Over a decade ago, a friend mentioned how prayer journaling strengthened her prayer life and subsequently, her faith. I was intrigued and asked about her process. Her technique was quite simple—she chose a lined journal, dated each entry, and instead of praying verbally, she wrote them out.
I looked through my stack of journals and chose a lined one that would work well. The next morning, I picked up my pen, but instead of journaling my prayer, I tapped my pen against my chin.
What should I say? How would it read on the page?
Then I realized one important thing that changed my indecision—it didn’t matter.
What is prayer?
Prayer is simply a conversation with God. He longs to have that intimate communication with us. The beauty of our prayers is we can share what’s on our hearts—the good, the bad, the ugly.The beauty of our prayers is we can share what’s on our hearts—the good, the bad, the ugly. Ten ways prayer journaling strengthened my faith. #TellHisStory #prayer #prayerjournaling Click To Tweet
Why prayer journaling?
While developing my prayer journaling habit, I learned several benefits of establishing this spiritual discipline and perhaps they will help you too:
- Prayer journaling gives me focus. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has gotten distracted while praying. My dogs want my attention. My family needs something. My phone chimes. When I’m writing out my prayers, I’m able to maintain my focus.
- Prayer journaling settles my heart. Anxieties tend to take residence in my heart more often than I care to admit. When I open my journal, reach for my pen, and begin to write, I feel God’s presence enveloping me in a hug. Those anxieties fade away as I lay my burdens at His feet.
- Prayer journaling strengthens my faith. The more I pray and catalog God’s work in my life and the lives of those I love, I’m able to sing His praises due to answered prayers. By seeing the tangible evidence, I’m reminded over and over of how God works continually in the lives of those who love Him.
- Prayer journaling reminds me to praise God. It’s so easy to give God a laundry list of needs, and while He does want to know what’s burdening us, He also wants us to love Him and converse with Him for who He is. We need to praise the One who has the highest priority in our lives.
- Prayer journaling helps me to pray for others. When I learn of a prayer need, I make a note and include it in that day’s prayers. It’s so easy to let someone know you’re praying for them, but it’s much more important to follow through and actually pray for that person and their needs.
- Prayer journaling helps me to dig deeper into God’s Word. Often, in my Bible reading, I’ll come across a scripture that speaks to me and usually, a situation I’m dealing with. Coincidence? Of course not. The Lord speaks to us through His Word. By including those verses in my prayer journaling, I’m able to cling to His Truth while walking through whatever circumstances I’m struggling with at the time.
- Prayer journaling helps me to uncover the root of my issues. When I take time to let the Lord know how I’m feeling, I tend to be more vulnerable and dig a little deeper until I discover why I’m feeling a specific emotion. Knowing I can be raw and vulnerable with the Lord allows me to express myself freely, unlocking those feelings I may not be willing to share with someone else.
- Prayer journaling strengthens my writing. As a writer, I love to create realistic characters going through real-life situations. When my characters are working through different emotions, I can channel some of my feelings and reactions into them to ensure their authenticity.
- Prayer journaling helps me to be a better person. By choosing this spiritual discipline, I’m being vulnerable and open to the Lord’s refining grace. Truth be told, at times, I really hate walking through the storms, but I know I’m never alone. As I come out on the other side, I can see growth and maturity that seeps into my relationship with God, my husband, my family, and my friends.
- Prayer journaling helps to focus my time. Let’s face it—there are so many things pulling at our time and attention. By enforcing a daily quiet time, we can center our hearts and minds on the One who holds that time in His hands. While it’s great to make plans and set S.M.A.R.T. goals, we need to surrender all of it to the One who orders our steps.
Where do I begin?
If you’re interested in prayer journaling, keep it simple:
- Choose a notebook or journal and a favorite pen. I chose a journal from my bookshelf that had been a gift and one of my favorite pens.
- Choose a time without distractions. I’m a morning person, so my best time for journaling is usually at breakfast. While nourishing my body, I’m also feeding my soul.
- Choose your setting. I like having room to write, so I write at my dining room table. I can spread out my Bible, my prayer journal, devotional, and pens.
- Choose a practice. I’ll begin by reading my daily devotional, my Bible, and end by prayer journaling. When I pray, I do the A.C.T.S. of praying:
- A is for adoration. Let God know how much you love Him.
- C is for confession. Release those things that keep God at a distance.
- T is for thanksgiving. Praise God for all the abundant blessings in your life.
- S is for supplication. Ask God to supply your needs.
Prayer journaling may not be for everyone. I’ve found a lot of value in this practice. My favorite thing is to read through past entries and marvel at the abundance of God’s blessings and the way He’s worked in my life.
Your Turn: Are you a prayer journaler? How has this practice benefited you?Ten Ways Prayer Journaling Strengthened My Faith #prayerjournaling #prayer #tellhisstory Click To Tweet
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Lisa, there are times I must write my prayers to get them out of my head. You’ve listed some wonderful blessings that I too have enjoyed.
Debbie, I’m glad you enjoyed what I shared. Getting them out of our heads helps us to remember God’s faithfulness.
I haven’t written my prayers, but this gives some compelling reasons to do so. I know often writing helps me think through an issue, so it stands to reason writing out prayers would do the same thing.
Barbara, writing things out helps me to think through the issue too. Sometimes writing out my prayers helps me to untangle my words when I’m going through a difficult time.
One of my older friends, a mentor mom, died a few years ago. Her sons read from her prayer journal at her funeral – and I thought about how I ought to do that – to start a prayer journal. I can see myself moving closer to starting that. I have a project I need to finish first – and then I want to start doing that.
Maryleigh, I love the idea of having a prayer journal read at a funeral. What a beautiful spiritual legacy.
I find great benefit when I journal my prayers. I go through seasons where I do it more or less often than others. The past few months I’ve been in a heavy season of journaling prayers. I feel God reach me in a different level when I’m writing in general, and even more so when I’m praying/writing. Thanks for sharing this encouragement!
Lisa, I agree with you–I can feel God’s presence on a different level when I write out my prayers. It’s almost a bit more intimate because I’m truly focused on what I’m writing.
I miss the freedom of effortless handwriting. Right now I am trying to adapt to some new approaches to recording prayers and thoughts.
Michele, recording prayers is a lovely way to converse with God too. I really like that idea as well.
It has been a long time since I have written out my prayers in a disciplined way. It may just be time to begin doing so once again. Thank you for this encouragement !
Joanne, I’m glad you found my words encouraging. Writing out prayers takes more time and focus than speaking them, but I feel a deeper connection when I do it.
Lisa, such a blessing in your words today. I’ve heard of prayer journaling, but your explanation and expereince make it seem more attainable for me. I have a feeling I would do the same thing you did at first, stare at the blank page! But truly I know the value of recording prayers, and dedicating this time to God, thank you!
My biggest problem of course being the arthritis in my hands that makes handwriting one of the most difficult things I do.
Donna, I completely understand about arthritis in your hands. I have it too. I’m picky about which pens I use. When I’m done, my fingers do ache a bit. So I have to limit my prayers to a two-page spread in my journal.
Yes, I am a prayer journaller Lisa! Although I must admit that has lessened recently to that of increased verbal prayer.
Thank you for the reminder 🤗 I too find it calmed & relaxed me allowing God’s peace to reign.
Jennifer, yes, it’s very calming and relaxing. My whole thought process changes when I do prayer journaling.
Lisa, I like this message so much. I’ve practiced journaling over the last few decades–sometimes on and off. But I especially enjoy writing out a heartfelt prayer to the Lord that usually includes most of what you mention here. It absolutely settles my heart, but some things you bring out that I never thought of include: gives me focus, uncovers the root of my issues, and helps to focus my time. Thank you for this, I’m bookmarking it so I can look back over it.
Karen, I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. I love writing, but I wasn’t really doing much journaling until I started prayer journaling. Now I’m working to make it a daily discipline.
I found myself nodding the whole way through, Lisa. The only difference is that I type my prayers on my downstairs computer, first thing in the morning, rather than write them by hand. I’ve been doing this for a whole lotta years; it’s the only way I can stay focused when I pray. I rarely look back at any of my prayers, but when I want to remember a specific date something happened, I can usually find it by searching my prayer files. It’s a wonderful way to look back and remember God’s faithfulness—I should do it more often. 🙂
Lois, typing out your prayers is a form of prayer journaling–you’re simply using a computer instead of a pen. I love being reminded of God’s faithfulness, especially during those challenging times in my life.
I have years of prayer journals stuffed into a file cabinet drawers but it’s been years since I’ve written or read through them. I find them painful and ponderous to look at even though they were a life-saver at the time.
Thankfully, God is creative and kind and keeps showing me new ways to connect with Him. I’m so grateful …