christmas card! Merry Christmas from my home to yours. Thanks for hosting!

    Tiffiney

    • Thank you, Tiffiney! Merry Christmas to you and yours as well! Thanks for joining the linkup!

  • What a great way to share Christmas wishes! Thanks for hosting. Merry Christmas! I look forward to another year of getting to know you in our 2 corners of the internet and maybe one day in person! Blessings!

    • Thank you, Donna! You’re welcome. It’s always great to have you in the linkup too! Yes, it is always great to support and see you around the web. It would be great to meet you face to face sometime. Maybe if you ever attend a Peacemakers conference, my husband and I may attend as well. Here’s to hoping it all happens one day! Merry Christmas to you and your husband!

  • pioneerpat1

    Thanks for hosting and I am looking forward to your return. Blessings to you and your family. Have a great Christmas and Happy New Year.

    • You’re welcome, Patrick! Merry Christmas to you and your family as well, my friend!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Great post, Beth, and I love the Christmas Card with your family photos.

    Since my prayer journaling is other-directed, I don’t get a lot of Divine feedback to that, except perhaps that which opens my heart to the issues in my wife’s life…and the things I’ve done wrong that have contributed to her difficulties.

    It’s a hard thing to see; in many ways I have been a dead loss as a husband, not the sort she needed or deserved at all. With that clarity comes not change – she’d faint if I suddenly became even a little bit romantic and touchy-feely – but a resolve to do the positive things I still can do as well as possible. Does that make sense?

    Our Christmas will center around the dogs’ care; when you have a couple of football teams’ worth of canines roaming the house, it’s their dictates that rule, and we would not have it any other way. We may watch a DVD of Gods And Generals; the dogs like that kind of film, and Barbara is a civil war scholar.

    Like the commenters before me tonight, I’m grateful for your hosting From Messes To Messages, and I am looking forward to seeing you again in the New Year.

    Meanwhile, we wish you and yours the very merriest of Christmases!

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/12/your-dying-spouse-248-beautiful-things.html

    • Thank you! It’s easier these days to get separate pictures of them all than to try and get the entire family together–though we will all be traveling to my husband’s parent’s home in Dandridge, just east of Knoxville for Christmas! It will be great to be together even if it’s only for a brief week.

      I’m sure that even if your prayer journaling is “other directed” there are divinely inspired moments. That’s what’s so great about our Lord–He is always in the details of life!

      I always appreciate your humility regarding your marriage, but you are also too hard on yourself, I think. I do think Barbara knows that you love her and, like you’ve said, she’d probably faint if you turned into a hopeless romantic. I’m sure your love for your rescued dogs also brings you closer than any sappy poem or bouquet of flowers ever would!

      I hope you both enjoy your movie. I’m not familiar with it, though most war movies are not my cup of tea–with a few exceptions here and there. I do hope you have lots of moments of joy and relaxation this Christmas holiday. And I look forward to getting back at things in the new year with all of my blogging friends in tow! 😉 Merry Christmas to you and Barbara!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    If I may be permitted a PS…I generally don’t identify with Biblical folk, but am working on a short book called ‘Unsung Heroes Of The Bible”.

    It came about because the most attractive character I saw in the OT was Uriah. Everyone loves David, but for my money, Uriah’s streets ahead in loyalty and honour. Some others who will get a mention are Hagar, Barnabas, and, for Catholics, Tobit’s Dog.

    • I just finished studying 2 Samuel and I truly do admire Uriah’s character and self-control–far above his king’s! It was as if David had become like King Saul and Uriah like David was in the devoted days of his youth. Very interesting story to be sure, so I’m guessing yours will be a real page-turner! Keep up the good work! I know it is your lifeline, for which we are all very grateful to have you still with us!

      • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

        Beth, that’s a fascinating parallel…and it had not occurred to me. But you’re right, Uriah is what David was…and what a sadder and wiser David would one day be again.

        “Unsung Heroes” is an interesting project. It’s made me rethink a lot of what I had learned, to see the larger and noble roles to which these ‘supporting players’ were tasked by the Almighty.

        And it is a lifeline; God’s way of keeping my heart, and thus my failing body, in the game.

  • Susan

    Beth, enjoy your hiatus from the Internet and all the bossiness of it posting and linkups! I enjoy your blog very much and our online friendship even more. Of course I’d love to be entered into the drawing for the pretty journal! ((xo)) We will be spending time with family here in NC and perhaps a weekend trip to Pigeon Forge to see Indiana friends!

    • It is rather “bossy” in that it can be time-consuming, though I don’t mind the interactions it produces one bit! It’s very encouraging to say the least! Thank you for your kind words and I agree with the sweetness that our online friendship has produced. <3 I hope you're a winner, Susan! I'd suggest a meet and greet in Pigeon Forge or Sevierville, since I'll be in nearby Dandridge this Christmas, but my time is very limited. I want to give it to my in-laws and sons/daughter-in-love if at all possible! Thanks for joining the linkup faithfully! I appreciate you and your friendship!

  • I don’t know how people get through this crazy life without Jesus. And if a prayer journal helps draw you nearer to Him in such a special way that it brings you into deep reflection in His Word and allows you to strive for holiness, then that’s so awesome. My relationship with the prayer journal didn’t go that deep, but it was still beneficial to me when I did it, it gave me written proof of God answering so many prayers in the lives around me. And that was a cool blessing! Speaking of blessings, praying you enjoy your two week hiatus and by the time you are done, you have relaxed enough that the shingles have completely left you. I will be praying for relief for you this Christmas season! xoxo Merry Christmas friend!

    • Yes, connecting with the Lord in whatever way or form is absolutely essential to keeping your marriage strong and healthy. I’m so glad you know what I mean by how God uses our prayers–written ones as well as whispered ones–to draw us deeper into His love, Nicki! I can tell that’s true for you by the things you share on your blog week after week.

      I hope you enjoy your Christmas gatherings and find moments to really soak up the Lord’s presence as well. I know my hiatus will be a much-needed breather! I do pray that my shingles would completely leave, though they are still hanging around–those pesky parasites! Keep up the prayers because I surely need them and praying for you as well in the limbo land of adoption!

  • What fun to see your family picture!

    • Thank you, Michele! Great to have you in the linkup!

  • I am looking forward to getting into this next year, as part of being more “mindful”.

    One thing: I have always beat myself up for my failings and I think my more recent progress has been partly because I have mostly stopped doing that. So I’ll be wary of falling back into that habit.

    Your Philippians study is very tempting! But it will have to wait until 2 Samuel is finished 🙂

    I hope you enjoy your Christmas break. I am going to enjoy being away from the computer and being with the family.

    David

    • I bet that you’re right on that one, David! You need to quit beating yourself down and focus on the good steps you’re taking. Otherwise discouragement will surely set in! Praying that you find that balance between seeing where you’ve missed the mark and moving forward with God’s strength to enable you. You know you’re always welcome to any of the studies I’ve done on FB, my friend. I still am working on editing, though other pursuits have distracted me from giving it my best effort. I hope you enjoy your Christmas break too! Pour into your family and I’ll pour into mine! We will both be better for it! Hugs to you!

  • LOVE the reminders to keep prayer in tandem with Scripture reading! And the journal pages are beautiful! Love your message today 🙂

    • Thanks, Nicole! I appreciate your kind words! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  • Mary

    Thank you for this lovely offering right before the holidays. What a beautiful reminder to keep God’s Word close to me as I pray and spend time with God. I have been contemplating prayer journaling since you have been writing about it and how it would look for me. That’s a good thing so thank you. I tend to start a journal and use it in multiple ways but instead I plan to devote one journal just to prayers.

    Family time is my greatest joy over the holidays. It is especially important this year as I miss my dad and mom. I am blessed by the gift of your friendship and pray you and your family have a peaceful Christmas.

    • You’re quite welcome, Mary! I’m excited to hear that it is stirring your curiosity and motivation to prayer journal. I think keeping a journal specifically for prayers is a wonderful idea! Please let me know how it goes for you in the days and months ahead.

      I bet you will have a very difficult Christmas in many ways–especially since your dad’s death is still so fresh. Praying that you feel the Lord comforting you in his loss and the your family spends time remembering how special both he and your mom were. Merry Christmas to you and yours, dear friend!

  • 17 degrees? Too cold for this wimpy southern girl. 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family, Beth! Thanks for your faithfulness in sharing the love of Jesus both on your blog and in your comments that you sprinkle throughout the internet. You’re a blessing.

    • Well, it’s the Midwest, so it’s bound to change! In fact, today it’s supposed to get up to the 40’s! And on Christmas Day we will be flirting with 60–though I’ll be in the Knoxville area for Christmas. So maybe it will be even warmer down there! A girl can only hope! ha! I hope you have a Merry Christmas as well, Lisa! I appreciate your kind words. They encourage me so! Hugs to you!

  • Thanks so much for this lovely post. I love my daily time in the Word and prayer. This gives me some more ideas for prayer journalling. I did not know that Vera Bradley has a journal! Would love to win that! I’m glad I found you via the link up.

    • You’re welcome, Amy! It’s nice to meet you! I love my time too. We have that in common! I do hope that it does give you more ideas for your journaling. The possibilities are endless, I believe! I’m glad you found me too and thanks for joining the linkup, my friend!

  • Have a very Merry Christmas, Beth. What a wonderful family portrait. Thanks as always for the great ways to learn and be closer to God through always turning to Him through all of life’s moments!

    • Thank you, Jaime! And you’re welcome, my friend! I think we both provide a spark of Jesus’ love and power that shines for the world to see! So it’s great to partner with you in our linkups! Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family!

  • Beth, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year with your family. I can’t believe it is upon us. I love this season and don’t want it to lease so soon. Many blessings to you, my friend! And your journal pages cover every season. Lovely!

  • rboerner

    First day of Christmas break and getting caught up on some Messy Marriage readings. 😉 I seem to go in stages with prayer journaling but have definitely seen the benefits. After reading your last few blogs, I am hoping I can begin again and make this a habit that I don’t give up on. Enjoy your time with family over Christmas! I am looking forward to some relaxation and no major commitments in my life over the next two weeks.

  • Andrea Hester

    I would really like to start Journaling my prayers and this cute prayer Journal would be handy 😉 Merry Christmas!

  • Lorie Purden Compton

    I gain so much insight from your MM blog. Thanks for what you do! I would love to begin journalist with this lovely journal.

  • God has revealed my need to memorize Scripture …and pray it! Love this post! Happy Wednesday!!!
    Megs