by Brittney Chan
Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
I think I’m a pretty sentimental person. According to Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages self-assessment, my two most fluent love languages are quality time and words of affirmation. I guess you can say I put a lot of value in time and a word well-spent. Andrea, one of my close friends, surprised me with a scrapbook at the end of our junior year at OBI. I cherish it so much because it’s filled with memories and her thoughtful words. It’s evident that she spent so much time making each page and that she did it all with me in mind! I love to flip through it every now and again and take a trip down memory lane. It is easily one of the most meaningful gifts I’ve ever received and it makes me value the genuine friendship we have in one another. We’ve had the best of times together, laughing until our stomachs hurt, and we’ve also seen each other at low times, too. Andrea’s a wife now and has a beautiful daughter. A group of us college girls all stay in touch as much as we can and we know that the other ones are there if we ever need anything. Our friendships have stood the test of time and trial and I’m confident in them. Those kind of friendships are somewhat rare nowadays and if you have anything similar, hold onto it! My relationships with Andrea and the girls are perfect examples to me of what God desires to have with each of us. He longs to be the One we run to with our most exciting news and our most disappointing heartbreaks. We can find joy in being in His presence and a peace that nothing else can compare to! I have developed the habit of journaling some of my prayers...a spiritual scrapbook, if you will. I started young, but I’ve done it more frequently as I’ve gotten older. I haven’t been very organized with it; my prayers are scattered on slips of paper here and there and throughout different notebooks, but each one holds great value to me. If I sit and flip through the pages, I can see myself becoming. I can hear God working through me and burdening my heart with His purposes. As I read on, I remember the good times: the great altar services, the moments of personal devotion, the prayers of worship and thankfulness...but I also remember the low times: the letdowns, the times of spiritual drought, the lonely times. I also try to make it a point to write during periods of fasting or revival as an effort to record the ways God is working.
Reading over prayers and revisiting those special times in my life do three things in particular: it purifies my mind, it perfects my trust in God and it prompts me to fully engage in my relationship with God.
It purifies my mind: I’m not perfect in any way, and re-reading prayers written in times of spiritual highs helps to refocus me. It sets my sights back on what’s important in life and back on what I really want to live for. When my outlook on life matches God’s, I am happier and treat others better.
It perfects my trust in God: I recently read over a prayer from October 2018. In it, I asked God for two specific things and He has answered both of them in the first two months of 2019! Logging my prayers ensures that I’m aware of just how faithful our God is! The devil can’t make me doubt it when the proof is on the page!
It prompts me to fully engage in my relationship with God: Having my soul’s songs tangible and written down on paper serves as proof to me of the things I promised in prayer and the worship I declared. Is it just me or does the enemy like to take our attention away from God the moment we say “Amen?” Keeping a prayer journal is my way of fighting that in my own life and it has been very beneficial to me.
This week, I am blessed to be able to accompany a group of Heritage students on a missions trip to Panama. We’ve prepared and plan to have a great time ministering alongside the Roberts to the Ngobe Indian children in Boquete. By the time you read this, our trip will nearly be over; but I’ve already written down a few prayers about what I expect God to do this week. I want Him to use us for His glory. I want Him to give these students new visions of His kingdom and fall in love with His people in Panama. I want Him to speak to me in a personal way. I don’t want this trip to just be another stamp on my passport, but I want my life to change because of it. I’m entering the week with an expectation of something from the Lord...and journaling my thoughts and prayers is my ideal way of holding onto these memories. I have no doubt that God will meet my expectations and my written prayers will be proof of that.
I want to challenge you: for the next week, write down your thoughts after church services or personal devotions. At the end of the week, revisit those prayers. Can you see God working in different areas of your life? Can you hear the praise you gave out of a heart of thankfulness? If you’re able to, I’m confident that you will find it uplifting and very rewarding.
Heavenly Father, Thank you for the way You desire to spend time with me, for the way that You have shaped me and for Your patience and mercy with me. I pray that each reader would find joy in their relationships with You. Show us ways to strengthen our love for you. You promised that as we draw closer to You, You’d come in closer to us. Let our hearts be comforted in Your nearness.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.