“I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” - Martin Luther
You’ve maybe seen this quote from Martin Luther and thought THREE HOURS IN PRAYER? ON A BUSY DAY?
It seems counterintuitive to pray more when we have more to do but I love this reminder that if I really am that busy, I should not try to do it on my own. Three hours was Luther’s plan for a busy morning but what’s yours? Hint: It doesn’t need to be three hours but it should be something.
Today, I wanted to share how you can prep your prayer journal for a busy month.
Last year, I remember it not just being a busy month practically but I remember feeling mentally overwhelmed by everything. Filling out my journal, both the time it would take and just honestly writing down everything I normally did didn’t feel life-giving like it normally does.
Here’s how I approached it instead:
1. RELEASE ANY EXPECTATIONS YOU HAVE TO FILL OUT EACH LINE.
If you have one line filled out for the month and cover that in prayer, guess what? You accomplished something!! Your prayer life is growing. Maybe not at the lightening speed you hoped but know that if you’re moving forward to more conversation with the Lord, you’re moving in the right direction. If you need to, color in those extra lines, put stickers or somehow cover it up so you aren’t tempted to try to fill out more out of obligation. I personally like the white space and it helps me feel the very break I need to feel.
2. FILL OUT A SECTION A DAY EACH DAY BEFORE THE MONTH STARTS.
Does even picturing one hour to set aside to fill out your journal fill like a lot in a busy month? Break it up! Instead of filling out the whole thing in one sitting, just do a little bit at a time the week before the new month starts.
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3. FILL OUT THE ADORATION, SCRIPTURE AND QUOTE PAGE FIRST.
If that’s all that ends up getting filled out, you’ll have solid truth from God’s Word to help align your heart as you take time to pray.
4. WRITE ONE THING IN EACH SECTION.
This month, instead of praying for small things, take a high-level view and write one thing you can pray over a whole section. That month I did this, I prayed for my family that they would experience God and see Him work in their specific situation.
5. WRITE OUT AN ACTUAL PRAYER FOR EACH SECTION.
Similar to keeping things really simple with one thing, you can write out an actual prayer. Sometimes if it’s a mental busy, it’s nice to have a few lines of prayer to get you moving.
6. RECOGNIZE OUR DEPENDENCE ON THE LORD.
It’s easy to let a busy month pull us away from the Lord but it’s also possible to see that busy month like Martin Luther did and KNOW that our time with God is vital. When we know we are dependent on the Lord, we find the time. If you’re sinking in quicksand, I guarantee we wouldn’t feel too busy to pray because our need would be obvious. I know for me, many busy seasons coincide with really successful seasons. Deuteronomy 8 is a passage I have read consistently during launches or exciting events to keep me grounded in the Lord.
“When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.”
7. TAKE IT WITH YOU.
This is the benefit of the prayer journal. It can go wherever you go and make carline time, soccer practice or waiting at the DMV an opportunity to pray. You can even snap a pic of each page and that way if you don’t happen to have it on you, you can still reference what you’ve said you wanted to pray for?
8. MISSED THE MONTH COMPLETELY? TEAR IT OUT AND JUMP BACK IN!
We’re big believers in creating a steady rhythm of consistently using your journal each month BUT if you do miss it completely, DO NOT let a blank month discourage you or think you aren’t making progress. Jon Acuff says it’s not always that first day where we miss a habit we’re trying to make consistent. It’s how we respond after. Do we let it defeat us or do we jump back in for the next month? You’ve heard me say it, I’ve been preaching how impactful these journals have been for me for 6 years and just last year, looking back at my first one noticed LOTS of empty spaces.
I’m pretty sure I started in June with a few things filled out, left July blank and then started getting consistent. Don’t let a setback get you discouraged!
The enemy is really hoping he can convince you you’ll never be a consistent pray-er. Don’t let him win the battle!
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