I had just finished up loading the dishes into the dishwasher, while listening to worship music and offering up a prayer of joy. Little did I know how quickly my attitude would move from worship to all-out-war!
You see, our 5 yo son (who is now 25!) wanted to go out to play in the backyard. But there was just one problem.
We had a new puppy.
So my husband wanted to make sure our son watched out for where our dog, Jet, had done his business in the yard.
I jumped into the conversation—saying, “But Jet has been choosing an area to do his business. It’s over on the left side of our yard.” Not realizing that my husband felt like I was contradicting his parenting instructions!
That was when my hubby’s demeanor went from instructive with our son to argumentative with me.
So we launched into an argument over whether that really was the case. With each cross word we spat at each other, our tempers ratcheted higher and higher.
Suddenly, my husband grabbed a plastic bag and headed out the backdoor. He angrily tromped around the backyard hunting for every bit of dog poop (I-yi-yi) he could find to disprove my theory.
And I fumed as I watched him through the backdoor—eventually making the very unwise decision to lock the door behind him.
When he finished, he came back to try and enter our house again, but realized my infuriating (or infuriated) choice.
Needless to say, this turned our messy moment into all out war, that sadly left our little ones in the crossfire. #marriageandparentingfail
The reason I remember so many details from that horrible argument nearly 20 years ago is because I recorded it in my journal.
This was not necessarily my prayer journal. Though it often became the place I poured out my anger and hurt to God after meltdowns like that one!
It took times like these to finally realize that prayer journaling—not just journaling—was where God could do some of His best work in my heart and marriage.
I hope you give the following tips and practices a try in your own marriage and life!
5 Ways to Prayer Journal to Improve Your Attitude and Marriage
1. Anchor your prayer journaling in Scripture
This is the main difference between journaling and prayer journaling. Journaling may or may not include anchoring your heart to God and His word. It might be and often is just a free-flow of feelings to no one but yourself.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” —James 4:7-8a
When you read God’s word and prayer journal, especially after a conflict or when you’re angry, you submit to God. This invites Him to come near. His word then prepares your heart. He goes on to soften, bring healing, freedom and perspective to you like no amount of journaling can!
See below for a printable prayer that uses Scripture to give you an idea of how to do this in your own life and marriage.
2. Prayer journal every day
If you already read your Bible daily, then prayer journaling will be a natural outflow for you. But if you are not prayer journaling every day, then there is no better time than now to start!
We all need the consistency of journaling our prayers daily to make the biggest impact on our attitudes in marriage and life. This is especially true in cases where you or I harbor bitterness toward our mates (or others).
3. Prayer journal with an open and listening heart
“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” —Proverbs 2:1-5
If and when you pray daily—wholeheartedly seeking God’s thoughts—He will speak to you! Your continual devotion to this process tells Him you long to hear His will and desires, not just telling Him yours. He blesses this by revealing more and more of Himself and His truth to you each time.
Sometimes I wonder if we cannot handle everything God wants to tell us all at one time. Or if He goes slow because it creates a dependent rhythm on Him alone. Or both!
Probably both! 😉
[bctt tweet=”It just seems that when we listen for God to speak, we must accept that He will likely go slower than we want Him to. #waitonGod #slowandsteadylistening” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
4. Prayer journal whenever conflict and anger erupts
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have … so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.” —James 4:1-2
In the account I shared above, I began to ASK God for help. My journaling turned into prayer journaling as I poured out my anger and hurt to God. And His peace and comfort flooded my bruised heart.
Coming to Him, in that way and time, signaled my willingness for Him to do “heart surgery.” Then and only then was I able to see my part and make the changes that I had the power to make—leaving the rest up to God.
5. Use my “Prayer Journaling a Conflict” as your guide
Sometimes prayer journaling is all you need to find God’s perspective. But other times you might need some prompts or questions, aided by Scripture, to untangle a particular messy moment or even season.
So I hope you’ll download my “Prayer Journaling a Conflict” and use it the next time you feel bogged down by discouragement in marriage.
[bctt tweet=”Prayer, along with Scripture, form the scalpel God uses to do the heart surgery we all need in marriage and life. #donotavoidit #findhealing” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
Forgoing this practice hinders your ability to see yourself, your spouse and marriage the way God does. Neglecting it also hinders your ability to give and feel love for your mate (and others). #21daysoflove
However, once you gain insight from this practice, you’ll be able to go on to apply God’s word, truth and love each day. That’s what I’ll be talking about next week, “How to Apply God’s Word to Tension-filled Moments in Marriage.” Click the link to read more posts in the 21-Days of Love series.
And if you haven’t joined the 21-Days of Love Challenge yet, there’s still time! Check out what you’ll get by joining this challenge and subscribing to my blog (below) …
As a subscriber to MM and this challenge, you’ll receive a weekly email that includes what’s listed below (if you missed last week’s, you can find it in the MM Subscriber Library!). And if you’re not a subscriber, then sign up below today
- 7 daily prompts/ideas for doing loving acts for your mate each week (21 total for all three weeks)
- 1 brief devotional that you and your mate can discuss during the week (3 total during the 21-Days)
- Bible Study “WORTHY” Method printable
I hope you’ll consider using the prayer graphic below either as a guide for praying Scripture or as a prayer to pray the next time you face a conflict in marriage. Click on the image and download at the “…” in upper right corner in new tab.
[bctt tweet=”Join the 21-Days of Love challenge and receive 21 daily love prompts/ideas, 3 couple devotionals, plus the WORTHY Bible study method! Join and subscribe today! #MessyMarriage #21daysoflove” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
What are some insights you’ve gained about yourself from your times of prayer journaling?
What is one fear or doubt you have about the power of this practice? (I’ll be sure to pray for you in that!)
Here are some lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me Monday, Literary Musing Mondays, Tea and Word Tuesday, Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story, Recharge Wednesday, Porch Stories Linkup, Coffee for Your Heart, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Encouraging Word Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Destination Inspiration, Tune in Thursday, Heart Encouragement, Moments of Hope, Grace and Truth, Faith and Friends, Blogger Voices Network, Faith on Fire Friday, Fresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday
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