The idea of making a prayer journal came to me one day when I was praying, ironic enough. It occurred to me that I was praying the same prayer time after time, and most of my thanksgivings and requests were general and vague. As bad as that made me feel, it was incredibly reassuring to be reminded that “my Father knows what I need before I ask him” (Matthew 6:8).
More than that, Jesus taught us HOW to pray in the verses that immediately followed. (Side note: The Lord’s Prayer can be used as an outline for ALL prayers, and I think that is exactly what Jesus was teaching when he spoke the prayer—pretty amazing!)
We have an amazing God, but when I felt that my prayers with Him were getting stale, I knew that He was trying to tell me something huge. Even though He knows what is on my heart always, my relationship with Him was not growing. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16 His Word tells us to:
“Pray without ceasing.”
God wanted me to talk to Him—to tell him everything and to take the time to pray about and for everything.
When I first began using my prayer journal I had a mild wave of panic wash over me. As I started writing verses, names, places, requests, frustrations, disappointments, love notes, and thanksgivings one thought came to mind—there is SO MUCH I should be praying about and there isn’t enough time. Prayer all of a sudden seemed so much more urgent and important. And a prayer journal is just the tool to help keep that panic at bay, all while preserving a beautiful record of my time with God.
How to Make a Prayer Journal
- Find a notebook that opens comfortably and has a good amount of pages.
- Keep the first page blank for now. I use the first page to write a few key verses that have impacted me—that way I can see them easily when I open my journal.
- Tab off as many sections as you want! I have about 20 pages for each of these: me, my husband, each of my kids, family/relatives, friends/acquaintances, and community/others. I found that when I focus on people and relationships, the events and situations that I need to pray about tie in easily.
Ways to Use a Prayer Journal
- Keep it next to you while you read your bible, do a bible study, or devotional. Write down scripture that you would like to pray over later.
- Carry your journal with you, or keep it in a convenient spot so you can write down prayer requests, or prayer thoughts quickly and easily.
- PRAY! Open up your journal and pray over those scriptures, people, and anything else!
- Record dates and thoughts of your time in prayer with God.
- Record ANSWERED prayers! God is so good!
It seemed strange at first to write prayer “ideas” down and then pray about them later. But once I got over that initial weird feeling of doing something different, a gigantic weight was lifted. I used my journal as a place to jot down all my thoughts that were weighing heavy on me, and then with the weight lifted could “pray without ceasing, “ and taking everything to God. All the stress of our world—placed on our Savior over and over because He desires us to be with Him in prayer. One of my favorite verses about prayer that shows what a loving and gracious God we were created by and for is from Phillippians 4:6-7:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He had done. Then you will experience Gods peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”