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
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
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:
- My husband
- My children (each child has her own category)
- My self
- Community Bible Study (leadership, my core members, children’s teachers, etc.)
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.
- Inspirational quotes: where I jot down quotes from books I read that I want to mull over or that inspire me
- Journal: where I write down thoughts, fears, confessions, joyful news–anything worthy of remembrance
How to Put Your Prayer Journal Together
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.
What Else is in My Prayer Journal
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 I’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
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).
Do you have a daily prayer time?
Have you ever used a prayer journal? If so, what’s in yours?
Blessings to you!