1 Tool to Improve Your Prayer Time

A Prayer Journal: 1 Tool to Improve Your Prayer Life

One of my goals for 2014 is to develop a regular prayer time. While I usually wake up around 5:15 for daily Bible reading, I haven’t found a good cohesive way to work prayer into this time. Some days I’ll pray for 5 minutes prior to my reading; some days I’ll pray for 30 minutes afterward. Sometimes I pray over a list of people; most times my prayers are random, sporadic, and rambling.

While there’s nothing wrong with pop-up prayers, I want to be more intentional about who and what I’m praying for. A Prayer Journal helps to achieve focus and intentionality. I’d like to credit Mary Beth at New Life Steward for the inspiration.

What You Need to Make a Prayer Journal

A Prayer Journal: 1 Tool to Improve Your Prayer Life

Be resourceful, and use what you have. You don’t have to spend much, if any, money on this.


  • Journal/blank book/notebook
  • Index cards or post-it flags
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Pen/Sharpies
  • Bible

My Prayer Journal is an 8 1/2 x 11-inch vinyl notebook with 200 pages of lined paper that I bought at Barnes & Noble for $9.97.

I created tabs with the names of each person or category I’ll be praying for. My tabs aren’t fancy: I cut up a 3×5 index card and labeled each square with a different category.


After gathering your supplies, take a few minutes to brainstorm the categories you want for your prayer journal. Write them down, and put them in some kind of order. I ordered mine by priority.

My categories include the following:

  1. My husband
  2. My children (each child has her own category)
  3. My self
  4. Family
  5. Friends
  6. Church/ministry
  7. Community Bible Study (leadership, my core members, children’s teachers, etc.)
  8. Blog/work
  9. Miscellaneous

Then, consider if there are any other sections you want to add to your Prayer Journal. Make tabs for them too. I included two additional sections at the end.

  1. Inspirational quotes: where I jot down quotes from books I read that I want to mull over or that inspire me
  2. Journal: where I write down thoughts, fears, confessions, joyful news–anything worthy of remembrance

How to Put Your Prayer Journal Together

A Prayer Journal: 1 Tool to Improve Your Prayer Life

1. Divide your notebook up into x number of pages per category. In my Prayer Journal, each category consists of 7 lined pages. The journal section takes up about 60 pages of the space. How you divide up your journal will depend on how big, how much, and how often you write as well as how much space you have and what categories you include.

2. Create labels for each category using index cards or post-it flags. Mary Beth recommends “laminating” the tab with scotch tape for added durability. Not a bad idea.

3. Tape your labels to the journal paper, staggering for visibility. You’ll want to be able to see each category, so make sure your labels aren’t right on top of each other.

4. Add scriptures that you wish to pray for each of the categories. For example, I have verses for each of my girls pertaining to specific character issues we’re working on. Also, I have verses for friends with unique prayer needs, and my regular prayer scripture for my husband is Proverbs 3:5-8.

My favorite scriptures on prayer

What Else is in My Prayer Journal

A Prayer Journal: 1 Tool to Improve Your Prayer Life

At the front of my journal, I also wrote down the following:

    • My spiritual goals for the year
    • My verse for 2014 (I’ll be sharing on this one soon!)
    • Favorite scriptures on prayer: some verses Iโ€™m clinging to this year
    • Family goals
    • My daily prayer schedule

In case you’re interested, my daily prayer schedule looks like this:

Sunday: Church–missionaries, leadership, growth, our Son Kids ministry for children
Monday: My husband
Tuesday: Each of my children
Wednesday: Community Bible Study–the members in my core group, leadership, children’s teachers, etc.
Thursday: Family & Friends
Friday: Blog/work
Sat.: Miscellaneous

Of course I pray for my husband and kids as well as any other urgent prayer needs on a daily basis, but the focus of my prayer time is on the specific category for that day. My hope is that with my Prayer Journal I will not get overwhelmed by all the prayer needs out there and do what I normally do–nothing.

I want to be intentional in my prayer time in the mornings and pray specifically for the people and things that need my attention. The Prayer Journal is one tool to help me improve my prayer life.

The Prayer Journal is new to me. I’ve been using it for less than a week, but I like how it keeps me focused. Still, it’s a new discipline that may require some tweaks before I’m fully satisfied with it. I’ll let you know how it’s working (or not).

Your Turn

Do you have a daily prayer time?

Have you ever used a prayer journal? If so, what’s in yours?

Blessings to you!



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  1. I admit I also struggle with focusing my prayers. I can go through spurts where I think I do well, and then there is a long dry period of almost nothing! It’s a little embarrassing to admit. I do like how simple your journal is, simple is much easier. Thank you for sharing your example. It is motivating me to kick into gear again. Thanks Keri

    Marissa recently posted…Salt & Light: #1My Profile

    • Marissa, if I’m going to do anything, it MUST be simple. I don’t have time or skills to do anything extravagant. I’m glad the journal has motivated you. That’s my hope and prayer: to inspire people to improve their own prayer lives. Blessings!

  2. Great idea, Keri! I can definitely see how this would keep you more focused. I might have to give it a try! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Well, I’m giving it a shot. It’s really not difficult to make. The hard part is staying disciplined in using it!

  3. About a year back I had a daily prayer schedule. I find that too be a great reminder to pray every day. Ive never tried such an elaborate prayer journal before, but it seems like a great idea. Especially for keeping track of answered prayers!

    • Yes! Marking prayers that God has answered is a great idea. Then, periodically, I can look back over all my prayers and praise God for His answers. I like that!

  4. I love this idea, Keri! Thanks for sharing this with us! I’ll be making this a project sometime in the near future. My prayers are very much sporadic, and developing the discipline for intentional prayer time is much needed. I’m pinning this-thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Thanks for explaining your method.
    Laura Lane recently posted…Giveaways: Southern Essentials & Kindle HDXMy Profile

  6. I LOVE this idea of making tabs for each person within a journal! I am going to use this ASAP. Thanks for sharing such a simple solution.
    Morgan recently posted…Organized Finances {E-Book}My Profile

    • Thanks so much, Morgan. It’s definitely keeping my prayers organized–just wish it would do the same for the rest of my house.

  7. I really like this! I have been struggling to find a way to remember everyone/everything I need to pray for. Looks like I’ll be creating my prayer journal today! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Great! I’m glad this post helped you. I’m always searching for ways to be more productive and better organized. Best wishes!

  8. The area I struggle the most in my walk with the Lord is my prayer life. I need to start a prayer journal. I haven’t done it in years. Thanks for the reminder. I needed it today!

  9. I love this idea…I have a verse journal where I try to write down at least one verse each morning that sticks out, but the prayer journal…I will definitely consider this! I am notorious for scribbling notes about who needs prayer and stuffing them in my Bible but your idea sounds more organized and effective ๐Ÿ˜€
    Lisha recently posted…A Day in the Life (in pictures)My Profile

  10. I love the idea of a prayer journal, Keri! I’ve used journals in the past, with a page dedicated to each child or ministry, so that I could write down all my burdens about the matter. It worked very well.

    What I’ve done more recently is used 3×5 cards, writing down my requests there. Then at the end of the prayer time, I take the card and move it to the back, so there’s a constant rotation.

    But even more recently, I’ve discovered a beautiful prayer spot outside, where I can be alone and just verbalize my burdens to The Lord. It seems that being in His creation allows for a more worshipful spirit, which often leads to repentance and a heartfelt sharing of burdens.

    thanks for the post!
    Lisa recently posted…How Seasons of Life Affect Your GOALSMy Profile

    • Lisa, I really like that idea of using 3×5 cards and rotating them. I may try that next! I love having a system in place so I’m organized. And I wish I had a beautiful prayer spot–it truly does help be more prayerful when you’re surrounded by God’s wonders and beauty.

      Thanks for sharing your encouraging words!

  11. What a great idea! I think I may give a prayer journal a try. I always feel like my prayer time is a bit scattered. This may help!
    Lynnae McCoy recently posted…You Are Loved, Even Ifโ€ฆMy Profile

  12. I love prayer journals! Aren’t index cards the greatest? They can be used for so much. I have a couple notebooks I use for prayer journal.

  13. Hi its the first time i hear about a Pray Journal, and it caught my attention immediately. Thanks for the most beautiful idea, God Bless and take care.

  14. I love your idea. I always write prayer journals since 2000 I have a lots of emotional and the Prayer Journals had helps me a lot. Thank you for the idea I love it!!

    • Thanks, Maria. Prayer journals really help me express my emotions too. Plus, I love that I have a written record of all my prayers–those answered and unanswered as well. That is very impressive that you have nearly 15 years of prayer journals! What a legacy! Keep it up, girl!


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