Over a year ago I was incredibly inspired after watching War Room with Priscilla Shirer and subsequently reading her book Fervent. Both emphasized the importance of a strategic prayer plan or “battle plan” to communicate with God and fend off the devil. I highly recommend both the movie and book. I had been wanting to come up with an organized prayer life but I had no idea where to start. I knew I needed to journal, but how?
I found the answer to that is incredibly personal. There are so many ways to start a prayer journal, but the key is to craft something that you will want to go to each day to communicate with God. That looks different for everyone, depending on personal style. Following are some ideas to get you started that I have gathered over time from multiple sources (Google, Pinterest, books, personal accounts from others, etc.)
Some people like to use an actual journal, a day planner, or bullet journal. Others like composition books. I personally like a binder with divided sections. Even a spiral notebook will do just fine. Use what you think will work for you! And remember, you can always re-evaluate after you’ve been using it for awhile and change systems if you see fit.
If you start a binder or notebook, you may want to have sections for other aspects of your faith life. Some examples are sections for Bible Study Notes, Memory Verses, Sermon Notes, Daily Journal, Inspiration, Priorities/Goals, Answered Prayers, Daily Prayers, etc. I think of my binder/prayer journal as my 2nd most important book after my Bible. You can certainly just have a journal for daily prayers without adding any other sections but it is nice to have things like this in one central location, in my opinion.
A page or section for Answered Prayers is incredibly important. This way you can really see how God is working in your life and see that sometimes the answer to prayer comes later than you wanted or in an unexpected way. I think it also encourages you to keep praying! Prayer is powerful!
All you really need is a pen or pencil. Perhaps you have a special pen you want to use. Feel free to make it colorful with different markers or colored pencils or even add little doodles or drawings. Maybe you want to use a highlighter in certain areas. The sky is the limit here! Keep it simple or fancy. God likes it all!
So how is one supposed to pray? Any way you’d like! If you don’t know where to start, try thinking of your prayer as a love letter to God. Speak to him from the heart. You may want to write a short paragraph or make a list of what or who you would like to prayer for each day and what requests you have for God. Be specific!
You can find prayer methods and formats online such as the ACTS method which starts with Adoration (tell God how wonderful he is, worship Him), Confession (admit your sins, ask for forgiveness), Thanksgiving (say ‘thank you’ for all that God has done in your life), and Supplication (make your requests to God for yourself and others). I use this and find it very helpful. You can speak your prayer out loud or say it silently in your head. God will hear it either way! Don’t forget to add the date and time to each prayer!
Having prayers for specific topics or people that you can pray on a regular basis can be helpful too. Do you want to pray for your church and its leaders each week? Do you want a prayer for healing? You can include these in your journal and refer to them on specific days, having a different ‘special’ prayer for each day of the week that you pray in addition to your regular daily prayer. (Example: Monday- Healing, Tuesday- Church, Wednesday- Government, etc.)
Whichever system you come up with, try it out for a week and then re-evaluate. What do you like? What do you want to add or take away? Do you want to change journals?
It has been about a year and a half since I started my prayer journal and I have changed it around a few times. I have been able to track some amazing answers to prayer and record my most personal thoughts to God. My anxiety level is lowered each day I write in my prayer journal and I find it to be one of my most important wellness tools. My relationship with God has grown exponentially since starting a strategic prayer life.
Hopefully you now have some ideas on where to start. Feel free to modify these ideas to your liking. I encourage you to scour the internet for prayer journals if you need visuals to get some more ideas and see what speaks to you. There are even prayer journal page templates out there that can be very helpful!
Remember, this is your special place to talk to God. Make it a special time, too. Tell him what’s on your mind. Ask him questions. Request what you need. Give thanks and praise. God loves it when you do this as it gives him all the glory! He is there for you!
Happy Journaling! God is waiting to hear from you!
From a favorite hymn What a Friend We Have in Jesus by Joseph Scriven, 1855…
What a Friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Jeremiah 29:12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
Acts 10:2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.
Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
1 John 5:14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
James 5:13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.