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How To Keep A Prayer Journal

Not everything absent from the Bible is necessarily wrong. One of those things is having a prayer journal. While there is no specific verse in the Bible that teaches us that we should have a prayer journal, there are also no Bible verses that teach us that we should not. In other words, having a prayer journal is optional for a believer. People who tell others that they should have a prayer journal have seen the benefits of keeping a prayer journal in their own lives. 

What is the purpose of a prayer journal?

A prayer journal is like a diary. However, instead of writing what happened in your day or life, the things that you write down are prayers that you have for God. What you write in a prayer journal is not necessarily prayers alone. When you open it, you may just see a list of prayer points or requests. You can write things about your life and your prayers to God in line with that. For example, let’s say you are going through a dark season in your life where you are battling depression. You can write that in your prayer journal, along with the prayers you have for God.

When you have a prayer journal, it allows you to put your prayers into writing. When we say “prayers,” we mean everything that we want to tell God, not just what we want to ask of God. A prayer journal is where you pour your heart out to God. You can write down your fears, anxieties, worries, the things you are going through, the things you celebrate, the things you hope for, and more. A prayer journal is much more than a notebook that contains prayer points or requests. It contains all the things you want to pour out to God.

Philippians 4:6-7

6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

1 Peter 5:6-7

6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

This shows us that a prayer journal is not a routine and should never be seen as an inconvenient task where we have to force ourselves just to sit down with God and do our prayer journals. We should spend time with our prayer journals due to our relationship with God. We should do it out of our intimacy with and delight in Him. It is founded on the desire to grow more in our intimacy with God. 

Romans 8:15

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Another purpose of having a prayer journal is to have something on which we can reflect. You can reflect on many things as you go back to your previous entries in your prayer journal. You may have observed how wrong your mindset was a few months ago, and as you look back, you may realize that it was indeed wrong and should be dealt with. It could also be that you may have been foolish for the past few months, but looking at your life right now, it may be completely changed. At that point, you can reflect on God’s grace in your life. It may also be that you went through a period of depression and were suicidal, but the fact that you are still here as a Christian means that God is indeed faithful in your life. Having a prayer journal allows us to reflect and ponder on things that make us worship and behold God even more deeply.

Proverbs 4:26-27

26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.

27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

With that said, having a prayer journal also allows you to keep track of answered prayers. You can realize many things as you track the prayers that God has answered. You can see how His timing was perfect, even if there are prayers that took a long time before being answered. You can also see how God is indeed the God of impossibilities if God answered prayers where the odds of it happening were low. 

How do I start a prayer journal?

One of the things you will need is a notebook where you can write down the things you want to pour out to God and pray for. While technology is beneficial, and with today’s smartphones, you can make notes in an app, using a notebook would still be more beneficial than using a smartphone or laptop. When you buy a notebook, make sure it is big enough where you can write comfortably and that it will also last a while. A tiny notebook means that space will be consumed faster, which means using up the entire notebook quickly.

Having a prayer journal alone is not an activity in itself, but rather part of an activity where you spend solitude with God and commune with Him. You should set a time and place to come before God in prayer, read His Word, and commune with Him. That is also where you use your prayer journal. To use your prayer journal, you should do your devotion with God, after you find a time and conducive place to spend that solitude with Him.

How do you keep a simple prayer journal?

Just because it is a prayer journal does not mean you won’t involve the Scriptures. Remember that you fill out your prayer journal while communing with God, praying to Him, and reading and meditating on His word. There are many ways in which you can use Scriptures in your prayer journal. Suppose you have read a Scripture and want to apply or pray it over your life. For example, let’s say you read a verse about the fruit of the Spirit. You can put the verse in your prayer journal and write an entry about you praying to God that the fruit of the Spirit shall be more evident in your life. You can also include the Scriptures that have ministered to you and pierced you to the marrow of your bones. It is your prayer journal, so it is up to you how you will incorporate scriptures in it. You just have to make sure to handle the word of truth righteously.

2 Timothy 2:15

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

The next one that you can do is have prompted pages in the journal. These are optional, but helpful. Prompts are words, phrases, or questions that guide you or tell you what to write. For example, you can have prompts like, “Prayer?” “Truth?” “Application?”. An example application of those sample prompts is that when you spend solitude with God and read His word and pray, you can write down the truth you have learned when reading the Scriptures, write how you will apply it in your life, and what prayers are in line with those two things you have written. As you can see, you can do your prayer journal without prompts, but having them is helpful and could serve as a guide to your journal entries.

You can also try to categorize things in your prayer journal. You can categorize which ones are answered prayers and which have yet to be answered. You can also categorize your prayers based on what type of prayers they are. Are they prayers for yourself? Your family? Friends? The church? The government? Your career? Each person may have their own way of categorizing things that work best for them, so try to categorize them in a way that works best for you. The main goal is to keep your prayer journal organized.

Lastly, one of the most important things to keep in mind for your journal is to always be disciplined. That means always fighting for your prayer time with God and reading the Bible. The things you write in your prayer journal result from you spending time in solitude with God where you read His word and pray to Him. That also means committing to writing journal entries every time (or most of the time) you spend time with God. It takes effort to start having a prayer journal, and it takes an even more tremendous effort to keep them.

Luke 5:16

And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.

Mark 1:35

And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

Mark 6:46

And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.

With that being said, you may also want to keep your prayer journal with you. It is not only at a specific time and place where you spend solitude with God where you may want to write in your prayer journal. You may be on a bus when you think of something that you can pray for. In that case, it would be helpful if you had your prayer journal with you in order to jot things down right away.

Heavenly Father, You are our Heavenly Father who loves us and takes care of us. Your love is steadfast, and Your mercies are new every morning. I pray for You to give me the grace to pursue intimacy with You continuously. Help me have the discipline of not just starting a prayer journal, but also keeping it. As I start my prayer journal, I pray that I will see Your faithfulness in my life with all the things that You have done for me that I wrote in my journal. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Remember that keeping a prayer journal is about strengthening your relationship with God. We create prayer journals because they allow us to become more intimate with God. It is also essential as the foundation of our intimacy with God in Christ, who died on the cross for our sins, so that we would receive eternal life, forgiveness, and adoption as God’s children in Him.