How a Prayer Journal Can Help You be Fully Present with God
Using a prayer journal can help you organize your thoughts and keep you engaged with Jesus instead of letting your daily to-do list seep into your prayer life.
Starting a prayer journal is a practical way to draw closer to Jesus so that you can be filled with the peace that only He can give you.
What is a Prayer Journal
Think of a prayer journal as a space for a personal conversation with Jesus because that's essentially what it is. You're putting down your thoughts, appreciation, concerns, and joy.
A prayer journal creates a way to drown out the world around you so you can focus on your time with Jesus.
Benefits of Starting a Prayer Journal
Writing in a prayer journal is a great way to slow down and reflect on what's going on in your life. Journaling forces you to be present because it's hard to write down words and have five other thoughts in your head.
- A time to slow down and connect with Jesus.
- Writing in a prayer journal helps ground you in the present moment. It allows you to give your full undivided attention to Jesus.
- It can also help you uncover themes and patterns happening in your life.
- Maybe a couple of weeks go by, and you keep having issues with similar things. Perhaps that's the traffic around you, issues you keep having with your kids or last-minute deadlines at work. By jotting these thoughts in your prayer journal, you'll start to see themes emerge, like the example above could point to you finding yourself short on patience. Once you recognize those themes, you can speak with Jesus and ask him to shed light on how he's refining you.
- You may notice the same Scripture keeps popping up throughout your week. Maybe it's in a daily devotional, and then you hear it on the radio. Scripture is living and active, and when I see the same Scripture come up again and again, I add it to my prayer journal and talk to Jesus about it.
- Prayer journals also provide a way to look back and see your Spiritual growth. There's something wonderful about looking back on how you responded to different situations and seeing that you’ve progressed Spiritually.
- The most powerful thing a prayer journal can give you is a written record of all the times you know Jesus was helping you.
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The Most Powerful Thing You Can Record in Your Prayer Journal
Maybe you've experienced times like I have where you've been discouraged in your prayer life, and you start to wonder...
- Has Jesus even heard my prayer?
- Why are things taking so long?
- Does God really care about my thoughts and concerns?
I've thought all of those things before. But Scripture reminds me that we are not alone in our doubts. I think of the people that were a part of seeing the Red Sea separated, yet there were times that they doubted too. How miraculous must it have been to see the waters parted for them? And yet, in the midst of the daily struggles, they questioned God's motives and what he could do for them.
And if I'm being honest, I've had moments of doubts, too. But that's where having a prayer journal has been so helpful for me.
I've started a practice of journaling moments that I am confident God is working in my day. I call them my WOW moments. WOW stands for a witness of wonder. These are the times that some people might call a strange coincidence, but I know that it was Jesus working directly in my life. I write them down, so I never forget the times I've seen Him working in my life.
Now, when I feel discouraged about my prayers going unanswered or uncertain about something, I'll go back through and read my WOW moments. And it's then that I'm reminded that He was there for me then and I can trust that He is still with me now.
I’ve found peace and hope from wrting those moments down and I think you could too. So write down your WOW moments. Keep them in your prayer journal. Then if you start to doubt, or you don't feel as close to Him, go back and see all the times he's been there for you and ask for his help to see Him now.
What You Need to Start a Prayer Journal
All you need is a blank notebook and a pen. If you want to make it a little fancier, you can get some highlighters, washi tape, and anything else that will make the process fun.
Just use whatever will make you excited to write in it. If you're interested in downloading a free journal template that I use, you can do that at the beginning or end of this post. Below is a sample of one of the template pages.
Ideas of What to Put in Your Prayer Journal
- A place for praying for a friend or a family member.
- A spot to pray for growth in a particular area of your life. This could be patience, compassion, understanding, etc.
- An idea of how you can serve Him today. This could be by being kind to a stranger, taking a meal to someone that is sick, etc.
- Jot down a note of thanks for something or someone you are grateful for.
- I like to pick a part of Scripture and write a verse or two. Then I underline or highlight a word that sticks out to me. After that, I’ll write down what that passage teaches me about God’s character.
- I heard about approaching Scripture this way on a podcast from She Reads Truth. Ever since I started asking what a particular Scripture passage teaches me about Jesus, I’ve found Him to be kind, generous, and loving.
- I always keep a space for the themes that come up throughout my week (repeated Scripture passages, if I’m short on patience, etc.).
- I'll jot down thoughts on a daily Scripture passage.
I hope you’ll give starting a prayer journal a try. I think you’ll find it an effective way to be fully present when speaking with Jesus.