Have you ever wondered how to start a prayer journal? Have you been feeling like your prayer routine is always the first thing that gets pushed to the back burner? With work, church, and family commitments, do you sometimes feel that while the desire to pray more is strong (its literally our lifeline), the time is fleeting? I challenge you to jumpstart your prayer journal journey to help cultivate your prayer routine!
In the year 2016, I set the intention to pray every day and to document those prayers. I cleared out a closet and decorated it with note cards and sticky notes, pens and thumb tacks. I bought a simple journal and began writing. I did not realize that those prayers would be praise reports as I documented my relationship with God throughout the year, and the change was so transformative!
This year my focus has been on getting back to the basics and seeing God through the lens of what life looks like for me now! That is motherhood, working, married enjoying the blessings that God has given me, but also being okay to steal away, just like Jesus did, to recharge!
This has led me to get back into prayer journaling! If you are ready to start a prayer journal and looking at how to do it, keep reading!
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What is a prayer journal?
Before we get into the details of how to start a prayer journal, I’d like to talk a little about what a prayer journal is, and what it is not. A prayer journal is a written account of God’s faithfulness in your life. It is a way to document your testimony. A prayer journal is not, or should not be a laundry list of our wishes. When you begin using a prayer journal you should start it with the intention of developing a prayer routine.
Journaling prayers allows you to organize your thoughts and words to God. The act of writing down your prayers in a journal helps you to freely speak your mind. The fact that you are multitasking also helps to minimize distractions.
What is the purpose of a prayer journal?
The purpose of a prayer journal is to grow in your communion with God. Journaling prayers allows a different outlet for prayer. Its helpful for those of us who may have the problem of a wandering mind during prayer. It can also be used to organize your prayers and to remind you of those who you want to pray for.
A prayer journal is a singular place where you can write down different aspects of your faith. Personally, I like to use my prayer journal as a way to see what God has done in my life over time.
It becomes like a text or email history between me and God. Because I have a tangible place where my prayers are written, I can go back and see what I have prayed about in the past. I’m also able to see God’s response to those prayers. This benefit of a faith journal really encourages me to build my prayer habit!
Benefits of starting a prayer journal
Having a daily prayer journal routine is an excellent form of spiritual self-care. Journaling is a well documented way of getting out your feelings and processing through the emotions of the day. Prayer journaling takes that benefit and increases its effectiveness because you are sharing those thoughts with God.
Journaling prayers also allows you to write down the lessons that you receive during the silent moments of prayer. The scriptures that you are led to and the direction given through the holy spirit can be written down for future reference.
There are many additional benefits to starting a prayer journal. The benefits include:
- You have a ready list of those you want to pray for
- Increased focus during prayer because of the tactile senses being activated
- The prayer journal becomes an easy to access memoir of your testimony
- You become more sensitive to seeing God’s hand working in your life
- A more developed prayer routine leads to a better relationship with God
These are just a few of the many benefits that journaling prayers. One of my favorite ways to journal my prayers is to craft War Room prayers that are impactful and specific with scripture included. This allows me to make sure that I am praying the promises of God and the power of his word
How do you use a prayer journal
The coolest thing about the prayer journal is it can be used however you need it to be used. You can start a prayer journal like you start a bullet journal. A prayer journal can easily be molded to your needs. There are a multitude of templates that you can use. I have several styles in my resource library.
How to start a prayer journal?
Once you have decided to learn how to start a prayer journal journey, it’s easy to be preoccupied with all the latest journaling materials, like hardcover or leather journals and fancy pens, but this can also be a distraction to starting! Use whatever you personally want to write in, or better yet whatever you have in the house! When I first decided to start my prayer journal, I had millions of journals in the house (only a slight exaggeration). I found my favorite and started writing.
If you are thinking of purchasing a journal, consider where you plan to write. It’s important to me that my journal is small so it fits in my cross body purse. You may want one that’s larger, however, for more room to write. Just remember that the most important thing is that you start the process.
Step 1: Choose your style of prayer journal?
The first step in starting a prayer journal is to decide on the format you want to use. There are many different styles that fit different personalities. Some of the styles are:
- Traditional Journals
- Guided Journals
- Bullet Journals
Blank Prayer Journals are by far the easiest to use to start a prayer journal. It can be a spiral notebook or composition book. I have a love of all things pretty and pink, so when I would see a pretty journal in Ross or Target, I had to get it. Now that I am trying to minimize the things in my home, I am curbing this habit, but it’s a work in progress. With a blank journal you can start immediately and really allow the journal to take shape on its own.
Printable Prayer Journal Templates are great if you like a bit more structure to your prayers. Having a printable prayer journal template allows you to easily build your prayer journal with just a few clicks and a printer. If you are serious about starting your prayer journal journey you can check out our collection of free prayer journal templates in our resource library. There are multiple styles to fit any aesthetic.
Digital Prayer Journals are all the rage nowadays. As I have researched more about them, I am finding that they fit perfectly into the life I am trying to lead of intentional simplicity. With a digital journal I am able to have my journal on my devices, which are on me throughout the day. I can jot down notes, and prayers without having to carry a lot of additional things. I love the freedom of them! I’m excited to be able to offer a couple of free digital prayer journals in our resource library that you can use to start a prayer journal! Check it out and let me know what I can do to make it more user friendly!!
Guided Prayer Journals are an awesome way to start a prayer journal but still have some direction. If you like me enjoy having an easy way to do, anything, you will love this style of prayer journal. One I have enjoyed is The Weekly Prayer Project: A Challenge to Journal, Pray, Reflect and Connect with God. It’s been nice to have some direction for my prayers and to be reminded of different ways to pray for others.
Step 2: Gather your Supplies
I have bought a lot of journals in my quest to find the perfect prayer journal. Some of my favorites have been completely blank. Mostly because I like the freedom of combining the above types of prayer journals into one. This blank journal is one of my favorites because of its flexibility.
Other prayer journal supplies you may need include pens, stickers, bookmarks, colored pencils/markers, a ruler and tape.
Step 3: Set up your prayer journal pages
The first thing I recommend doing whether you decide to start a prayer journal from a blank journal or from templates in a binder is to create an index! It has truly been a game changer.
I create my index much like a bullet journal index. I like to add to it as I go. I also recommend numbering pages in the beginning.
Once my index is complete, I like to create prayer request lists. This allows me to write down everyone I am praying for and find specific scriptures that speak towards their request. I usually have a 5-10 page spread of these pages.
After I have added these features to my prayer journal, I freestyle it.
I use my prayer journal much more like a faith journal. It it I journal lists of scriptures based on word studies. I write down SOAP bible study notes and sermon notes as well.
Tips for writing down your prayers
Once you have your journal and materials, you can start writing your prayers. This can be the part that trips some people up. Prayer is supposed to be on your knees with your eyes closed on the side of the bed, right?
That is one way to pray, but that isn’t the only way to pray. Writing your prayers is different, but if you think of it like writing a letter to a dear friend, it’s much easier. I often consider my prayer journal prayers as a long text conversation. I share my heart, and God shares his back.
When writing in your prayer journal remember first and foremost, while you are writing, those words are to our father in heaven. So speak from your heart but be sure to listen as well, and write down what you hear.
When I first began writing in my faith journal, I would read a page from 100 Things God Loves About You. Then I would transcribe the scripture and then write based on what that scripture made me feel. Lastly, I would sit in silence, and see what came up. At times, it would be a name of someone, other times a word, or a picture. Whatever it was, I would write it down. That was my answer!
Develop a habit of prayer using your prayer journal
Developing a prayer routine with your prayer journal can help insure success of the habit of prayer. When I started writing my prayers in 2016, I wrote every night before bed. These days, there are children strewn everywhere and we are barely making it to bed before passing out so my old prayer routine is out the window.
Shortly after the birth of my daughter when I returned to work, I would keep my prayer journal in my car, and write for 10 minutes before I went into her daycare. Nowadays, I am using my digital prayer journal, so I have access to it wherever I go using my phone. This has made my prayer habit significantly easier to fit into even the craziest of days!
While you are deciding on your rhythm of prayer, consider your current schedule. Find time where you need to spend a few minutes alone, or where you have the extra time to do the mindless time wasters like scroll through social media.
Jesus prayed in the morning, but God is listening at all times. Just because your best friend writes in the morning, doesn’t mean you have to. The key to remember is setting aside the time, be it 5, 10 or 30 minutes. Find a place when you can be alone with God and write to him.
Be flexible in how you keep your prayer journal
This tip has made all the difference in my consistency. Simply put, this journal is about relationship. You do not have the same conversation everyday with your parents or your best friend, so it shouldn’t be the same with prayer to God.
Some days you may want to just talk out all the things that frustrated you about your day. Other days you may want to list 10 things you are grateful for. Still other days, you may want to write out a scripture and just sit quietly and see what God says about it. Be flexible when you begin your prayer journal journey and allow your relationship with God to flourish and you build communication with him.
Invite the holy spirit into your prayer journal time
The bible says that when we do not know what to say, the holy spirit intercedes for us. How awesome is that! Imagine the pressure it takes off the busy mind when she no longer has to worry about the words she says when she prays. I love to say the simple thought, “HELP” when I start praying. Keeping a list of my favorite scriptures, or scriptures on a topic near are a great way to usher in the Holy Spirit and allow my written prayers to go where the spirit leads.
Allow yourself grace to get into a rhythm of prayer
Lastly, and most importantly extend grace to yourself! Somedays the words will not come. Somedays you will literally barely squeak out the Lord’s prayer before crashing for the night. Sometimes all you will be able to write is “Thank you Lord.”
This is all okay! What is most important with you start a prayer journal is that you have the desire, and you are taking a step towards that desire. God will honor that. In his word he comforts us by saying “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with ALL YOUR HEART” Jeremiah 29:13. He doesn’t blame you when life gets messy, he just asks you to keep seeking him!
How do you maintain a prayer habit?
The hardest part of beginning any habit is starting. Getting into a rhythm of prayer so that it is not a task on your to do list can be tricky. We are pulled in so many different directions and our time is limited. I promise you, however, that once you start a prayer journal and really get into the groove, life will look different to you.
Journaling your prayers is a great way to build a prayer habit. It allows you to remain focused and to have a history of God’s faithfulness!
You’ll find that your prayer time is one of the most sacred and integral parts to your day. It will be a completely necessary tool in you spiritual self-care arsenal!