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3 Ways to Pray More Intentionally + A Tiny Journal Giveaway!

Intentional is my “one-word” for the year.

Some think the one-word movement is hokey. I know because that was me not so long ago. And yet, in a world that tugs on us with the same fervor as a hungry toddler, embracing a word that points us to the Word offers an intentional act that can help us stay focused.

 

Many areas in life deserve more intentionality on my part, but none more than prayer.

 

Below are three ways I’m learning to re-engage the power and beauty of prayer in my own life. I’d love to know how you’re doing the same in the comment section below. We are in this together, after all. *smile*

 

1. Re-visit the Why

 

Why pray? If we were raised in the church, our whys more than likely roll off the tongue with ease. But what about today? What about prayer stirs us to set aside time on a busy morning? What do we believe about prayer that causes us to risk embarrassment by thanking God for our food in public places?

For me, this “why” surfaced first: Because I can⏤because we can. Thanks be to Christ’s sacrifice, we can converse with the One True God⏤the One who formed us, the One who redeemed us, sanctifies us, loves us beyond comprehension, quiets us, heals us, and empowers us to live more like Jesus.

It is impossible to grasp the reality of this magnificent privilege and remain the same. 

What is your “why” and how does it change your intentions for 2020?

 

2. Scribble Your Prayers

 

Scribble, you say? Okay, maybe that’s not exactly what I mean, but one of the best pieces of writing advice I ever received was to scribble my rogue ideas and rough drafts in a plain spiral-bound notebook. Not fancy ones, like those Brian used to bring home from France. {I’m not sure what it says about me that I asked for paper instead of perfume, but let me just say, this was no ordinary paper. The crisp white sheets were smooth as glass, yet thick enough to resist any bleed-through.}

But this same sheet of paper sat blank because I didn’t want to waste a “good” sheet for what could be the worst paragraph ever.

And therein lies the beauty of a solid-colored spiral-bound notebook. The sheets are thin and anything but crisp⏤but they are brimming with words. There’s no concern about messing up or writing the wrong thing on a cheap piece of paper.

Sometimes when journaling our prayers, it’s easy to feel stuck, unsure of what we want to write. Or we skip a day, a week, or longer because we don’t know where to begin. So the page remains blank.

But when the imperfect spiral-bound pages make themselves available for imperfect words and sentences, there’s a freedom at work that I can’t explain.

“Scribbling” tips:

  • Write like no one else will read it but God. It’s a safe place to pour out your hurt, your dreams, your doubts–whatever is on your heart. King David paved the way in Psalms, showing us how to trust God with our honesty while never failing to recognize His majesty.
  • Try different methods. There’s no one way that’s right for everyone. Over the years, I’ve used an organized prayer notebook with tabs for praise, confession, intercession, and salvation. I also have stacks of plain notebooks, some started but never finished, and others filled with my failures and God’s faithfulness.
  • Keep a tiny journal with you at all times. Be intentional, watching for God’s goodness as you move through your day. Eventually, you will create your own pocketful of praises. {Don’t miss the tiny journal opportunity below!}

 

3. Incorporate “Touchpoints” of Prayer

 

To be clear, there’s nothing sacred about touching anything. But using everyday touches to prompt a prayer is a simple and intentional way to stay connected with God throughout our day. Such as:

  • Washing the dishes. Let the water running over your hands serve as a reminder to pray for those who are spiritually thirsty, without Christ. We pray for their salvation so that their innermost being will flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38)
  • Steering wheel. As you take hold of the wheel, let your grip serve as a reminder of God’s closeness to you, praising God for surrounding you with His presence. “Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 125:1,2)
  • Feet to the floor. This “touchpoint” is mentioned in 4 “Touchpoints” to Connect with God Throughout the Day, the latest gift for current/new subscribers. The moment our feet touch either the coldness of hardwood flooring or the warmth of cozy slippers in the morning, let that touch prompt us to offer God our first thought of the day. It can be as simple as, Thank you for a new day, Thank you for fresh mercy (Lamentations 3:22, 23), or Have Your Way Today, Lord.

 

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.” Jeremiah 29:12

 

How would you like to become more intentional in 2020? Share in the comment section below to help cement your own intentions, encourage others, and have your name placed in a random giveaway for a pair of mini journals.

 

We’d love for you to join us on the Tiny House on the Hill!  Pull up a chair and make yourself right at home among women who love and serve God with their whole heart. (Or simply enter your email address in the pop-up below or right-hand sidebar!) >>>>

As a thank you for subscribing to this blog, you’ll receive 4 Prayer “Touchpoints”: To Help Connect with God Throughout the Day, a free download to print and clip. Of course, we hope you’ll stay, but you may unsubscribe at any time.

 

How I Set Up My Prayer Journal for 2019 + A LePen Giveaway

Prayer Journaling

I want to be that woman⏤the one who swirls her colored pencils, creating a design befitting a beautiful prayer journal.

 

But I’m not.

 

Instead, I buy pencils and markers in an array of colors, along with hand-lettering books, to feel like the woman who does such things. Truth is, I buy a fetching three-ring binder from Target, a pack of College-ruled notebook paper, and new for 2019⏤a pack of LePens. (Hey, if I can’t create a design, I can at least write in fabulous colors.)

Years ago, I searched for crisply lined journals with lovely covers to write poetry, but creativity clutched my brain like a toddler to a mother’s leg, refusing to let loose. Don’t write a word on that gilded line until you have the perfect word. Needless to say, few poems made their way to the pages. But somewhere along the way, I started using plain ol’ notebooks to record my poetic thoughts. It’s a mental game, of course, teasing the brain that it’s okay to write away because it’s a throwaway notebook.

 

For me, it’s the same with prayer journals.

 

God isn’t expecting or seeking perfection in the words poured out onto the page. He’s not moved by the handwriting, but rather, the heart that is writing. When I use a three-ring binder stocked with loose-leaf paper and four tabs, I feel free to write, cross out words, jot down scripture references, and scribble sideways when necessary.

In the past, I’ve journaled prayers using My Prayer Partner Notebook by Becky Tirabassi, fancified journals with life-giving words on the cover, and five-subject notebooks. But one small important distinction between using journals/notebooks and three-ring binders/loose-leaf paper is the ability to add loose paper to specific sections, as needed.

 

Sections, you say. Why, yes.

 

On one sheet of loose-leaf paper, at the front of the binder, I create a cover page that lists specific needs I can pray over each day of the week.

  • Sunday – our church, pastors
  • Monday – our children, grandchildren, and family
  • Tuesday – Hope*Writer and Facebook requests
  • Wednesday – our small group
  • Thursday – missions
  • Friday – the lost
  • Saturday – fellow writers and their work

After the cover page, I have tabs that vary in subject at times, but these are the standard four:

 

First Section :: Adoration

“Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name…” Psalm 29:2

I see this different from a time of praise. It’s a specific space to declare my awe and wonder of God — who He is, not what He does for me in specific situations. I read through a Psalm, choose one specific characteristic and write out the verse. Sometimes that’s the only thing written. When I allow myself to meditate on this truth of who God is, it becomes more about being (still) and less about doing.

 

Second Section :: Thanksgiving

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:34

Because focusing on God’s characteristics can’t help but lead to a grateful heart, it’s here I write the ways I’m thankful for God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. It’s also the place I record the specific why behind the gratitude, helping to take it the gratefulness to a deeper, more personal level.

 

Third Section :: Search and Find

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23, 24 NIV

It’s here I pause and ask God to search my heart, confident there are sins and struggles I simply don’t see. I usually write them down, but sometimes I don’t, refusing to be legalistic about my time with God. The main point is to have a searchable heart that results in confession, cleansing, and sweet restoration.

 

Fourth Section :: Intercession

“Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open.” Ephesians 6:18 The Message

I like to divide this section into two: one for friends struggling with long-term issues like sickness, ongoing marriage or children issues. The other, for short-term requests. Pocket Prayers are also used for both when I’m in a pinch for time. Not sure what those are? I share more in the post How to Pocket Your Prayers.

 

Quick Tips:

  • Date your entries. You’ll appreciate pinpointing the date of original prayers and praises in the future.
  • I address entries to my heavenly Father. People have shared how this one point often trips them up in prayer journaling — not knowing how to direct their prayers on paper. Again, it’s not about the paper, but the heart.
  • Leave ample space beside requests for praise and answers to prayer. Pray expectantly!
  • Recording God’s answers to prayer will not only heighten appreciation, but it will also serve as a journal of God’s faithfulness for future generations.
  • There may be times when you need to write something so personal that the thought of anyone reading it tempts you not to record it. Go ahead, write it⏤get it out⏤on a separate sheet of loose paper in your binder, pray through it, and then throw it away.

 

Oh my, how I’d love to say I journal every day, but I don’t. On those days I miss, I rest in knowing that my prayers⏤my connection with God⏤isn’t limited to ink that flows onto man-made pages. Our prayers go wherever we go.

Journaling is simply a tool to slow us down and focus, helping us to become more intentional about prayer in a world that wants us to be anything but.

So, how about you? Do you journal your prayers? If so, what type of book do you use? If not, is this something you will consider doing in 2019?

 

A Prayer Filled 2019

I’m loving my new LePens so much (thank you Amazon Lightning Deal) that I’d like to give away a three-pack in celebration of journaling our prayers in 2019. Simply answer the question above (or just pop in and say hello) to be entered in the giveaway. The winner will be randomly selected via miniwebtool.com on Saturday, January 5th.

Thank you for joining me on this *tiny* journey in 2018. Lord willing, this new year will see a completed Tiny House on the Hill, a small space that I pray will magnify our great God for years to come.

Blessings to you and yours in 2019!

Tiny House on the Hill

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