Using a Prayer Journal / Spiritual Journal

Using a Prayer Journal / Spiritual Journal

Reflection—What is a Prayer Journal or Spiritual Journal?

Different people pray in different ways – and one way that has been helpful over many centuries has been journalling.  A prayer or spiritual journal is a place to record your prayers, thoughts, reflections and conversations with God and keep track of God’s answers and blessings. It’s something that you can look back on to be reminded of God’s faithfulness and to reflect on your spiritual growth over the years. 

Celia Miller reflects, “Journaling for me has become a valued spiritual practice in my personal and spiritual life. There have been seasons when I don’t reach for my journal as often, but I always eventually end up seeking the solace its pages have to offer.   My journals have held many prayers over the years. Prayers of lament, frustration, anger, and joy. They hold my dreams, goals, reflections, and all the ways I notice God moving throughout each day. They hold messy thoughts and short little quotes that I find to be inspiring or thought-provoking. I go to my journal expecting to encounter the Holy Spirit, and I always do, even if it looks like jotting down three sentences of whatever I’m carrying in my wound-up heart.   I believe that journaling can act as a powerful tool to grow deeper in our relationship with God, our faith, and our very identity as individuals Beloved by Christ.   Journaling, as a spiritual practice, can be a very powerful tool used in our own spiritual formation; the process of becoming and looking more like Jesus.”


How to prayer / spiritual journal – Some simple ideas

There are an overwhelming amount on the internet about how to use a prayer or spiritual journal.  Phil has shifted through and written down some of the best ideas or hints so that we can give it a try:

Idea #1.  Find a nice notebook or stationary to use.

As silly as it sounds, most people are more likely to stick with journalling with they have a beautiful notebook to work with.  Some people also grab coloured pens, highlighters, sticky notes etc.  You can use pre-made journals or some people even journal electronically.

Idea #2.  Find a regular time that works for you.

Journalling works best if it is regular.  Find a time daily or a few times a week that you can sit with your journal for more than 10 minutes.  Some people love to journal early morning, others at the end of the day.

Idea #3.  Pray the Word / Write down and reflect on Bible Verses

Psalm 119:105—Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.  Find a verse from the bible related to what you are praying for (Google is good for this).  Write down the verse a few times and then let your mind and pen wander in reflection.

Idea #4.  Write down points of praise or things that you are thankful for

Isaiah 12:4-5Give praise to the Lord, proclaim God’s name;  declare [or write down] what God has done.  When you are writing in your prayer journal, consider a section where you can list things that you are thankful for or for simply praising God.  There is a power in writing down our praise and gratefulness.

Idea #5.  Write down what is on your heart

Proverbs 23:26My child, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways.  Writing down the things that are troubling you, or the things that are occupying your heart and mind, are a good way to clarify thoughts and feelings and allows God’s Spirit to speak to you.  Be honest—but be aware that someone might read your journal at a later time.

Idea #6.  Write down prayer points as you pray for them

Philippians 4:6.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  After praising and thanking God and reflecting on is weighing on your heart – it is time to pray.  You may find it helpful to write your prayers as you pray, or atleast make a record of the things that you are praying for.  Not only will this help focus your prayer time but can be an encouragement as you read back over your journal as see how God has been at work within answered prayers!

Idea #7Record what God is speaking to you.

1 Samuel 3:10.  Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”   A prayer journal is a place to write down the things that you hear God speaking to you, or the promises that God is giving, or nudges that you feel from the Spirit.  We believe that prayer is a conversation with God and we can use our prayer journal to record these thoughts and to reflect on what it means to practically apply them to our life.


Prayers

Between Light and Shadow

Holy God,

We are caught in the tension of
light and shadow, death and resurrection.

You spoke the world into being,
you illuminated the universe by your very speech,
then filled the void with life.
Indeed, you have filled the void
of darkness and death,
the empty promises of the abyss,
with new life and new creation.

We look to you in the space between the world and the Kingdom,
longing for the fulfillment of your word
in the work of the Holy Spirit
and the reign of Christ, our Creator and King. Amen

journaled by Thomas Turner , and published on everydayliturgy.com

O God, all our sin, all our hatred, all our violence,
all our apathy, all our convenient neglect,
came together in that dark hour
when they snuffed out the light of your goodness,
when they crucified your Son, our Lord.
And we come to remember.

O God, all your love, all your compassion,
all your goodness, all your forgiveness,
came together in that life and that dying,
your undying and unending love,
when they crucified you Son, our Lord.
And we remember.

O God, all of his story, all of human history,
all our story, repeats itself
where hate meets love, where injustice meets justice,
where despair meets hope, death meets life,
and we dare to believe we were there
when they crucified your Son, our Lord
and that this is none other
than the way also to truth and life.
And we remember.  Amen.

— a journaled reflection/prayer on Good Friday by William Loader


Online Resources

Journaling as a Spiritual Practice: For the Beginners and Those Who Want to Begin Again by Celia Miller.  https://celiaamiller.com/2022/09/journaling-as-a-spiritual-practice-for-the-beginners-and-those-who-want-to-begin-again/

How to Keep a Spiritual Journal – The Gospel Coalition Course.   Based on the “LifeHacks” Bible material, this course has 8 short lessons (5-10mins each)  that provides a practical format for the habit of spiritual journaling.    www.thegospelcoalition.org/course/journaling/#course-introduction

55 Ideas & Prompts for Your Prayer Journal by Doses of Grace.  https://www.dosesofgrace.com/blogs/news/ideas-prompts-for-your-prayer-journal

Spiritual Journaling for Christian Growth and Transformation by The Christian Mediator. 
https://thechristianmeditator.com/spiritual-journaling/

YouTube Videos

¨ Matt – a young bloke from the US giving some practical tips on how to use a prayer journal  (8 mins).  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EYyS62v-8U