Prayer is a huge part of our faith. It is our way to commune with God, and petition him our requests. What an honor to talk to the maker of the universe, and a priviledge to lift up others' troubles to him. In my quiet time last week, I started thinking about prayer and our daily walk with God. I have been reading through the Old Testament, and one thing that has stood out to me is God's desire for us to remember him, and what he has done for us. So often we pray and pray, and when we get an answer, we say a quick thank you, and forget about it soon after. There are numerous times in the Old Testament when God actually commands his people to do things in remembrance of his mighty works. In Deuteronomy, when God instructs the Israelites how to tithe, they are to bring their offerings forward, and they recite a speech of sorts, listing the ways God had been good to them. They are to recall how they were saved from the Egyptians, were given the Promised Land, and shown many miraculous signs.
Jewish traditions that still exist today orginated in God's command to remember a certain event. Passover is celebrated to remember their escape from Egypt, and the death of the firstborn. Purim is celebrated to remember how God delivered the Jews from destruction during the Persian Empire. Countless festivals were instated so people would be routinely reminded what God had done for them.
Often in the Old Testament, God commands someone to build a monument to something, or name a place something as a tribute to what happened there. When Joshua led the Israelites across the Red Sea, God instructed him to have each tribe pick a large stone from the center of the water and place it on the other side. He also instructed the Israelites to tell their children and childrens' children the story of God's divine intervention.
Why am I making such a big point of this? We know God is the same God yesterday, today and forever. I think God wants us to constantly be reminded of what he does for us, too. When we attended a bible study in Virginia, we were given prayer journals. On one side, you wrote down the prayer request of your own or someone else's, and on the other, you made a notation when and how that prayer was answered. It was so interesting to look back and see God's undeniable hand on each person's life! I still look back at my journal from time to time to be reminded of just that. I wanted the ladies from my current bible study to experience the same thing, so I made a (slightly prettier) version of the prayer journal. Here is how I did it.
First, I cut a cover from a 12" piece of sturdy scrapbook paper with the dimensions of 11 1/2" x 8 3/4". I took a piece of letter sized cardstock and folded it in half. This became my page divider. I cut tabs at 2 1/2" x 2" and folded them in half. I used a corner rounder to make them look like tabs on a file folder.
Next, I formatted a Word document for the prayer pages. I made the orientation a landscape, and chose a 2 column format. I typed the words, "Name and Prayer Request" on the left side, and, "Way prayer was answered on the right side." I printed 5 of these double sided. (We have 10 women in our bible study, so this allows for 12 people's requests. Make more if you have a larger group.)
On a second page I made a cover for the prayer request journal which had a title and bible verse. On the back I printed the first page again. This will all make sense when you do it. It ensures that your book will read like a book without any missing pieces.
Once all the pages were printed, I folded them in half and organized them like a book. I placed them in the folded cardstock sheet that serves as a page divider (with tabs on each side), and placed that inside the cover. I stapled everything together along the spine with a super big stapler. If you do not have access to one of these, you may want to bind your journal with a piece of tied ribbon.
I left a place in the back for the handouts I give during the course of the study. They are loose, but stay put pretty well.
Here is the stack of finshed books ready for Friday's study. Now we are all set to record the concerns of others, and remember months and years from now how faithful God is to us.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18