What’s a prayer journal? Can it help your prayer life? Yes! Learn about the power of writing down your prayers to God.
If you’re wondering exactly what a prayer journal is, and how it not only works but helps you in your prayer life, then you’re in the right place.
A prayer journal is a tool that you can use, in the form of a notebook or diary that serves as a place for you to write down your prayers to God.
In a way, you can picture a prayer journal to be the equivalent of a spoken prayer but in written words, almost like a letter to God.
There are a lot of different ways in which you can make use of a prayer journal to help you grow in your prayer life.
Perhaps the most beautiful part of keeping a prayer journal is being able to look back at all the things you prayed for and how God has worked in your life and answered those prayers in different ways.
As people, we are often quick to forget God’s goodness, and what He has carried us through. A prayer journal serves as a constant reminder of where you once were and God’s faithful character, and steadfast love in those troubled times.
The Israelites had to learn this themselves, in Deuteronomy 8:2, “And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.”
The Benefits of Prayer Journaling & How It Can Help Your Prayer Life
1. Focused Prayer
It’s so easy to drift off when you are praying, whether that is early in the morning or late at night, sometimes we can find ourselves not as engaged in prayer. This can be due to tiredness, distractions, or a mode where we simply repeat the same thing day after day.
When you are writing down your prayers, it requires you to be more present, and intentional in the words that you are choosing to write. It allows you to think, and not rush through your prayer in order to go on to the next thing.
2. Intentional Prayer
Because prayer journaling often involves prompts, this allows you to be more intentional with your time in prayer.
Depending on the kind of prompts that you choose to incorporate, this can challenge you to think about the things that you can give God thanks for, the ways in which you have seen Him work, and the different characteristics of God that you are learning about.
Not only that, but it also extends to prayer for others, as you can include things like people who you need to ask God to help you forgive, those who are facing tough times, or who are not believers.
There is an opportunity for intentional prayer when it comes to prayer journaling.
3. Serves as a testimony
Sometimes we think that testimonies are only needed to show others the work that God has done, but many times we are in need of a reminder of who God is, and has been throughout different seasons of our lives.
One of the ways we can keep track of that is through prayer journaling. We can see how God changed our hearts and the ways in which He worked.
It is so easy to forget, and through prayer journaling, not only does it serve as a great reminder to ourselves, but it is also something that we can bring up in conversation to others, as a testimony of God’s grace.
How to Start Prayer Journaling
It can be easy to overthink prayer journaling, but it is really easy to get started. Remember, this is your time of prayer, and you get to talk to your Heavenly Father, so make it personable, because it is all about your relationship with Him.
There are a few things that make prayer journaling a lot easier. The first is to find a place where you can write each day. It’s good to develop the habit, and finding a consistent place is often a great way to build consistency.
Secondly, try to find a time that you dedicate to praying. It’s not always easy to find a consistent time, especially when life can be a little unpredictable, but trying to find a time when you know you will have some uninterrupted time makes a world of a difference.
Three, address your prayer to God, start with His name, and remember that this is where you can talk to Him. There are no rules on how long or short your prayer needs to be, simply write about what comes to mind, and share what is going on. You can ask God for guidance where you need it, forgiveness where you have sinned, and for His continued strength and protection.
The Types of Prayer Journals to Choose From
Before you get into prayer journaling, you should know that there are a few types of prayer journals that you can choose from.
The great thing about prayer journaling is that it is very customizable, which means that you can make it as personal as possible, and can choose between various different kinds of journals.
It is important to note, though it is fun to be creative with your prayer journal, the main point of it is communion with God. The reason this is important to mention is because it is easy to get stuck in mundane details.
If you aren’t able to afford a really fancy journal, you don’t have to allow that to stop you from starting. If you have loose pieces of paper, an old notebook from school, or a plain book to write in, you have all you need to get started.
Don’t allow a lack of glitter pens, or cute accessories to stop you from growing your relationship with God through prayer. That is ultimately what He looks at, our hearts and our words to Him, not the handwriting that they were written in.
So, without further ado, here are just a few types of journals that are common.
1. Hardback or paperback notebooks
These are probably the most common way to start a prayer journal. If you have a notebook with lined pages or even a bullet journal, you can easily start writing out your prayers in it. You can even add your own artistic ideas afterward if you would like to create a scrapbook kind of prayer journal.
2. Ready-made Prayer Journals
You can also find a large selection of pre-made prayer journals, specifically designed to help you keep a prayer journal. These journals often have prompts written inside of them to give you ideas on what to pray for, and can often be accompanied by a verse of the day, a challenge, or some sort of encouragement or inspiration.
3. Printable Prayer Journals
Similar to ready-made prayer journals, there is an enormous amount of printable content on the internet right now, including many prayer journals to choose from. You can easily find printable prayer journals from websites like Etsy which allow you to see the kind of pages that are contained in the prayer journal and once you purchase it, you can print out as many as you want and combine them into a prayer journal folder or binder.
4. Digital Prayer Journals
Technology has grown immensely over the years. If you are not someone who needs a physical pen and paper and you enjoy writing on an iPad or device, then a digital prayer journal may be a good fit for you. These are also readily available online and can be downloaded onto your device. Many iPad users enjoy journaling on their devices with a stylus which gives the same illusion as writing in a normal notebook. The upside is that there is a lot of opportunity for customization, and to easily erase anything if needed.
Ideas for Daily Prayer Journal Entries
If you’re not exactly sure what to write about in your prayer journal, you can read the article on prayer journal prompts here, to give you some more in-depth ideas.
But just to start you off, there are a few things that you can incorporate into your prayer journal, such as the ACTS prayer method. This simply serves as a guide or outline for your prayer.
ACTS is the abbreviation for adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication. Here is a short explanation of each of those points.
Adoration – There is no one like our God. He deserves all the honor and glory, and it is a privilege that we get to glorify Him for who He is. When we come to God in prayer through adoration, we are acknowledging who He is, and taking a stance of humility as we praise Him for all He is and Has done.
Confession – An important part of our prayer life is that it serves as a way for us to confess our sins to God, and to ask for forgiveness. God calls us to do so, instead of being indifferent to our sin, a true brokenness over our sin grows us in Christlikeness, and in humility towards God, increasing our gratitude for His grace.
Thanksgiving – It can be easy to get bogged down with the troubles of life that we forget how much we have to be grateful for. If we have air in our lungs today, it is enough to give God thanks, but also helps us cultivate hearts of gratitude rather than discontentment.
Supplication – Lastly, we can bring our prayer requests to God in prayer. We can ask Him for guidance in a certain situation, to meet the needs of others, or to pray for any situation that is taking place in your life, the lives of others, or in the world around you.
That is the basic groundwork for getting started on a prayer journal, it is very simple, and doesn’t have to be complicated at all! The best thing to do is get started, and you will see the fruit of a growing and consistent prayer time with God.