How to Start a Prayer Journal

Erica Randal | Have a Seat at My Table

I’m curious, what is the question about prayer that is on your heart today? Maybe you are experiencing some chaos in your life right now. Or a level of uncertainty about a certain aspect in your life?

Maybe, like so many of us, you want to build a relationship with God and as you’ve searched for how to get closer to God you stumbled upon a prayer journal as a way to grow your faith in God.

All of the reasons above are great reasons to begin a prayer journal!

I was about 5 weeks after bringing home my second child and my life was a *tad* chaotic.

I had a newborn, a 2-year-old and I desperately wanted to stay connected with God because I could feel my patience slipping a bit with the season of life I was in.

But every time I laid my head down at night, I couldn’t finish a prayer without falling asleep.

Does that ever happen to you?

You try and connect with Him during the day, but your mind drifts off to the list of things you need to get done, or you are quickly interrupted by little hands that need you.

Your mind just can’t seem to stay focused on God.

Then, after a moment of no patience and an overly tired new mom of 2, I found prayer journaling!

Since then, it has become an incredibly important part of strengthening my relationship with God and I’m going to share with you everything I wish I would have known when I got started!

  • Why you should start a prayer journal
  • How to prayer journal
  • Prayer journal prompts and prayer journal ideas
  • And for those of you who are visual learners like me, I’ll show you a sample prayer journal entry to help you get started
  • How to make a homemade prayer journal (so quick and easy!

Prayer journaling wasn’t a foreign concept to me, but I wasn’t exactly sure how to keep a prayer journal or why it would be so helpful.

Actually, it is safe to say that I was lost when I got started and didn’t know how to prayer journal in the beginning so when I say I’ve got a list of the things I wish I would have known from the beginning, trust me!

Why is Prayer Journaling Helpful?

A few months ago, I found my diary from 5th grade. I was almost brought to tears from laughing so hard at the things I put in there, but I was equally blown away to see the progress I made in the year I had written.

From the first few days of 5th grade to the last few days of 5th grade, I could actually see how far I had grown!

Sometimes our spiritual self needs to see this progress too. This world is busy and complicated. To be honest, we are often moving through our day without a lot of intentional thought, and prayer journaling is a fantastic way to evaluate your spiritual progress!

A prayer journal doesn’t have to be complicated, in fact, I don’t think our relationship with God should be complicated! Using a prayer journal has helped me to focus on a daily connection with God and in return, I have grown in my intimacy with God.

Intimacy with God, being comfortable to be open, honest, and vulnerable is how you get a personal relationship with God! Plain and simple, if you want to build a relationship with God (or strengthen it) you have to be in communication with God and this method has seriously been the best strategy for growing my relationship with God and I know it will help you too!

By keeping a simple yet effective prayer journal, you will love being able to look back 3-6 months and see what you were praying over, what you were celebrating and what was weighing heavy on you during that time.

It never ceases to amaze me that, right there in the middle of my everyday life, God works on our heart and answers our prayers.

Half the time I don’t even recognize when it is happening, but being able to go back and read the progress has only given me more faith and confidence that God is always listening to our prayers.

It also reaffirms to me that His timing is always better than mine.

Why you should start a prayer journal

I like to think God is less worried about you ‘doing it right’ if you are wondering how to keep a prayer journal and is just excited that you have arrived at the point in your life where you want to focus on one of the many ways you can start strengthening your relationship with Him!

How to Prayer Journal in 4 Easy Steps!

  1. Grab an empty notebook
  2. Pick a Verse
    • This can be whatever verse comes to your mind or you can follow along with a daily devotion book.
    • In the beginning, I would generally look for a verse that was in alignment with how I was feeling that day.
    • My season of life when I first started prayer journaling meant a lot of verses around strength, patience, guidance and God’s desire for families.
  3. Write the verse at the top of the page and date the page.
  4. Pray Over This Activity
    Pray however you feel inclined but mine usually sounds like this:

    • “God, thank you for giving me this time to step away from the busyness and spend time with you. Please keep my heart and mind open to your messages. May this verse give me the clarity my heart is seeking, and while I pray specifically for things accordingly to my plan, help me to remember and have faith that your timing and plan is far better than mine.”
  5. Start Writing
    • Write whatever flows to your heart!
    • Write out your prayer, write out your heart like a diary or use something like the SOAP method [see below] if you feel you need more structure. There is no right or wrong answer to how to write a prayer!

Additional Thoughts:

I have found a lot of peace being able to keep my writing free, almost as if I’m writing a letter to God each day. I also like to include 5 daily gratitude and 3 affirmations into my prayer journal each day.

Praise God. Use this day to praise God for who he is.

Write out your specific needs today.

Ask God for guidance on all the decisions you need to make this week, listing them out for him to guide.

Pray over those in your life that you want to grow close to God.

Pray for something you know you need God to help you learn.

Pray for your children/loved ones/family/friends.

As I mentioned before, there is no wrong way to do this 😊

Below is a sample prayer journal entry from my journal. I think that God comes to you when you begin writing and reflecting with him so as you start your own journey, don’t feel like you have to follow this prayer journal template to the exact!

As you can see, I’ve included daily gratitude, and affirmations and I actually used the book of Esther for my inspiration on this day!

Again, there is no ‘right’ way to do your prayer journal- handwriting readability doesn’t matter either, as you can tell from my prayer journal entry examples above 😉

Have fun with it and let your heart lead the way!

How to Make a Homemade Prayer Journal

While you definitely don’t need to have anything fancy to get started with a prayer journal, there are a few free ways to make yours extra special!

Here are a few fun and easy ideas:

Use the first page to write a letter to yourself and explain your why for starting your prayer journal

Use colored tabs to divide your prayer journal into categories such as prayers, scriptures and praise

Map out 30 days of ideas and include an index page

Include a section for monthly reflection questions on your spiritual progress

Keep a section for answered prayers

You can include none, or all of these ideas above! That’s the best part about making a homemade prayer journal, it becomes exactly what your heart needs it to be!

How to Start a Prayer List in your Prayer Journal

Here are 3 simple and effective strategies to help you pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17) by learning how to start a prayer list as you learn how to keep a simple prayer journal:

Take a section of your prayer journal and keep it as a running log of prayers that you feel called to pray for others. Write 1-2 keywords down next to their name and look back over the list often.

Make a section in the daily part of your prayer journal for writing out the specific people/prayers on your heart that day! Some days there are just certain things or people that are really placed on our heart and personally, I prefer to use this method for a prayer list!

Take one day a week and have that day be the day you open up and spend time specifically in prayer for others. FILL UP THE ENTIRE PAGE! Don’t let paper space keep you from pouring out all those who need prayer around you (hint: it is everyone!).

Lack of time is always one of the easiest excuses to cling to. Trust me, a few minutes in the car before I head into the grocery store or using lunchtime at work is always time well spent! We are getting pulled in so many directions it can feel ‘selfish’ to ask for personal time. Don’t let this be one of those times!

How to start a Prayer Journal? Start Today!