with the LORD
What would you do?
Thanksgiving and Praise, Confession and Listening
A respected friend and pastor has spent the past 15 years prayer journaling through the steps detailed here.
Thanksgiving and Praise
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3: 5-6
We find that worship music can help usher us into His presence. With a deliberate focus of the previous day, journal all praise and thanksgiving that comes to your mind. You may find yourself thanking our Lord for beautifully simple things; hot showers, a song bird, the kindness of a neighbor, an opportunity to serve Him by lending a hand to another. With a specific focus on the previous day, you will find that you begin to see God moving in details of your life that you hadn't previously noticed. You'll find a deeper joy in His daily presence in your life and His complete sovereignty.
Search me, O 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. Psalms 139: 23-24.
As you spend time with our Lord in daily confession--again with a focus on the previous day--you may be surprised as He leads you to brief moments of sin related to your heart or thought life. You may find that you had some jealous thoughts, critical thoughts, judgmental thoughts of another. While your outward behavior may have been appropriate, your heart and mind is of great concern to our Lord. It is there that sin can be hidden and unchecked. It is there that it can grow into something that will bring harm to another. This area of our spiritual life needs regular maintenance and care in the presence of the perfect, Holy God. His grace for us is bottomless, His mercy unending. A sincere confession and plea for His help and strength can turn a ship headed in the wrong direction. You may find the Lord leading you to times of unbelief, doubt or inaction in the practice of your faith. These are beautiful moments where you can find our loving Lord guiding you, encouraging you and strengthening you to move boldly forward with His plan for life. These are times when He will show you the truth of who you are in Him, because of His grace, mercy and love.
Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3.
You will be blessed when you find that the quiet listening time spent each day will bring you floods of love, encouragement and care from our Father in Heaven. Sit quietly and let the Lord speak to you in whispers or lead you to places in the Bible where He wants to speak into your life. So many of us doubt that we hear from God. The best way we know to develop your listening "muscle" and to become familiar with the impression of His voice is to make a deliberate effort to hear Him daily.
Some people are led to a very structured format of this prayer and to write down everything that comes to mind.
Others are more comfortable with a looser structure without writing.
And still others move back and forth between the two, as they are led.
The only "rules" are to do it daily and to touch on all three areas: thanksgiving/praise, confession, and listening.
A minimum of an hour a day seems ideal. But go easy on yourself. Five minutes is better than not spending any time at all. Just make sure you don't go so easy on yourself you allow distractions to become excuses to skip "just today."
Do this every day and your relationship with God WILL change.
And you'll experience the fruits of that change in your life.