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Does your prayer life need a boost? Prayer journaling is the best way to ignite your relationship with God. Find out why keeping a prayer journal is important and how to create your own simple journaling routine. This post is the ultimate guide to jump start your own prayer journaling habit!
“What’s for dinner tonight? Why is this house so messy? I need to work on laundry or the kids won’t have anything to wear…..”
These are the types of thoughts that roll through my head when I try praying the “normal” way. I begin with a prayer in my mind, then immediately thoughts from the world seem to infiltrate every corner of my brain.
Have you been there?
For me, prayer journaling is a lifeline in my relationship with God. It helped me grow spiritually when I didn’t feel close to God. And it’s probably the #1 thing that helps me grow in my relationship with Him.
When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.– Matthew 6:6
What is a prayer journal?
Basically, a prayer journal is a notebook (or even just paper scraps) that contain your prayers to God. It’s a diary of sorts, but really it’s just prayers on paper, in written form.
It really is that simple. No need to get fancy here.
Why is prayer journaling so important?
There are so many things that make prayer journaling a spiritual game-changer. Here’s why I’m so passionate about it:
- Prayer journaling keeps you focused during prayer time so your thoughts don’t drift as easily.
- It documents your relationship with God, and is a tangible way to look back and reflect on His faithfulness & answered prayers.
- Writing your prayers helps you remember to pray for those in need (when these people are written down, you’re less likely to forget them).
- It’s the perfect way to pour your heart out and get your feelings off your chest.
- It helps you get specific in your prayers, instead of repeating the same phrases time and time again.
This quote describes exactly how I feel about prayer journaling:
“Writing out my prayers has brought about a freedom in my relationship with Christ that I longed for but never knew if it was really possible.”
How to Keep a Prayer Journal by the Modern Mary
Have I convinced you to try prayer journaling yet? I hope so.
How Prayer Journaling Helped Me in My Spiritual Walk
As a teen, I fell in love with the process of prayer journaling. It was a huge blessing in my relationship God, and I looked forward to my journaling time each night.
I had no idea how much this practice would bless me when hardships struck later on.
A few years ago, I went through a really dark time of health issues which also led to depression. (It’s not something I particularly enjoy talking about, but if you like, you can read more in my post on the best bible verses for depression).
Believe me, my prayer journals were absolutely FILLED during that time. That journaling time kept me sane and kept me fighting.
Recently, I was tempted to throw those journals away because they’re a reminder of a painful time I really prefer not to think about. But wisely, my husband convinced me to keep them as a reminder of what God brought me through. I might want to look back on them again someday, he said.
My prayer is that you fall in love with writing your prayers as much as I did, so it can be a source of deep comfort and strength to you – no matter what life throws your way.
How to Keep a Prayer Journal
Now I’m going to share some tips for starting your own prayer journaling routine. This is a simple and basic plan, with options to take it to the next level if you so choose.
1. Realize perfection is not the goal.
My written prayers aren’t legible to anyone but me. But that’s okay, because I don’t really want anyone else to read them.
Fun fact: I often use my own silly abbreviations for long (or even medium-sized) words that I’m too lazy to write! It’s like a secretly coded message, just between me and God.
You don’t need to have beautiful handwriting or even be a good writer. All you need is a pen in your hand and an honest heart.
It’s that moment where you can unleash all your feelings, questions, griefs, and fears – knowing that God is listening and He can take whatever you need to let go of. The best form of therapy.
2. Create a simple prayer notebook.
I rarely keep consecutive, legible journal entries with dates and perfectly marked pages. Instead, my prayer journaling happens whenever the need to connect with God strikes. This could be in a nice journal if there’s one handy, but more than likely, it’s on the back of my child’s school lunch menu.
That’s because to me, the point of prayer journaling is pouring out my heart – not creating a work of art.
The following quote explains how you should approach writing your prayers:
Write down exactly what you are thinking. Don’t worry about following a certain order or style. When I write a love letter to my husband, I just write what is on my heart. I don’t perfect it. I don’t erase and rewrite. And that’s what God would love to hear from you. Everything on your heart.– How to Start Keeping a Prayer Journal, rachelwojo.com
Although you can definitely prayer journal on anything, it’s also nice to have a special notebook specifically for this purpose. It’s especially helpful if you want to look back on your prayers someday and reflect on God’s answers.
Any sort of simple lined notebook works great. Personally, I prefer one with blank pages (like these Moleskine journals).
If you’re the organized type and want some beautiful ideas on creating a more aesthetically-pleasing prayer journal, this guide to setting up an organized prayer journal from Intentional by Grace is a great place to start.
3. Divide your prayer journaling process into sections.
Sometimes I just write whatever is on my mind and let it flow from my heart, and other times I use a bit of structure to formulate my written prayers.
To do this, I divide my journaling into “sections.” It’s based loosely on the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 7 and goes something like this:
- Praise & adoration – Spend time telling God how wonderful He is, because of who He is (not because of the stuff He’s given you).
- Thanksgiving – thank God for specific blessings in your life, along with prayers answered.
- Pouring out my heart – tell God whatever is bothering you and ask Him for whatever you need help with. (This is usually the longest section of my prayer, LOL!)
- Asking for His will – Submit to His plans and acknowledge that He knows best, affirming your trust in Him.
- Asking for forgiveness – anything you need to confess and receive forgiveness for. Spill it.
- Pray for others – finish with requests for specific people you want to remember.
I always finish my prayers with the short phrase “I love You”!! It works for me 😉
Do you want to grow a deeper, more genuine faith?
If so, I know you’ll benefit from the “Woman After God” printable pack. It is the perfect resource for any woman who is chasing God.
With 20+ pages of resources, you’ll learn to study the Bible effectively, answer deep burning spiritual questions, dive deep into the realm of prayer, and be encouraged with inspirational Scripture art.
This printable pack includes the “What Should I Study?” guide, which holds your hand teaches you exactly how to create a study plan based on your questions. Also included is a real-life study example, so you can watch the process unfold step-by-step.
It also includes prayer resources that will spark your communication with God and keep your dialogue going throughout the day.
If you ever think, “I want to grow closer to God, but I have no idea where to start,” this printable pack will absolutely help.
4. Try a Prayer war room strategy.
Some people like to think of dedicated prayer time as going into their ‘war room.’ Whether you have a specific, private space dedicated to prayer or it changes from day to day – the most important thing is to realize that prayer is a FIGHT. And wielding your pen and prayer journal is a great way to do it!
We are fighting for our relationship with God. For our physical family, our church family, our nation. Satan wants to take all of it down with him, but prayer is the perfect tool to fight back!
When Jesus faced Satan in the wilderness during his temptations (Luke 4), he used Scripture to defeat the enemy. We must do the same.
So, I recommend praying the Scriptures during your journaling time as a way to implement a ‘war room’ mentality. You can change the words a little bit to make the verse into a prayer. Here are some wonderful Scriptures to start praying today:
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
- “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (Pslam 63:1)
- “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
- “I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” (Psalm 9:1)
What are your favorite Scriptures to pray? Please, add them in the comments!
If you want to ‘do battle’ in prayer for specific members of your family, I’ve compiled some great resources for you:
- 10 Powerful Scriptures to Pray for Your Kids
- Praying for Your Husband: 10 Prayers for the Christian Wife
- 12 Prayers to Invigorate Your Marriage Relationship
5. Use Prayer Journaling Prompts.
If you need a little specific guidance to go along with the journaling sections described, here are some prayer prompts to enrich your writing:
- Name some ways God has provided for you this week and say thanks.
- What do you spend most of your time thinking about? Confess your thought life to God and ask for help.
- What sin are you struggling with right now? Ask God for help.
- Who is on your heart right now that needs God?
- Tell God the goals you have in life and ask for His guidance.
- Tell God what you’re afraid of and pray for courage.
If you want specific prayers to deepen your prayers even further, grab these beautiful “My God & I” Prayer Prompt Cards below!
Sample prayer journal entry
Now that I’ve explained the ‘why’ and ‘how to’ behind prayer journaling, I’d like to show you a sample entry from my prayer journal to show you how I implement this in real life.
Dear Lord, You are high above all and Your ways are so much greater than my ways. You are perfect, holy, and only love. Thank You for being who You are and for loving me.
I’m so grateful for every blessing in my life – spiritual and physical. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for me and thank you for helping me know the Gospel and giving me life in You. Also thank you for my church family, husband, children, home, and my health.
Lord, you know me better than I know myself. I’m struggling to trust Your plan. I always think I know better and have a hard time leaving things in Your hands. Please help me with this.
Let Your will be done in my life, because Your plan is better. Help me follow Your lead.
Please forgive me when I doubt and question You when I have no right to. Forgive me when I act in selfishness and sin because I’m focused on this world.– Sample Prayer Journal Entry, 12/15/2018
How to NOT Forget to Pray for Others
You may have noticed I did not include the people I’m specifically praying for in the sample prayer. Obviously, this is for reasons of privacy but I always like to include them at the close of my prayer. It’s just a habit I’ve tried to cultivate.
When someone asks for prayers, I usually try to stop right then and there and pray for them too so I don’t forget. But adding a section in a prayer journal is also a great idea. I love the following tip:
Write each day of the week at the top of seven adjacent pages in your prayer journal, beginning with Sunday. (Reserve one page, front and back, per day.) Under the pages marked Sunday through Friday, write at least one person for whom you will pray.Arabah Joy, How to Make a Simple Prayer Journal
Need a printable prayer journal template pdf?
If you don’t want to start a prayer journal from scratch and would rather have a guide to walk you through basic journaling, sign up for my newsletter and get the free “Nourish Your Spirit” quiet time guide.
This guide will help you get specific and meaningful in your prayers, and also includes a basic bible study guide to help you dig into the Word.
If you’re struggling with God not answering your prayers the way you want Him to, you may want to read my post Why Won’t God Answer My Prayer?
Whew! That was a lot of in-depth information on prayer journaling! If you’ve read this far, I’d really appreciate if you’d share this post using the social sharing buttons on the bottom of your screen. Let’s encourage others to prioritize prayer!
Do you use a prayer journal? Any tips to share?