Ever thought you wanted to, but didn’t know how to start a prayer journal?
Our incredible Creator God has been speaking from the dawn of time, when his Spirit hovered over those first dark waters. He spoke light into existence, and created day and night.
Then, he spoke again, and his words parted the waters. The story of creation was continued and authorized by his powerful words.
After forming the first Adam, God breathed life into him. Then, he spoke to him, and he has been speaking to mankind ever since.
His method and means varied throughout the Bible, but he never changed.
In addition to hearing him speak as we study the Bible, we can also look back at many other examples of the ways he spoke through Scripture. Sometimes, he used:
I can’t speak for you, but I’ve never heard the audible voice of God, to my knowledge. (And maybe it’s just me, but I’m pretty sure if God himself was speaking to me out loud, I would know it. You know?) I haven’t received a message from an angel, either.
God has used other people to speak to me through circumstances, or experiences. He often uses my children to speak to me, through our conversations, or even their questions.
He has used other prophetically gifted people to give me words of knowledge, words of wisdom, encouragement and prophecy.
I can’t check “donkey” off my list yet, but he has spoken to me as I have listened to the sounds of nature…does that count?
That being said, God does speak to me all the time. One of the ways I hear from God the most is through my prayer journal.
I learned how to start a prayer journal after our first child was born, and over the past several years my method and habits have evolved to the process I use now.
What is a Prayer Journal?
Simply put, a prayer journal is a dedicated journal, notebook, binder or even an electronic document you use to record the things you hear God speaking to your heart and spirit.
Why Should I Start a Prayer Journal?
You should start a prayer journal if you have a desire for your prayer life to grow or you want to grow in your ability to recognize the way God speaks to you, personally.
By keeping a prayer journal, you will be able to keep track of your prayers and answers, as well as a record of the things you hear from the Lord.
Many people start prayer journals as a way to keep track of the people and things they are praying for, but quickly learn that one of the biggest reasons to keep a prayer journal is to learn how to recognize when a god is speaking to them.
As strange as it may sound, I actually started my first prayer journal by accident!
I had been going through a particularly difficult season of grief after our daughter died, and I started writing my thoughts in a notebook I had on hand as a way to express what I was feeling.
At the time, I thought I was keeping a regular journal, but I soon discovered that my writings were almost entirely prayers. I recognized what was happening when I noticed my entries included many questions…and that I had started to jot down whatever whispers or impressions I felt him stir in my spirit.
Sometimes, these responses were Bible verses. Sometimes, they were expressions of comfort, or love. And sometimes, they were just me.
But as I continued to write in my prayer journal, I began to notice that I could tell when the responses were from him, and when they were from my own thoughts or emotions.
The actual words he spoke were decidedly different from my usual language flow, and when in doubt, he would nudge me to Scripture to confirm. Imagine my amazement: God was actually taking the time to personally train me to hear his voice. Wow! Talk about exciting!
A prayer journal can help see answered prayers. Learn more about answered prayers here.
How to Start a Prayer Journal
What supplies do I need to start a prayer journal?
You need a journal or notebook, a pen, a comfortable space in which to write, and time. The good news is that you probably already have everything you need at home already.
Personally, I have tried a variety of notebooks and journals, and my current favorite is a simple ruled soft cover Moleskine journal like this one.
I have used larger and smaller journals and notebooks, and I find that the 5” x 8.25” is the perfect size to slide into my purse or book bag when I’m on the go. I also appreciate that it’s small enough for me to hold and write while praying in my favorite chair.
The best pens for prayer journaling will write smoothly and will not bleed through your journal page. The kind you’ll want to use will depend on the type of notebook or journal you use, but I really enjoy these black felt tip pens from Papermate.
What can I expect from prayer journaling?
You can expect prayer journaling to help you begin to understand the way God speaks to you, personally. Scripture tells us that God speaks to us through the Bible, but in addition, when we surrender ourselves to God and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, the third person of the Trinity (Holy Spirit) comes to live inside of us.
This means that we have the very spirit of God living inside of us, communicating with us all the time! Prayer journaling is an incredible way to train yourself to hear from God directly.
Over the past several years, God has used prayer journaling as a means to yield incredible transformation in my prayer life as well as my thought life and daily life.
It’s an amazing gift to be able to look back over the conversations you have had with the Lord, and to read through the answers to those prayers, along with everything else he shares with you.
Our prayer lives are important! All throughout Scripture, we can be encouraged and challenged by examples of prayer warriors who saw God move on their behalf, or on behalf of those for whom they were praying:
How do I start prayer journaling?
Sometimes, when we wonder how to start a prayer journal, we forget that the best way to start prayer journaling is to simply start! If you have a prayer closet or dedicated space where you read your Bible or pray, that’s great!
However, if you’re just starting out, I recommend to choose a quiet, uncluttered area. I have a large armchair in my living room where I often read my Bible and pray, and it is one of my favorite spots.
I also love to pray outdoors in nature, if conditions are favorable.
If you aren’t sure how to begin, you might enjoy following the acronym PRAY, which is modeled after Jesus’s instructions about how to pray.
- Praise. Start with worship and give God verbal or written praise and thanksgiving. I often do this verbally, but when I first began to shift into intentional prayer journaling, I would write my praises down.
- Repent. Ask the Lord to bring any areas, choices or habits to mind where you need to repent. As he brings these to mind, confess your sins and ask for forgiveness. Then, tell him you want to change and ask for his help to do that.
- Ask. Bring your requests to him. Ask him for what you need, or bring the names of those who need prayer or assistance to him. Don’t be afraid to ask him questions that have nothing to do with what you need. Some of my favorite times listening to the Lord have been when I have asked him questions about what something in Scripture means, or how he wants to move in my neighborhood, or if he has any special encouragement he’d like me to give someone in my life.
- Yield. Tell him that you submit your body, soul, spirit, life, talents and finances to him, openly. As he brings certain things to mind, submit those to him, too. You might feel led to submit your feelings, your worries, your marriage, your children, your job, your ministry, or any number of things to him.
Go easy on yourself and enjoy the process! God loves to communicate with his people, and he can’t wait to grow you in this!
Do you already use a prayer journal? Share some of your favorite journaling habits in the comments, then head straight over to my blog, Spirit Led Sneakers, and sign up with your email address for a copy of your very own FREE Prayer Journal Starter Guide!
Merry Ohler is a Heat-Peanut-loving, black-coffee-swilling, lover of Jesus, worshiper, Kingdom Carrier and Truth Speaker. Merry is the creator of the Spirit Led Sneakers blog and podcast, as well as a founding partner and writer for the online women’s ministry,Gracefully Truthful. She has a heart for teaching others how to embrace true intimacy with God, how to walk in their Kingdom identity and calling, and how to hold fast to big “T” truth in the midst of modern culture. Merry resides in the Midwest with her husband, Jamie, three little ones (6 and under!) and entirely too many Legos. Sign up with your email address today to receive your FREE Prayer Journal Starter Guide!