Start the Spiritual Habit of Journaling
By Rick Warren
— April 1, 2011
"In the Psalms, David writes what he honestly feels. We should be honest, too, when we talk to God about our problems."
“The Lord gave me this answer, ‘Write down clearly…what I reveal to you…’” Habakkuk 2:2 (TEV)
Let's review. If I want to hear God speak to me, the first thing I do is I want it. I say, ‘God, I want you to speak to me. Hearing from you is not just nice, it is a necessity!’
And then I withdraw and get alone and get quiet: “Be still and know that I am God.”
And then I wait quietly, patiently, and expectantly on God. I ask a specific question, I look into his Word and then when I see God’s answer, I write it down. Habakkuk said, “The Lord gave me this answer, ‘Write down clearly…what I reveal to you…’” (Habakkuk 2:2 TEV)
Writing down what God reveals to us is the spiritual habit of journaling. This is not the same as keeping a diary. A diary is, ‘Dear diary, this is what I did today.’ A journal is, ‘This is what I learned today.’ So it's not about what you did, it's about what you are learning, what you are praying, and what God is saying to you.
David took the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and he meditated on them day and night. He wrote his prayers down and that is how we got the Psalms. And, as you read the Psalms, you’ll see that David includes just about every emotion known to the human race: envy, jealousy, lust, greed.
Why? Because he's honest. He's not writing what he thinks he should write; he's writing what he honestly feels. We should be honest, too, when we talk to God about our problems.
Here are some suggestions for journaling --
- Requests and Answers -- On each page, make two columns. In one column write down what you say to God: ‘God, I need this. I'm worried about that,’ and so forth. In the second column, write down the answers that God gives you.
- ‘What I learned today’ -- Another way to do it is to take a page and write, ‘Here is what I learned yesterday about life or about God.’ This will help you focus your thoughts and help you remember what God said.
The Bible says, “Write these things down for the future so that people who are not yet born will praise the Lord.” (Psalm 102:18 NCV)