Keeping a Prayer Journal

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Recently a hubber posed a question in a forum about the value of saving old journals from your past. I thought I'd write a hub about it. I have always kept prayer journals. I have prayer journals stored in my closet from as far back as 1974. I journaled sporadically over the years but treasure the prayers and memories of what God has brought me through and all the times He has blessed me. They are a monument, an altar, if you will, and a testimony of God's powerful work in my life.

Journal in a way that feels natural

My prayer journals are not just lists and brief little prayers like "Dear Lord, we need money for our house payment," followed by "Mortgage payment paid, praise the Lord, such and such date." I write them conversationally, just as most people journal to themselves or "Dear Diary." I do this because I communicate best in writing and I just can't seem to help myself. We should journal in a way that feels natural to us.

In some seasons I would write down a Scripture that had spoken to me and then proceeded to tell God what it meant to me, what I saw Him doing in my life in light of that Scripture. Most of my journaling was free writing. Sometimes I would be talking away to the Lord and the Holy Spirit would bring a verse to mind and God would begin to speak to me and through me as I wrote. He would give me little epiphanies, ah ha moments.

I have pages and pages of crying out to the Lord of my pain,frustrations, fears and confusion. I have pages and pages of praise and adoration to the Lord for just being who He is, and for answering my prayers.

I think I have always been drawn to journal to the Lord because most of the time, talking to myself does not have many benefits. Going before the Lord, I know someone, God, is listening with undivided attention. Don't you sometimes feel the need to bare your soul to someone who cares but it's too private to share with anyone? That's why I journal; I want someone to listen and keep my secrets.

The benefits of prayer journaling

To be brief, most any kind of prayer has benefits. But to elaborate, here are some ways I have benefited from writing my prayers.

  • I am able to focus better when I write out my prayers, and am far less vulnerable to distractions and sleepiness.
  • I don't get bored. When I am writing my prayers conversationally, I am stimulated and enjoying myself because I am praying in a way that is easiest for me and about things that are most dear to my heart.
  • I forget about time. I don't feel that pressure of "Oh, only five minutes have gone by? I should be praying a lot longer." God does not use a stopwatch of course, no matter what method we use to pray, and we shouldn't pressure ourselves with guilt-ridden efforts of praying long. That being said, time flies when I am writing away. Sometimes however, I only journal a paragraph and feel I have said enough in that moment in time.
  • It doesn't feel like a duty. I enjoy communicating through the written word so it is a full pleasure for me to write. I may skip days or weeks, or write every day. When I don't write, it is in those times that I choose to talk to God using my voice.
  • My thoughts come together more clearly when I write. Perhaps part of this is because of the "less distracted" issue, but as a writer my thoughts have always been communicated better on paper, not just to my audience (which in this case is God), but also to myself.
  • I don't have to edit. Journaling is writing exercise where I don't have to edit what I say, how I say it, or worry about spelling and grammar. And of course we never have to edit our prayers no matter how we pray. God knows what we're going to say before we even say it. And if we do say something to God we regret, we ask for forgiveness and move on.
  • I feel completely satisfied (almost always) that I have communicated everything I wanted to say.
  • I hear God speak to me better when I write, with the exception of when I read God's Word.

The blessings of reading past journals

For some people reading old journals may be painful if the issues that caused them pain have not been resolved, and if they were not directed toward God. I enjoy going back and looking through my journals for numerous reasons.

First of all, I can look back and see how far I have grown since the days long ago. This always amazes me. It gives me great hope that I will continue to grow in the love and knowledge of God.

Secondly, I can see how God answered all those prayers. It gives me hope, also, to know that nothing lasts forever in regards to hard times. I will read an entry where I was crying out to God about something that was filling me with pain and fear and remember how it felt like the situation would last forever, or never have a good outcome. Nothing of course did last forever, and some of the prayers were not answered in the way I had hoped or thought they would, but I realize that I am at peace about it.

Another blessing of looking back is to re-experience of joyful moments in my life. My oldest son just gave his heart to the Lord at Easter this year and I found the journal entries of the day of his birth, and through the first few days afterward, and sent them to him. I also found a poem the Lord had impressed me to write about him during his school years. It was a time of joyful reflection for both of us.

One last thing, and it may not necessarily sound so good, but I can see where I was in a dark place with a bad attitude, sense of defeat, or utter despair, and be thankful I am no longer there. And, I learn from reading it what was wrong with my thinking, attitude, and behavior.

In the end, I can say, like Jeremiah in Lamentaions 3:21-24, Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends. His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”

The Psalms are blessed example of a prayer journal.

The book of Psalms is a beautiful example of prayer journaling. I so appreciate that David and the few other Psalm writers were able to put down all their angst and joy, and everything in between, so that the world for generations to come could read and meditate on them and say, "Yes Lord, amen to that. That is just how I feel."

What a gift and a testimony the Psalms are to anyone who will read them. God ordained these beautiful song/prayers so that we might find hope and know Him better. How wonderful of Him and the writers to allow us to hear their hearts of anxiety and praise.

Would keeping a prayer journal something you would like to do?

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Choose your own form of prayer journal

Why not begin a prayer journal of your own? I guarantee God will bless you. There are so many different types of prayer journals to be found if you prefer a little inspiration and guidance. There are journals with a scripture to meditate on and space to respond; there are topical journals, such as a gratitude prayer journal; there are journals in which an author gives you reading and writing exercises. There is nothing wrong, either, with grabbing a little school notebook and writing whatever you want. If you are a list person, go for it. If you like to write brief little prayers or write down prayer requests with a record of answers, that's great. Do what feels right to you. Now may God bless you as you pray in word, song, or pen.

"Beautiful words stir my heart.
I will recite a lovely poem about the king,
for my tongue is like the pen of a skillful poet" (Psalm 45:1). NLT


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Comments 25 comments

Dreamsinger profile image

Dreamsinger 4 years ago from New Zealand

Thanks for sharing Lori what a great hub! I too love journalling - particularly not having to edit my thoughts! It seems to clarify things for me when it is in print and as you say, it is wonderful looking back through the years and seeing how far you have come on this wonderful adventure with Him!


carriethomson profile image

carriethomson 4 years ago from United Kingdom

well to sit and see back what had happen in the past and how one over come that situation..........it seems that after a lot struggle we are at this stage.........all this happen due to our prayer....thanks for sharing your beautiful experience with us


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 4 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

lambservant: This is a beautiful way to show God how strong your belief and your faith is in Him, keeping a record of your prayers, and how God has answered them.

Thank you.


Lady Summerset profile image

Lady Summerset 4 years ago from Willingboro, New Jersey

Greetings lambservant, I have journals that go decades back and I happened to glance at them sitting on a top shelf in one of my closets. Didn't have the courage to review the past but there is a lot of experiences in them. I'm an avid journaler and the idea of a specific journal for prayer is stimulating. Thanks for a wonderful hub.


North Wind profile image

North Wind 4 years ago from The World (for now)

Hey lambservant,

I actually started to journal my prayers last year when someone I know mentioned it and said how helpful it could be. It really has helped a lot as I find that I can express myself more to God and I feel like I am writing letters to Him.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest Author

Lady S, not everyone will find looking back through old journals fulfilling. Looking back on a painful time can take you back and bring up icky stuff. But continuing in the habit of journaling is a good thing in our lives, so happy writing.

NW, I find I express myself best to God this way too. Thank you all for stopping by.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

I have always wanted to keep a prayer journal, a personal journal too. I start and then leave it behind. I may try again. Your sounds so helpful and beautiful.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest Author

HB, journaling isn't for everyone. I go seasons when I don't journal at all. Only as the Spirit moves.


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 4 years ago from Michigan

Lori, I have written out prayers from time to time. You've just motivated me to pick it up again. It is amazing to see how much clearer my prayers are when I write them out and as you say, the process is so delightful and consuming that I get lost in it.

Thanks for writing on such an important topic; I'm sure there are many who have never tried it.

God Bless and keep you close to His heart!

Mekenzie


lambservant profile image

lambservant 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest Author

Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments Mekenzie. I am glad you feel re-motivated. Prayer journeying is an amazing and cathartic thing to do and draws you ever closer to Christ. Blessings.


bettybarnesb profile image

bettybarnesb 4 years ago from Bartlett, TN

Oh My God! Reading your hub took me back to childhood and especially my teenage years when I keep journals. Now I just write so I have numerous composition notebooks that I use. I suppose in some ways they too may be considered as prayer journals. You are a very good writer. You stay with your subject and relate your thoughts very well. Enjoyed your article.

Be blessed....


lambservant profile image

lambservant 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest Author

Thank you betty. Happy and blessed writing and praying.


ElleBee 4 years ago

These are great ideas! Even as someone who has kept a prayer journal in the past (though admittedly not as diligently as I should) you were able to point out new benefits to prayer journaling that I hadn't thought of before!


lambservant profile image

lambservant 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest Author

Ellebee (what a cute name) I am glad I could help. Happy journaling.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 4 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

LS, Something strange is going on with my notifications. I knew nothing about this hub or your most recent. Glad I caught this one though--a lot of good, practical stuff that everyone can use. thanks for the post.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest Author

LG, contact Hupages through their forum questions. Perhaps they can fix it.


Joseph Ndhlovu 4 years ago

Thanks for the wonderful post.I so much enjoy talking to the Lord in writing.


Rayne123 3 years ago

Great post again, I loved it

I myself keep a journal of what I say or want to say to God, ST. Teresa and so on. I have kept my thoughts on paper and online. God hears and sees everything.

God as always led me to my answer in some form, it is rather cool. He has actually wrote things on my computer and led me to pictures.

Like children and adults we all have different personalities and require different ways of doing things, so like God he deals with each and everyone of us differently according to our personalities.

Some may know that a feather is their sign while to others it means nothing.

He will guide your thoughts to understanding and communicating with him


lambservant profile image

lambservant 3 years ago from Pacific Northwest Author

Nice to hear from you again Rayne. I love journaling my prayers. It keeps me focused and I am really able to spill it out. God bless.


Rayne123 3 years ago

I just want to let you know that my name is Laurie

May I ask yours

Thank you


lambservant profile image

lambservant 3 years ago from Pacific Northwest Author

Lori.


Laurie 3 years ago

HI Lori

I really enjoyed your post. I myself have a journal that I have put my thoughts into, whether it be fear, sadness, loneliness or even anger, gladness. I have said it all to God. However I have not kept one that far back and I wish I did. I have always lived by Gods signs and symbols when I wanted to ask him something and he has pulled through all the time.

I would forget to thank him at times but then I tell him if I forgot to thank you for this and that I thank you now from the bottom of my heart. Actually my journal is a mess and it has other stuff in it, so reading this is a sign for me to start again.


Rayne123 3 years ago

HI again, I really did not get to finish my post sorry, I entered by mistake, anyway as I was saying, I would/am going to start again as God as promised me a big change which is happening in my life now. I been through enough and he has wanted me to put something down for something better.

I also have journals on my pc not only to God but to St. Teresa and the Angels, however I feel that on paper for some reason it is much more personal (just my opinion) On my pc I was able to add pictures to the journal as I am not a good drawer and not a good speller I am finding out. So thank God I don't really have to edit with God.

I think my spelling teacher lied to me lol, she told me I was the best speller and would always win the spelling bees lol. She may have not known her words either lol. I suck at spelling

Its funny how you said God has led you to say things, or write things, through him as he also wrote a poem through me meant for someone. God talks to me often and has visited me on occasions.

I have been asking him to actually speak to me through his voice and I really want to hear him talk it would make things so much easier.

I tell him everything I rat everything out to him lol, I think he thinks I am a confused little crazy girl sometimes. He may just be right as you said God knows every single thing, where we all our what our names are, what we are even going to be doing in the next minute. He sets us all of us up for what he has planned and he gets us there.

As one of his bible quotes states, not exact though however Man may have many paths, but the Lords plan will prevail.

That God is pretty smart and I believe he wanted me to open this page. I have not been on this site for a while. I do keep getting them in my emails but just never opened them for some reason.

I have counted on the heavens all my life now.

Angels and our creator have taken me through a bad accident and actually I had warnings from an Angel for a week before however I just wasn't getting what it was. I was brought closer to the heavens on account of this. That could be the reason for it. I am very very close to the angelic realm and God. I am going to be used a lightworker, the messages are clear.

Actually strange as it may seem (well not really ) I feel like I have to write a hub on my accident as it is an amazing story.

So with all that said, I really enjoyed your post and actually I am about to read or later when I feel a bit better (woke up not feeling so well) the kids saying the funniest things.

Good luck with everything and God bless you

Laurie


Jokarenk profile image

Jokarenk 2 years ago from Addison, NY

Great hub! I started journaling for prayers and it is so good to be able to have them to go back and look at what was written down, what you talked about and also a good reference when God brings up something that he previously had said to you before. I really enjoyed this, thank you!


lambservant profile image

lambservant 2 years ago from Pacific Northwest Author

Thanks for stopping by, Jokarenk .

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