I remember how difficult it was to figure out the whole “prayer” thing when I became a Christian. It was a challenge to organize my thoughts and present them to God in a way that it felt like He could hear me.
Until one day, I was cleaning out my closet and came across a blank notebook with Bible verses my grandmother had gifted me years before. I had been familiar with the idea of prayer journaling but had never considered what it would be like to actually write out what I bring to the Lord in prayer. I decided to try it out. Over time, prayer journaling has become a fruitful aspect of my walk with the Lord.
One of my favorite Bible verses is Philippians 4:6: “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” To be honest, I fall way short of obeying this command of bringing everything to the Lord in prayer. But I have found that writing out my prayers is a great way to organize my thoughts and keep track of how God is answering my requests.
5 tips for prayer journaling
Prayer journaling will look different for everyone, but here are five tips to get you started and help you make the most of this habit.
Tip 1: Be organized.
I’ve found that if I don’t make a specific plan for how I’ll carry out a task, it’ll never get done. One way I’ve seen success is to develop a plan that’s easy to follow.
Schedule a time every day that will allow for undistracted prayer journaling. Do your best to stick with this until it becomes part of your daily routine. Also, try coming up with specific categories you want to journal about (e.g., praise reports, friends and family, sin struggles, personal needs, etc.). You don’t have to pray for each category every day, but having explicit goals about what you want to regularly bring before the Lord will help you stay intentional in all these areas.
Tip 2: Don’t be too organized.
While structure and organization are important, don’t overdo it! Leave room for spontaneous prayer and allow the Lord to lead your time with Him by not being overly set on a rigid schedule. Sometimes, there will be things you want to pray about that just don’t fit in your standard requests.
Remember: The Lord knows your heart and desires you to draw near to Him in every circumstance (James 4:8). Even if your prayers aren’t always neat and tidy, use your prayer journal as an outlet to express your thoughts to the God who listens.
Tip 3: Be vulnerable.
Jesus says your Heavenly Father already knows what you need before you ask (Matthew 6:8), so don’t hold back your honesty and vulnerability in the prayers you write down. Your prayer journal is between you and the Lord.
It can be hard to share all of the difficult things we go through with our peers, because we’re afraid it might change how they think of us. But God knows us down to our innermost being and He loves us just the same. Allow your prayer journal to be a motivator to bring your deepest concerns to the Lord and trust that He is always faithful to answer.
Tip 4: Spend time in the Word.
One of the things I love most about the Psalms is that they serve as great inspiration for how believers ought to pray to the Lord. The more I saturate my mind with what the Bible says, the more I know what God’s will is for me and what I should be asking for. Spending intentional time reading God’s Word every day will renew your mind to desire the things He desires. Over time, you will see the language of Scripture being expressed in your written prayers.
Tip 5: Go back and read your past prayers.
One of the greatest blessings of prayer journaling is a written record of the prayers that have been on your heart the most. Taking time to go back and read through what you’ve written will help you see how God has been faithful to answer and how you have been growing through these prayers over time.
This is a great way to protect us from forgetting God as the source of all of our blessings and allows us to have a thankful heart for all the ways He answers prayer.
However your prayer journaling routine may look, no amount of prayer is too much. The Bible tells us to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Being intentional to keep a disciplined prayer journaling habit will help you regularly bring all your desires to God and allow Him to work out His perfect will in your life.
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Niko Tomc grew up in Jupiter, Florida and loves to travel and explore outdoors. He currently attends the University of Notre Dame as a Junior studying Political Science and Digital Marketing. Upon graduation, he hopes to move back to South Florida, get plugged into his home church, Grace Immanuel Bible Church, and work at a digital marketing agency. You can find Niko on Instagram (@nikotomc_), Twitter (@niko_tomc), and TikTok (@nikotomc).