Let’s be honest, we forget a lot.
Much of what we fail to retain is unimportant which is why our brain doesn’t file it away. Last week’s grocery list, a recipe you only made once or a magazine article you causally glanced at in the doctor’s office are quickly discarded by our brains to make space for what you will need to remember today.
But some of what we forget is very important. We listen to sermons, read passages of the Bible and hear God’s voice speaking to our hearts. In order to really understand the things of God, we have to mull them over, chew on them and let the truths take root. And if we are going to do that, we have to remember what we have heard and read in the first place
If you have not yet discovered how indispensable a journal or spiritual notebook is, consider trying it.
In most other areas of life we know that if we don’t help ourselves to remember, we will forget. That’s why we have diaries and to-do lists. We put invitations on the fridge where we can see them and alarms on our phones so we don’t forget appointments.
But what about all the times we feel God speaking to us, encouraging us, challenging us through sermons, Bible reading and prayer?
How much of this precious, life-giving manna from heaven do we just allow to fall through the cracks of our busy lives? Could it be that we are often spiritually hungry, dry and a bit lost because we haven’t treasured and digested God’s words to us? Do we struggle to know God’s leading because we have forgotten the things He has said or things He has told us to do?
The solution is so simple, write it down.
Record everything you receive from the Lord. When a preacher says something that you know is for you, write it down. When God impresses on you a way to pray about a situation or when a verse of scripture jumps out at you, jot it down somewhere where you will see it and be reminded.
This is called journaling.
There are many ways to journal and everyone is different but here are a few ideas to get you started.
Start a spiritual notebook. I learned this one from my parents who have filled notebooks over the years with God’s words to them. These books sustained them when life and ministry got hard because they reminded them of God’s promises and His leading in their lives.
Just have a place that you write down any time you sense God speaking to you. If you receive a prophetic word or someone gives you a verse, write it down. Write down truths you discover during your daily Bible reading and prayer time. Be honest about your struggles and your victories too. If you are confused about something, say so. If you have questions, put them down.
If you love writing then you will really enjoy this process and will probably fill pages quickly but if writing isn’t your thing, bullet journals are for you. When there is something important to record, just write the date and a sentence or two of explanation.
Have a prayer journal. This has changed my prayer life. I started using one because I didn’t want to forget things that I needed to pray about but it has become so much more than that now. I fill pages with really specific ways that I feel led to pray for situations and people. If I come across a verse that applies, I write it down next to the person’s name so I can pray the verse over them regularly. I also just recently began writing prayers down as a different way to pray. It is really powerful and gets me out of the rut of always talking to God in the same way.
Have a notebook with you at church. I keep one in my handbag but my husband has one tucked in his Bible. This way you can write down anything from the service that you want to remember. I often hear God speaking during worship as well as the sermon and if I don’t write it down it is forgotten by the time I’m driving home. If someone has an encouragement for me or if I have one for someone else I can quickly scribble it down before I forget. Also, I record if I have committed to pray for someone in the week. I never want to be someone who offers to pray and then doesn’t.
If things are precious to us, we keep them. I have a box for each of my children up in the loft, full of schoolwork, art projects, first shoes and baby pictures. These are extremely valuable to me and so I look after them.
Let’s look after everything God gives us. Every rhema treasure from His Word, every encouragement and promise, every whisper of the Holy Spirit deserves to be kept, treasured, prayed about and acted upon.