Barker offers a program for recognizing God’s presence in this debut prayer manual.
Many people, even the very devout, often feel that God is not taking an active role in their lives. The author suggests a novel solution to this crisis of faith: journaling. When combined with prayer and Bible study, journaling can furnish an active way to examine God’s presence on a daily basis. “It allowed me to have a record of my prayers and His faithfulness in answering my prayers,” writes Barker of his own experience with journaling. “Journaling provided a record of my time in God’s Word, as well as my reflections and interactions with His Word.” The author lays out a 40-day regimen to get readers into the habit of journaling. After the 40 days, readers will be prepared to continue journaling on their own. Barker presents a chapter for each day, including a short essay on some topic related to either God or journaling (or often the intersection of both). On Day 19, for example, the author ruminates on why readers question God’s integrity, encourages them not to worry, and transitions into using “journaling to develop a thankful heart.” Each day comes with both journal and Bible study/prayer challenges, which work as a prompt for readers. Barker writes in a gentle, accessible prose that mixes in details from his personal life: “One of my favorite traditions during Thanksgiving Week is to spend time reviewing everything from the previous Thanksgiving and make one big list. It is time consuming, but it is special to reflect on God’s faithfulness over the year.” Moments of levity (“Day 20: Integrating Artistic Expression Into Our Journal”; “Day 26: Adventure Time!”) keep the experience from feeling overly monastic. The author never lets readers forget that God is the focus here, and those journaling for self-discovery will find more sympathetic manuals elsewhere. But readers who want to make prayer and Bible study part of their daily routines should explore Barker’s 40-day program, which is not particularly dogmatic and will accommodate Christians of various traditions.
A thoughtful, well-planned journaling guide for Christians in search of God.