Many years ago while I was still in high school, I was introduced to an effective approach to journaling my quiet times. Although I have used devotional books and other resources and approaches from time to time, this format has served me best. In fact, I teach this method in my worship study, Pure Praise: A Heart-focused Bible Study on Worship.
My most meaningful one-on-one meetings with the Lord have come as a result of using this simple process. You will notice on each day’s journal log that I consistently include 5 elements as I read work through a book in God’s Word:
- Text – That day’s focal scripture passage. Most often it is a paragraph or a chapter.
- Theme – The central message that I see in that passage.
- Key verses – The verses or parts of verses that best support the theme.
- What God said to me – This section contains what I sense the Holy Spirit is showing me within this scripture.
[DISCLAIMER: I do not claim that the words written here are actually God’s words. Furthermore, I do not think for a moment that my mere interpretation is in any way infallable or inerrant. I do not do extensive Bible study and research during my quiet times. I try to draw from my own Bible knowledge and only write what I believe to be in line with God’s written Word. However, the Bible is the only document that can be fully trusted.]
- What I said to God – This is my response to what I believe He has shown me. Often it is a time of praise and surrender to His Word but can also include honest questions and confessions.
I use the 1984 version of the NIV New International Version during most of my quiet times. (NIV is also the version that I use most often for my scripture memory.)