But, as I got done writing out some other prayers in my actual prayer journal, it occurred to me that I feel GUILTY because I can't write out every prayer request for every person I know. Um, first - that's probably not realistic, second - I'd be here all day, third - I know guilt over anything is a tactic of the enemy. But seriously.....this bothers me. As ridiculous as this sounds, I think, "Oh my goodness, what if I die and someone reads my prayer journal and knows I didn't write out prayers for them?" Okay, that's crazy, y'all. I mean over the edge nuts. (And if you're laughing, my guess is that the same thought has crossed your mind, too.)
So as I was journaling, I wrote a prayer that would remind me that God does know the cries of my heart, he does know the things that are weighing on me for others, that my quick shot arrow prayers do still count, and that just because I don't write it doesn't mean he won't answer it. I could be wrong, but for all the times it mentions prayer in the Bible, I don't recall seeing anyone sitting down with a sharpie and a composition notebook to write it all out. There are recordings of the prayers people spoke over different situations, but I don't think that David kept a prayer journal and I'm pretty sure Jesus just spoke to God directly. And the last I checked, Jesus told the disciples to stay awake and pray that they would not fall to temptation, not to grab some papyrus and write it all out. I mean it does say he hears our voice in the morning, not that he reads over our shoulder as we write.
So, yes, I think there is value in keeping a journal to keep a record of God's faithfulness. And yes, I think it helps keep our focus as we pray. But I also think we can work from a list of things we know we need to pray for and not write out every last prayer. I mean, how many trees would have to die in order to get them all out and how much electricity would we use to type them all out into a document on the computer?
If you've struggled with prayer (hand raised high here), just know that you aren't alone. Prayers don't need to be formal or written or spoken out loud. They just need to start with thanking God for all the things, even the hard things knowing he only does and allows what fulfills his purpose for our lives. And then simply present your requests to him, trusting that his peace will comfort you and that he will answer at just the right time.