How Prayer Journaling Improved My Marriage And Linkup

One of the main blessings I’ve experienced with the many prayers I’ve written out over the years is how it always brings such comfort when I’ve felt hurt in my marriage.

Back in my very messy marriage years, I expected my hubby to be the main person who would comfort me—even and especially when he was the one who had hurt me. Oh sure, I’d also turn to the Lord too, but it was often after being disappointed in my husband’s inability to rise to the occasion.

Prayer Journaling
And the biggest lesson the Lord taught me as I began to turn, first and foremost, to Him for comfort was how my husband wasn’t meant nor built for that “heavy lifting.”

[Tweet “My hubby isn’t meant or built for the heavy lifting that the Lord does effortlessly.”]

God was the only One who could truly raise my spirits and give me a lasting sense of comfort. The Bridegroom was the only One who could lift me—His bride—securely above the rejections and painful thresholds of life.

In time, one of the main ways I began to realize this was through the power of prayer journaling. I’m not saying that simply speaking a prayer won’t bring the same sense of God’s comfort in trying times. But I do think that prayer journaling has some very distinct benefits over traditional prayer modes.

Benefits to prayer journaling are . . .

1. You stay engaged.
Admit it. You’ve surely at least lost your train of thought while praying or even nodded off on a day when the coffee isn’t doing its job!

Now tell me . . . When was the last time you nodded off while typing away a longwinded email? Or what about when you’ve handwritten a lengthy letter to a friend? #keepsyoualert

The same holds true for journaling your prayers. Your attention and clarity of focus will sharpen and prove very eye-opening, if you catch my drift! 😉

2. You see connection points and insights more clearly.
God uses this intentional approach to prayer to open my eyes to His truth, especially when I’m needing correction or insight.  Besides . . .

[Tweet “There’s just something so powerful about seeing your words unfurl before your eyes in prayer.”]

And when I’m seeking comfort alone from the Lord in my journaling, I find that writing out my emotions is a more tangible way to release and surrender them at His feet.

3. You’re keeping a record of your prayers.
That way you can look back at crucial junctures to see how God answered, as well as what your frame of mind was in similar situations in the past. #perspective

4 Steps to find God’s comfort through prayer journaling:

1. Use this method when your emotions are raw.
Whenever you feel disappointed, sad or angry consider that your cue to begin to prayer journal.

2. Pour out your heart to God.
Do not censure or minimize your emotions. God knows them, so no reason to hide them from Him. You never see that in King David’s Psalms. He was always so graphic and vulnerable about his feelings with the Lord and he was, as we know, “a man after God’s own heart.”

3. Seek and Receive God’s comfort.
Ask God directly to comfort you in your pain. That might seem like a no-brainer, but this step often escapes those I’ve talked with about prayer. Then position your heart to receive His comfort. This is where “being still and knowing that He is God” comes to life (Psalm 46:10). Let your faith in the Lord’s comfort and love surround you. Even envision your Father’s strong arms encircling you.

4. Write out how you believe God will help you.
King David’s Psalms serve again as another great example since they almost always included David’s words of trust in the Lord’s help. This practice not only pleases the Lord, but will also encourage you as you confirm in writing your faith in the Lord.

Next week I’ll be sharing how prayer journaling improved my marriage by convicting me in one key way.

[Tweet “Christian bloggers, join us for another From Messes to Messages Linkup! #MessyMarriage”]

What doubts or questions do you have about how prayer journaling could improve your marriage?

 

What are some of the benefits you’ve experienced—married or not—because of prayer journaling?

 


I linkup at these great blogs – Christian Blogger Community, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Testimony Tuesday, Coffee and Conversation, Coffee for Your Heart, Sitting Among Friends, Nanahood, Moments of Hope, Fresh Market Friday, DanceWithJesusFriday and LifeGivingLinkup

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

  • Mary

    I have done some prayer journaling and it does help. It seems to be when I am most at odds with myself and others that I turn to journaling. I also need to be spend time writing out my praises. By keeping track of our prayers we certainly can see how God is working in our lives. Great advice Beth. I appreciate all you do to lead us toward healthier relationships.

    • I’m glad you are doing this already, Mary. It’s become such an important fixture in my spiritual life. I prayer journal my prayers daily, though some days take a decidedly more heartbroken direction. Thankfully, my marriage isn’t nearly as messy as it was, so very often my “heartbreak” is often due to other people or factors. But it’s always such a restful and healing experience. I don’t know what I would do without it! Thanks for joining the conversation, my friend! You are appreciated!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    This is an excellent idea! I wish more churches would encourage it.

    One thing that helped me before the ability to write comfortable left was to write prayers out in longhand. It made for a better connexion between my heart and what I was trying to say, and sometimes the very pressure of pencil on paper was a clue to my own feelings.

    Another suggestion – write a daily prayer for one’s spouse, relating to the issues in his or her life. I do this for Barbara, and email these prayers to her when she is arriving at work.

    Speaking of whom…could you pray for her? She’s got the stomach flu.

    And I have been praying for you and yours, Beth.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/12/your-dying-spouse-242-when-people-say.html

    • Susan

      Andrew, I will pray for Barb. Two sickies in the same house. UGH…God bless you both my friend. xo

      • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

        Thanks so much, Susan!

    • Yes, there’s not a lot that’s detailed about it in my own church. It’s just something that God has brought out of my daily quiet times and I’m so glad He did! I often say to Gary that my quiet times are the best parts of my day, and it’s often because I experience God’s comfort in my brokenness. Thankfully it’s often brokenness that has nothing to do with Gary these days. But there are times when he can still send me running for my prayer journal! ha!

      And yes, that’s an incredible facet to pull from this “prayer” direction I’m taking. I have a marriage prayer group that has been going for years now and we pray diligently for our husbands and our marriages daily. In fact, most of the time we’re challenging one another to pray for our ability to be better wives and moms. That’s where the power of prayer has really changed my marriage in a lot of ways.

      I definitely will pray for Barbara! I’m so sorry to hear she’s sick. It seems like it was just a short time ago she had the flu, I believe?? Anyway, I’m sure she’s running herself ragged, so I will pray that she paces herself too. But as you know, my prayers are being lifted daily for you as well. I hope you have pleasant moments throughout each day, even if most of it is tinged by pain and sickness.

  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Beth,
    Oh how timely this is!! My husband and I had a huge argument last night, I tossed and turned all night, and am still hurt and angry this morning. I think I will be beginning my marriage prayer journal this morning. Thank you….perfect timing!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • I bet prayer journaling might’ve given you the opportunity to put those ruminations to “bed”–both literally and figuratively, Bev! 😉 I’ll be sharing some prayer journaling guides in an upcoming post–probably in a couple of weeks as a Christmas present for my readers. I hope you’ll take advantage of it and thanks for being so encouraging as well as vulnerable about your recent conflict. Sounds like you’ve got half of the battle down–being willing to be honest about your weaknesses, since we all have them whether we admit them or not!

  • Susan

    Journaling is personally helpful. Now that I’m older and oh so much wiser (wink wink) I realize my satisfaction must come from Christ Alone. He is the Satisfier. The Sustainer. My All-in-all. My hubs is my friend and helper… it takes the pressure off. xoxo

    • I’m so glad you’ve taken that pressure off your hubs, Susan. And though I want to make a distinction, it may not be that you are saying this at all–I’m speaking of prayer journaling and not just journaling. I used to journal a lot, but prayer journaling is different–at least for me. I’ll have to make mention of that distinction in my next post, since many have referred to “journaling” as helpful. It may seem like I’m splitting hairs, but it’s something I want people to fully understand. Thanks for joining the conversation, my friend!

  • I LOVE prayer journaling. It’s amazing how you see God at work in your life so much more clearly when you write thoughts down. Plus, I am addicted to journals…so there is that too! 🙂

    • Yes, Nicki! It is amazing. I do want to emphasize that it is the “prayer” part of journaling that is most helpful. I don’t think I made that clear enough, though it seems that you get that! I love journals too and want to provide some beautiful print outs in a later post. But even with a beautiful journal in hand, it’s not worth a whole lot if prayer isn’t my focus as I pour out my emotions. Just sayin’! 😉 Thank you for your kindness to me, my friend!

  • pioneerpat1

    That is actually a good idea that I will have to try. Thanks for the idea and thanks for hosting.

    • I hope you do, Patrick! It’s been life- and marriage-transforming for me. I can’t underscore that enough. I bet you will feel the same way. Thanks for encouraging me, my friend!

  • I am very reliant on my prayer journal for so many things, especially in my marriage. Sometimes it’s better to hand over my emotions to God than it is to hand them over to my husband. It is such a great reminder to keep God in the right place in my life and not place that expectation onto my husband. Great post, thank you for writing it!

    • I love that statement, Heather – “Sometimes it’s better to hand over my emotions to God than it is to hand them over to my husband.” What a great way to put it! And yes, it truly is better to hand my emotions over to God than to my husband. Many-a-fight has occurred in the Steffaniak houshold because I was trying to hand too heavy of a burden to my husband. Thanks for joining the linkup and for encouraging me, my new friend!

  • Journaling helps me think even if I don’t write much.

    • Yes, journaling does the same for me, Debbie. But I want to make a distinction that perhaps I didn’t underscore enough in this post–I’m talking about prayer journaling and not just journaling (though I bet that’s what you’re referring to–prayer journaling). But it reminds me, since many have used the term “journaling” that I probably should do a post on the differences between these two. They seem the same, but in my book (pardon the pun), they are worlds apart! Thanks for joining the linkup and encouraging me, dear friend!

      • I see what you mean. My journals are usually conversations with the Lord. Not to be read by others. 🙂

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