Lately, my prayer journal has become a miracle journal.

I don’t journal every day. I sit down and record stuff when I feel God drawing me to do it. I also journal when its been awhile and it feels like I need to catch up with my soul. Or maybe let my soul catch up with my life. Can you relate?

I know the Lord’s Prayer begins with “Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.” The “Brad’s prayer” usually begins with, “Lord and Father,” but then quickly becomes, “Ok. Here’s the deal,” taking more direct cues from the Psalms. I think that’s okay, because the Psalms are prayer journal entries and David was a man after God’s own heart.

My journal is where I pour my heart out for God to look at. But I don’t stop there. It’s where I ask God questions about the stuff I’ve poured out. My most common prayer is a request for wisdom. My favorite way to phrase it is, “Please advise.”

“Lord, we sense you want us to put our home on the market, but don’t know where to price it. Please advise.”

“Father, Noah is being a fourteen year old again. I know, I know… he’s fourteen. That’s my point. Please advise.”

After laying out my heart, I often ask the Lord to reveal what I need to see. I write down his guidance, his words. I unpack scriptures that come to mind, studying and meditating on them with passionate scrawlings that might not make sense to anyone but me. Many of these scribbles become sermons when they grow up.

The best part about my journal, especially lately, are all the check marks. Every few days I go back and re-read the prayers and requests I’ve made, putting a check mark beside the ones God has answered. There are a whole lot of check marks, let me tell you. And there’s a lot of praise. The wisdom God has been giving me lately is producing spiritual fruit I’ve only dreamt of until now.

I’ve bumped into people who roll their eyes at the writing disciplines. “I’m a doer, not a writer,” they say.

And I say, “All the more reason to stop doing and simply write from time to time.” I can’t imagine bumbling through life without checking in, without slowing down. There’s something about taking the time to write out your thoughts and emotions that forces you to listen to your own heart. It gives God space to speak into those thoughts, feelings, plans, and dreams. I can write down what he says. I can come back to it later. I think some people “hate” journaling because they’re actually afraid of their own soul and what they’ll find there if they slow down long enough to take a good, hard look.

What say you? How do you “slow down” and “check in” with God and your own soul?