We strongly encourage you to try keeping a prayer journal, even if you have tried in the past without much success. It is very important to verbalize our conversations with God for the sake of focus, engaging our whole mind, and anchoring the words in reality. If you are just starting out, try journaling daily for the next two or three weeks.
How to Keep a Journal
- Date each entry.
- At the beginning of your conversation time, read your prior entry (“Remember”).
- Discern whether to talk more about your prior topic (go deeper, try another angle) or start something new.
- If going on to another area, discern whether to discuss a life matter or Scripture phrase.
- Write out impressions, thoughts, questions, reactions, feelings, discernment, prayers.
- You can use full sentences or notes, but be sure to include enough to be able to make sense of what you have written. Sometimes short notes can become meaningless over time.
- Search for words that capture your impressions well.
- Keep an index page in the front or back of the journal, where you can identify key insights and healing moments so you can find them again easily.
- Reserve a few pages for ongoing prayer requests and to keep track of any discussions you might want to have with God in the future.
The Value of a Prayer Journal
- Helps us to jump start our conversations by reading prior entries.
- Provides continuity to our conversations from day to day.
- Helps us stay focused while we are talking to God.
- We do not lose our prior conversations over time.
- During a given conversation, we can scan what we have already written to restart our thoughts and provide additional promptings.
- Discernment is better when the material is in front of us.
- Keeps us actively involved; we are less likely to become too passive while listening.