Over the last few days I have been busy sorting out all my lists of prayers and decided to create a few new journals in order to tidy things up. I have decided that the most practical journals that I can keep are
Salvation Journal – To pray for everyone I would like to see saved
Healing Journal – To pray for everyone I would like to see healed
General Prayers for Others – Prayers for others, out-with the above categories
My Prayer Journal – Personal prayers
Everyone is different so these journals may not suit you but I thought it best to make them available. Check out the Resource Page for a wider selection of free downloadable prayer journals for adults and for children.
Generally, I write this blog very much based on my personal experience although I try to pre-empt what others may be struggling with or going through in their journey and relate to this also.
What I share with you today is a current personal struggle of mine. I cannot hear God’s answer to my question! The question I long to hear the answer to is this, “God, what am I to do for you?”, “What is my calling?”. If you have read my testimony you will know that years ago, I felt the need to study the Word of God and so I began an Access to Theology Course with Highland Theoretical College. This led to the Theology Degree I am now studying. Unlike many in my class I have no idea why I am there. Of course, I understand the usefulness of this subject and I have gained so much insight into the Word of God already, but what will this lead to? Many of the people I study with are candidates for ministry, they know their goal. People ask me, why are you studying theology? What will you do with this degree? What occupation does theology lead to apart from ministry? My answer, inevitably is, “I don’t know!”, “God told me to do it and I’m doing it!” Not the answer many are looking for I expect!!!
When my grandma’s were both unwell I spent most days with them and, although it broke my heart to see them this way I was able to bear it and I longed to be with them rather than apart from them. When I visited them in hospital, I had a longing in my heart to help others who were struggling around them. I wondered if I was to be a care worker, or perhaps a nurse? I love to look after people, one of the happiest periods of my life has been caring for my children when they were small, I wonder if I am to foster or adopt? Presently, I love to care for my furry babies, Winston, and Molly! In fact, I would have many more furry babies if only my husband would let me!!
When I see people in hospital or care homes, with little to no visitors and no one with time to speak with them, I think perhaps chaplaincy is the role for me, as in this way, I can provide comfort and point people towards Jesus! At the same time, someone recently suggested a Biblical Counselling Course which I undertook and thoroughly enjoyed so is counselling the occupation for me?
In my mind I feel as though I need to know so that I can be gaining the relevant experience meantime, while I am studying. To this problem I know the answer, but I am just not willing to take it on board!!! Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” There is a lovely piece in Corrie Ten Boom’s Book entitled The Hiding Place where her Dad seeking to comfort her says “Corrie, when you and I go to Amsterdam, when do I give you the ticket?” She sniffled a little, and replied, “Why, just before we get on the train.” “Exactly,” her father responded, “and our wise Father in heaven knows when we are going to need things too. Don’t run ahead of Him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need, just in time.” In this instance, the father is the responsible one who is more able to take care of the ticket, if Corrie were to hold the ticket, in her foolhardy youth, she may lose it. In this way, God holds our plans for us until we are required to know them so that we will not lose our way.
Every day I pray, “God, please reveal to me the plans you have for me and my husband?” and every day I do not hear anything back. Lately, I have been wondering if He is answering and I am not listening! Perhaps He answers without an audible voice! Perhaps I need to take note of what is going on around me and look for God’s voice there? The word of God is alive, it is working all around us, 1 Thessalonians 2:13 “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” The Holy Spirit is at work around us helping us to understand the will of God, John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” 2 Peter 1:20, “Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
To help me with this I have decided to create another Prayer Journal, this one will be entitled, “What is God telling me?” Here, I will record instances that suggest God’s hand, for instance, recently I have had many book recommendations given to me which are evangelical and missionary in style and I wonder if God is telling me something in this! I will write this down! I have been thinking about the homeless in our society and what that could be done to help them? This, I will write down. In this way, perhaps I will get my answer!! Of course, my answer may be this!! “It is none of your business.” To which I would respond internally, “What, but it is my life, surely I need to plan it out so I can fulfil what I want to do with it.” Wrong response alert! 1 sentence, 1 my, 3 I’s, yet it is not my or I, I gave my life to Jesus, Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
I gave my life over to Jesus and therefore, it is no longer my plans but His and He will tell me only what I need to know at a particular time. If it is not necessary for me to do anything at this moment, then I do not need to know. When you think about it there is a particularly good reason for this. More than likely, I would mess it up! What God is planning for me may frighten the life out of me at this stage in my life whilst in 4 years’ time He will have prepared me for it, and I will be eager to get started! I can see this already. I used to be terrified of speaking to more than a couple of people at once and for this reason, I did not manage to attend my lectures last year as they happened, but instead watched them on a recording. This year I have attended many Bible Studies and built up my confidence each time so that now I am much less anxious when it comes to my turn to speak. Imagine, God telling Michelangelo as a small boy with his paint set that one day he would be commissioned to paint the Sistine Chapel, I expect he would have been a little daunted by it and this may have discouraged him! Or telling a small Boris Johnson that one day he would be Prime Minister and as soon as he began the job, he would deal with Brexit followed immediately by Covid 19! He may well have directed himself down another path!
So, all we can do is rest in God’s peace and take life day by day while always being alert to the sound of God’s voice in whatever form that may come to us! We must pick up our Bible daily as the Word of God is alive in Scripture and from this we may discern God’s voice, Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
So, I leave you with my newest Prayer Journal entitled What Is God Telling Me? I have designed one with lines and another blank as some may like to write in sentences whilst others may find images more helpful and, in this way, there is room to draw, doodle, or mind map?
It can sometimes be difficult to genuinely believe what we read about ourselves in Scripture. “You are the light of the world”, “You are the salt of the earth”. If we are to progress in our walk with Jesus, then we must believe what He tells us about ourselves. I find Bible Art can help to reinforce these affirmations. Bible Art is also helpful in order to memorize Scripture and really consolidate it in our minds.
I have made many pictures to go alongside my blogs and devotionals and I would like to share these with you as a pdf in order that you can print out any that speak to you. I confess I am no graphic designer and, as you may remember, I did not undertake a single art project before I began this website 5 short weeks ago so please accept these very amateur designs!
If you would like to make designs yourself, why not have a go with using Canva which is a fantastic site where you can create all sorts of designs with free backgrounds, pictures etc. It is also possible to upload and include your own photos. There are many other similar design programmes you could also check out.
You can also design something just with a pencil, paper, and pen. Look online for hand lettering ideas and use a brush pen to write out a Bible Verse. This is really effective and will look great on the wall.
Good luck if you decide to make your own designs and if you decide to print off one of mine then I hope it speaks to you.
There are so many resources at our fingertips in the Bible. If you are in a season of need, whether you are struggling with anxiety, depression, illness, or heartbreak you will find a passage to help you in the Bible. Many Bibles have a section at the beginning which will guide you to a passage for your specific need. Once you find it, why not create something using this passage so that you see it regularly throughout your day and have it as a reminder of God’s love for you.
In an earlier blog I suggested using a prayer journal to help you if you are struggling to pray or if you want to develop your prayer life. These are available online in journal format or there are single page designs which you can download for free from the internet. Just type in prayer journal or prayer sheet and then click on images and you will see a large selection that you can print off.
I have designed a simple one based on the “ACTS prayer guide” I spoke about earlier:-
I have attached a PDF link for you to use should you wish to download this.
There is space for the date at the top so that you can fill this in and later go back and check what you have written. You may wish to do this to see how your prayer life has developed over time or how your focus has changed!
The Adoration Section is where you praise God. Write down His glorious attributes or simply how much you love Him.
The Confession Section is where you admit where you have gone wrong. We know that all the sin we confess will be forgiven so do not let this affect you negatively but simply admit your guilt and let God’s gracious forgiveness be upon you.
The Thanksgiving Section is where you write down all the things you are grateful for. I find depending on my state of mind, this can be overflowing to the point I struggle to stop, or I can find it hard to think of anything. When I am feeling negative, I have learnt to think simple, I woke up, so I am alive, I have been granted another day. I don’t know how many of you watched I Am A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here last year, but I was really inspired by Caitlan Jenner’s attitude. Every morning on waking she would shout to the rest of the camp “It’s Another Day to Excel!” What a positive attitude! I think this sort of enthusiasm is something that we all should strive for!
The Supplication Section is where you write your prayer requests. These may be for your own needs or the needs of others.
You may need additional space for any one of these sections, so I have created Individual Prayer Sheets for each of these.
I have included space for your confession and a space for the date of your confession.
I have been lucky enough recently to be introduced into Creative Christianity and it has changed my life! I do not think I can quite put it into words…. I just feel like my life with God is fuller in some way, that rather than giving things up for Christ, I have been given so much more. My life is enhanced by my walk with God. I would like to devote a blog entirely to this so I can hopefully inspire you to have the courage to get creative, so I will not go on too much here! I will just say that the blank spaces on your prayer sheets could be used for further writings, poetry, lettering, drawing, paints, decorating with stickers etc. There are so many fabulous ideas in which you can creatively worship God.
Psalm 42:9 “I say to God, my rock, “why have you forgotten me? Why must I walk about mournfully because the enemy oppresses me?”
Psalm 43:2 “For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you cast me off?”
The Book of Psalms is a fantastic book to look through when you really do not know what to pray. Perhaps you are tired, perhaps you are suffering from depression or anxiety or you are angry with God. It can be helpful to know that you are not alone! King David, the author of many of the psalms faced these very same struggles and he has written about them in beautiful poetic language that we can use in our prayers. One of the most wonderful things about Scripture is that the characters within its pages are just like you and me! King David committed adultery, the lady became pregnant, he tried to cover his sin by bringing her husband back from the army that he may sleep with her and think that the baby was his. They did not sleep together so David had him killed! All of this began because David caught sight of this woman bathing! The sin of lust became adultery and murder!
1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” The wonderful aspect of Christianity is that all sin is wiped clean! Acts 3:19 “Repent then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” There is no one on this earth that is too evil for God to forgive! God loves every single person he has created and is waiting for them to turn to him. It does not matter what you have done, God knows, and God is ready to forgive. Do not be too ashamed to bring your sin to God, instead, with a humble heard confess all, receive God’s forgiveness and try again! You will undoubtedly fail again, and again, and again because we are all sinners, but you will be forgiven again, and again, and again because of God’s infinite grace!
Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” God wants us to go to him whatever our situation, in the happiest of moments and the most tragic of moments. There are times in our life when we cannot bear the weight of despair upon us, but God can, and He is willing to take it from us so go to Him. I can say from personal experience that God shoulders our burdens and allows us to continue day to day. I am not saying the pain is no longer present, but it certainly becomes bearable.
I know there are times when you try to pray, and you have no words, or you cannot even contemplate prayer, but I have recently found a solution! Creative Time with Jesus! Now until a few weeks ago I considered myself appalling at anything remotely arty and I shied away from doing anything creative! However, I attended an online Cheerfully Given Creativity Christianity Summit and it literally changed my life! I now write this blog, do lettering, designs on paper and pc, I draw, I paint, I upcycle objects and I am willing to give anything a try! God is wonderful at putting things into your life at just the right time!! It is worth giving these things a go if you are struggling with prayer time. Take a section of Scripture, grab a piece of paper and some pencils or pens, and just write and draw what is in your heart. By doing this you are spending time with Jesus and you are learning Scripture also! Of course, if this is not your “thing” there are loads of alternatives, do some knitting, make clay models, paint, write poems, the world is your oyster. There are no boundaries to creativity!
Another piece of advice I would love to pass on to you is using a Daily Devotional. I find this a wonderful aid to my prayer time. Find one that suits you, they come in lots of forms, books, booklets, apps etc. The one I use has a written piece by the author and Old and New Testament Scripture, a Psalm, and a Proverb and by reading this, I will read the Bible in one year. From these readings I write in my prayer journal whatever has touched my heart and use this to guide my prayers.
Prayer Journals are a fabulous way to guide your prayer. There is usually a space to write the Scripture you are reading, how you will apply this to your life, prayers for others, things you are thankful for etc. You will find many of these sheets online which are available as a free download or you can purchase a book or design your own one!
I really hope you have found this to be useful and please do not hesitate to get in touch if you need any advice or prayer.
I want to finish my blog with a simple prayer. Just as we struggle with prayer sometimes so did the disciples, so they asked Jesus to teach them to pray and Jesus answered them:-
“When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed by your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.” Luke 11:2-4
When prayer is hard, this is all you need to say. Give it a try today!