Prayer can be such a battleground. Do you know why? Satan knows that as Christians we so desperately need to connect with the Lord and draw strength from Him. So, the devil fights us on this. Oh, it may not look like a fight. It may come across as a simple thought such as “I’m too busy,” or “I don’t know what to pray about,” or “I’ll do it later when I have more time.” Sound like the voice of experience? It is. But recently the Lord has been giving me greater victory in this area. It’s certainly not my strength but His. And He wants to do the same for you! One of the tools He has been using to help me is a prayer journal. And today I’m going to tell you how you can start a prayer journal for yourself.
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
How To Start a Prayer Journal
If you are struggling in your prayer life and wondering how to start a prayer journal and if it would even help, then keep reading. First, it does not have to be complicated to keep a prayer journal. In fact, I don’t think it should be complicated.
Typically the more simple something is, the more likely we are to use it. And the goal here is to spend more time in prayer. The prayer journal is not the end goal. It is just the tool to take us to Jesus’ feet.
As you read through how to use this prayer journal, keep in mind that you don’t have to use every category. In fact, it would probably be best to just start with the first 4 categories. Add in the others later if you would like. To be honest, I don’t even use every page right now. Start simple and small!
Start by downloading and printing out the prayer journal. When you download the prayer journal, you can find printing directions inside. Then choose a binder or discs and assemble your prayer journal. I like to include mine in my planner to have everything in one place, but this is optional according to your preference.
One prayer category I did not include in the journal is confession. This is an important part of prayer, but you don’t necessarily need to write anything down. However, it is important to have a time of heart-searching. Ask the Lord to show you hidden sins. Confess and repent of your sins before Him, and ask Him to change you.
Oh, and one more thing before I dive in and tell you how this prayer journal works. There is a tool a lot more important than a prayer journal that can help your prayer life. What is it? Prayer!
Yes, the secret to prayer is prayer. If you are serious about having a prayer life, ask the Lord for strength and help in prayer. Put that at the top of your prayer list. Every time you begin to pray, ask Him to teach you to pray and to pray through you. He will!
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Prayer Journal Category 1: Praising the Lord
The first category to add to your prayer journal is praise! One of the most important parts of prayer is praising our God for Who He is. He is worthy of all praise! I use this category to write down praises during my devotions. Some days I may be thankful to God for His mercy. Other days I might be extra thankful for His righteousness and holiness. These are all things that I can write down.
You don’t have to think up all of these praises either. The Bible is an excellent source of reasons to praise the Lord. Recently I was reading Psalm 18, and I found several things to add to my list. For example, verse 1 says, “I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.” From that you could write down ‘You are my strength.’ Verse 2 says, “The Lord is my rock.” Write down, ‘You are my rock.’
Verse 35 has so many beautiful truths in it. “Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.” Some things to write down from this verse would be, ‘Your right hand holds me up,’ and ‘Your gentleness made me great.’
Another way to add things to your list is to think through or look up the names of God. His names tell us different things about Who He is.
As you add to your list in your prayer times, continue looking back over what you have written in your prayer journal in the past. Continue praising the Lord for these things He has shown you about Himself. Be encouraged in Who He is and in His great goodness!
Our God is so great, and there is no danger of us ever running out of things to praise Him for. We are going to be doing it for all eternity!
It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night.
Prayer Journal Category 2: Thanking the Lord
As that last verse said, it is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord as well as to praise Him. This second section in your prayer journal is for you to write down things that you are thankful for.
These may be things that have happened in your life, gifts from God, or just anything that you want to thank the Lord for. Everything we have comes from the Lord, and it is important to show Him our gratitude!
Keep adding to your list, but also continue to look back over the things that you have written in the past. Continue thanking God for them and let them encourage your heart as you look back on some of the many blessings you have received from Him.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Prayer Journal Category 3: Daily Requests
This section is for the people that God has especially impressed upon your heart. My daily requests on my prayer list include my family members, myself, some friends, and some people who need to find salvation in Jesus Christ.
I encourage you to not make this list too long. If you do, it may cause you to feel overwhelmed and hinder you from getting started. Once you get started, it is quite possible that you will want to keep going and talk about more things than what you have on the list. Plus, you have your prayer list, which is the next section.
Since you don’t want to make your daily requests list too long, you could fill in some details in the extra space. For example, on the left, you could write the name of the person you want to pray for: ‘John.’ On the right, you could put ‘salvation and health.’ These can remind you of some of the things you want to pray about for John.
Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Prayer Journal Category 4: Prayer List
Something similar to this section is probably what first entered your mind when you wondered how to start a prayer journal. Most prayer journals have very specific categories for prayer requests. I think it can be easier to keep prayer requests in a broad category. Otherwise, you may have some overlap and wonder which category some requests belong in.
Your prayer list will most likely be much longer than your daily requests. It can be as many pages as you want it to be. But don’t try to fill it out all at once.
Just start writing down the requests the Lord lays on your heart, and continue adding to it as you think of more. My prayer list is mostly people, but there are also other things such as a radio ministry and the persecuted Christians around the world.
The requests on your prayer list will usually be long-term and general. For example, you might put ‘Jennifer’ on your prayer list. If Jennifer is sick, you wouldn’t put that on the list. That would go under current requests. The prayer list is a general reminder of the people that you want to hold up on a regular basis.
Unlike with the daily requests, you will probably not pray through the entire prayer list in your prayer journal each day. Especially over time, it may get quite long. Instead, what I like to do is use a magnetic bookmark. I put the bookmark on the side of the page so that it can point to where I am on the list. That way the next time I pray, I can pick up where I left off. Once you reach the end of the list, just start over!
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Prayer Journal Category 5: Current Requests
Now we are getting to the prayer journal section where you can write down specific requests. You are at church. During the prayer request time, someone asks for prayer for their friend who has just been diagnosed with cancer. When you get home, you write down that prayer request as well as the date. Then you pray for that request during your prayer times.
That request will remain on your list until you get an answer. Sometimes the answer may not be what we would hope for, but God does always answer prayer. And He always does what is best. This is why we should pray and ask that the Lord’s will be done.
Once you have an answer, you can write that down and write down the date you received the answer. Sometimes the date of the answer may not be clear, but you can pick a general date. And, quite often these answers to prayer might be something that you would want to add to your list of thanksgivings!
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
1 John 5:14-15
Prayer Journal Category 6: Bible Verses to Pray
It can be helpful to have some guidance about what to pray. And what better place to get guidance from than God’s Word?!
You open up your prayer journal and see that today you are supposed to pray for your friend Amy. It just so happens that you haven’t talked to Amy for a little while, so you aren’t sure how to specifically pray for her. So, you turn over to your list of Bible verses and decide to pray specifically that Amy will have each one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit displayed in her life.
This is just one example of how you can pray through Scripture. You might see Colossians 4:5 and pray, “Dear Lord, please help Amy to walk in wisdom and redeem the time today.”
There are so many Scripture passages you can use to pray for people. I think that the armor of God is another great passage to use. Really, there are so many verses and passages that we can use as prayer prompts. Write down some of your favorites and continue to add to the list as you discover more in your Bible reading.
Bible verses can also be used in praising the Lord. You can write down verses that talk about praising Him and verses that list some of His attributes. Yes, the Bible is definitely the best prayer book that we could have.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
How to Start Your Prayer Journal Today
So, there you have some tips on how to start your prayer journal. Are you ready to print out your prayer journal and start today? I hope so! Like I said at the beginning, don’t try to use all the pages at one time. Just work through them a little at a time, getting familiar with them.
And, you don’t need to try to fill them up all at once. They are meant to be added to over time as the Lord continues to teach you and bring things to your mind.
There is also a page with no title included in the prayer journal. Are you someone who likes to write out prayers? This could be used for that or for making a custom category that you need.
- Pray and ask the Lord for His help in building your personal prayer life. As Jesus’ disciples did, say, “Lord, teach me to pray.” Print out the prayer journal and find a binder or discs to use to set it up.
- Start using the first 4 categories. Once you have used those for a few days, you can start writing on the other pages as well. Keep it simple and don’t fill your daily requests section too full. Remember, you are not limited to what you write on that page. You could call that (along with praise and thanksgiving) the bare minimum that you pray for each day.
- Continue using your prayer journal and spending time with the Lord. I have learned my daily requests section so well that I can pray through most of it without having my journal handy. With time you probably will too. You may not get to use your journal every day, but don’t let that stop you from having your prayer time. Even if you can’t do as much some days, still look to the Lord, and in His strength do what He enables you to do!
Do you have a prayer journal? Did this post give you any ideas on how to start a prayer journal? If you have any questions about how to use this prayer journal, please comment and let me know so that I can get back to you!
Until next time, pray without ceasing!