As a brand-new Christian, I really wanted to get to know God and develop an intimate relationship with Him, but I didn’t know where to start. I had already fallen in love with the Bible, but my prayer life felt inadequate.
Then at a women’s retreat, the speaker challenged us to keep a God Hunt Journal – a journal that tracks God’s activity in our lives. I’ve been keeping a prayer journal for over 25 years now and it has powerfully impacted my faith.
I wanted to see God’s work in my life, so I accepted the speaker’s challenge. I began keeping a prayer journal. Every morning, or at least most mornings, I read my Bible and write out a prayer in my journal. Nothing fancy or complicated. Just a conversation between me and God.
In the journal, I often respond to what I’ve just read, seeking wisdom to apply Scripture to my life. I ask God to search my heart and show me anything (sin, bad attitude, prejudice, resentment) that doesn’t belong. (Ps 139:23-24) I ask for His help to live out His will. I intercede for the needs of others.
As I pour out my heart to God, I write each word in a lined-paper book.
This simple spiritual practice powerfully impacts my faith. When I’m discouraged, I can review my prayers and see how God has helped me through previous challenges. This reminds me that God has been faithful to help me in the past and can be trusted to help me today. When trying to make difficult decisions, I can look through my journal and see the general direction God is leading me, which helps me make choices and stay on track. In these pages, I find the faith to overcome obstacles when my emotions war against moving forward.
When I review the journal and see all God has done in my life, gratitude wells up in me. I overflow with praises!
If you’d like to begin a prayer journal, here are some simple steps to get you started:
Get a journal. My favorites brands are Moleskine and Poppin, but you can use anything from a spiral notebook to a Word document. Use what works for you.
Invite the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I light a candle to symbolize God’s presence as I read my Bible and pray. This visual reminder helps me remember that I’m having a conversation with a person, not simply sending my prayers into the clouds.
Date each journal entry. This will help you find specific prayers when you go back through your journal looking for them. Sometimes God answers my prayers so dramatically that I can’t wait to re-visit the answered prayer and mark it.
Carve out time in your busy day. I like to start my day in prayer, but there have been seasons in my life when late evenings worked best. Find a time when you can be consistent.
Don’t aim for perfection. If you miss a day (or several) just jump back in and begin again. You don’t have to have the perfect pen, journal, or even great penmanship. Just show up and journal!
Hunt for God. Periodically review your journal for answered prayers, guidance, and growth. Highlight or mark your entries, including how God answered your prayers. Praise God for what you see as you review.
Do you have any questions about prayer journaling?