The Lord answered me: Write down this vision; clearly inscribe it on tablets so one may easily read it. – Habakkuk 2:2
While I completely understand the hermeneutics behind this verse, since the day I first read it my heart has been affixed on it.
I’ve always been a writer, but over time God asked me to write down my prayers. I went from writing down lists of things I was praying for to actually writing my prayers instead of speaking them, like a letter I was intending to send up to heaven some day.
Notebooks and journals later, I never understood quite how this system worked. I wasn’t entirely sure it did for some things… But this is what I have mapped over this process:
– God wanted more than a grocery bill or honey-do list. While it’s ok to make these lists to pray over, that wasn’t what God was wanting for me when He told me to write it clearly, so that it’s easy to read. – I wrote down my emotions more than the items I was actually praying for. I wrote down what I perceived was going on around me. I wrote down how this prayer request was affecting what I believed about God.
I realize, looking back and reading over them, that God was always answering prayers. It didn’t look the way I thought; but if He wasn’t doing what I asked Him to do, He was changing my heart so I could perceive His Word and His Character more clearly.
Have you read The Pilgrim’s Progress? It’s a parable of our journey on this side of heaven. Well my friends, writing our prayers down works like creating a road map. I know this may sound unusual because ideally you look at maps to see where you are going, and journaling prayers seems more like a way to document where you’ve been…
For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it testifies about the end and will not lie. Though it delays, wait for it, since it will certainly come and not be late. – Habakkuk 2:3
When you write down your prayers, you are charting the course of your future. It’s like creating a map of where you are as you discover it, but at the same time this map shows you where you need to go next!
You are also prophetically putting down a vision that will get you to your next step in this walk with God.
Artists sometimes use graph paper to paint a masterpiece to scale. When a project is too big, they will draw a smaller version of it on a blue print, then create bigger squares on the wall they want to work on. Then they copy one square at a time, from the paper to the wall.
This is how prayer journaling works! You take a situation so much bigger than you, and you break it down to one small, manageable square at a time. Then God recreates the masterpiece as He answers it to scale! But you would miss that, and you’d think the wall was just haphazardly painted from left to right, if you didn’t have the blue print.
You may be thinking right now: But I’m not a writer! And that’s ok. Draw it out. Write single words that describe what you’re feeling or seeing. It could be cartoon like pictures, or photographs. It could be in a journal or on a cork board in your bedroom wall. Write where you are now. Write where you want to be. Then watch God fill in the blanks in between.
It is rumored that when Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel, he started on the work around the borders and left the main part in the center of the roof for last. Reason being that he was a sculptor, not a painter, but he figured (given the task to paint a ceiling, of all things) that by the time he got the main focal point of the masterpiece, he’d be that much more skilled at it and it would be closer to perfection. And what was that centerpiece? The finger of God reaching out to touch man, known as the “Creation of Adam”.