Writing down our prayers can be a powerful way to engage with God by sharing our praises and requests with Him. As we continue forward in our individual faith journeys, it can be valuable to look back and read through the thoughts and prayers that brought us to where we are.
5 Steps to Organizing a Prayer Journal
1. Set a Pattern
- Decide how and when you will use your prayer journal. Do you require the discipline of writing in it at a fixed time in a regular place? Or do you prefer the freedom of carrying it with you so you can use it whenever? The key element is purposefulness.
2. Record Praise and Intercession
- Keep two running lists: thank you notes to God and requests to bring before Him. While the requests come easier, balance is the focus.
- Leave space for answers and write them in. This can inspire gratitude for some items and perseverance for others.
- Track petitions and praises for those for whom you pray regularly. You will see more clearly how God is using your prayers in their lives and avoid the dangers of spiritual narcissism.
3. Include Personal Worship
- Reserve a special page for permanent prayer items. “Lord, give me the perfect love of 1 Corinthians 13” can’t be fully answered in this lifetime, but it is the sort of prayer God uses to transform you and draw you closer to Himself. Likewise, “Father, thank You for Your great mercy and salvation” is a praise that will never end, and fulfills the high purpose of giving glory to God.
4. Store Treasures
- Collect prayer “gems.” If a sermon expands your understanding of prayer, note the helpful points. If a quotation says it as you’ve never thought of it before, copy it down.
- Keep a list of prayer techniques that will break you out of ruts. These might be anything from “Pray for those suffering every time I hear a siren” to “Try a different prayer posture.”
5. Incorporate “Stones of Remembrance”
- Look back to look forward. Prepare your heart for prayer by reviewing the previous day’s or week’s journal entries. Or devote a special time to talk to God about your recent prayer life—reminding you of what needs prayer and His greatness in hearing you.
- Mark signposts. Several times a year, set aside one or more journal pages for reflections on the impact of prayer in your Christian experience. How has God used prayer in your life? How has prayer deepened your walk with God?
Adapted from Pray! magazine, Issue #2, 1997. Written by Bradley Baurian. Used by permission from NavPress.