Gratitude Journal Vs. Prayer Journal
Its November and Thanksgiving has passed us by, but should we be thankful just on one day of the year?
One way to cultivate a thankful heart is by keeping a journal to remind you of all the things you are grateful for.
What is a Gratitude Journal?
Gratitude journals are known for improving psychological well-being, it enhances empathy and reduces aggression, it improves self-esteem and according to a study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, it can even help you sleep better!
Oprah has touted about keeping a ‘gratitude journal’ - a sort of diary where one writes the things they are thankful for. Many other celebrities do too.
Here is a sample from Oprah's Gratitude Journal where she says “For years I've been advocating the power and pleasure of being grateful. I kept a gratitude journal for a full decade without fail—and urged you all to do the same.
Here's what I was grateful for on October 12, 1996:
1. A run around Florida's Fisher Island with a slight breeze that kept me cool.
2. Eating cold melon on a bench in the sun.
3. A long and hilarious chat with Gayle about her blind date with Mr. Potato Head.
4.Sorbet in a cone, so sweet that I literally licked my finger.
5. Maya Angelou calling to read me a new poem.”
Gratitude journals contain daily things that occur in your life that you are thankful for, simple things, complex things, just about anything. However, this journal may not necessarily give credit to the giver of those things that you are grateful for. Now, I’m all for being grateful, but it just feels right acknowledging Whom we are grateful to and give credit where its due. There are so many things one can be grateful for – for example for a job offer that you were waiting for; for a new car; for a loving family, a nice house etc. But those things don’t ‘come out of nowhere’, there is Someone orchestrating it all behind the scenes. The Bible tells us that all good things come from God: “Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father who created all the lights in the heavens.” - James 1:17
While Oprah, the world’s richest woman keeps a gratitude journal, I prefer to keep a prayer journal.
“Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father who created all the lights in the heavens.”— James 1:17
What is a Prayer Journal?
A prayer journal is similar to a gratitude journal, it also contains things which you are grateful for – but you give credit to the Father who gave them to you. In doing so, you please God. First Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
We are to be thankful not only for the things we like, but for the circumstances we don’t like. When we thank God for everything that goes on in our lives, we keep confusion and bitterness at bay, knowing that our loving Father is pulling the strings, leading us, guiding us to the way we should go in life. We are not lost, we won’t be angry or upset if we don't get our way, because we know that His ways are higher than our ways – he knows whats best for us, we need not fear circumstances –
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” - Isaiah 55:8-9
I prefer to keep a prayer journal because in it I can write down my requests to the Lord, and I can go back and record when and how wonderfully my Father answered my prayer in His special way (which always turns out better than what I could have ever envisioned for myself). I can write my love letters of ‘Thanks’ to Him, I can write down my fears and have them look minuscule next to the major (and many) miracles He has already performed for me.
Looking back at how many times Jesus has saved me in my lifetime, I jokingly say that I feel like the iconic maiden falling from a burning building and the Lord swoops in to save me — every, single, time. Its only when I look back on past events that I realize just how His Hand has guided me or I remember how He has literally saved me from situations not meant for me.
In my prayer journal, I can feel better leaving my cares and troubles at the Lord’s feet. I can write in my prayer journal with the fullness of faith knowing that my God will come through for me and when He does I will sing His praises and give him His due thanks, and yet also if my prayer has not yet been answered, I will still sing His praises and give Him thanks, because He loves me so much and I know that “All things work together for good, for those that love the Lord” - Romans 8:28.
I know that God blesses those who are grateful to Him. I keep a prayer journal giving God all the glory because He said to do so, and I won’t argue with that!
“Therefore, since we are receiving an unshakable kingdom, let us be filled with gratitude, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.” - Hebrews 12:28
Now, if keeping a mere gratitude journal can have so many health and well-being benefits, imagine what a prayer journal would do?
“Therefore, since we are receiving an unshakable kingdom, let us be filled with gratitude, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”— Hebrews 12:28
Do you keep a journal?
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