set-up a prayer journal

Set-up a prayer journal in 5 easy steps

Download your

Prayer Journal Resources

Set-up a prayer journal

The sky was clear on the beautiful spring morning in New York City where my husband, Keith, and I sat. Just minutes earlier, an anesthesiologist explained all the risks of the surgery.  After we signed consent forms, a nurse whisked our ten-month-old daughter, Alexandra, off to an operating room. My breath caught in my throat. 

We had been planning this trip and surgery for months. Yet, in the blink of an eye, the risks of the surgery were whirling around in our minds.  Anxiety and fear clouded our thoughts and threatened to steal our peace.  In those moments of nervousness, we had to dig deep to remember the necessity of the surgery.  As we sat in the waiting area on the roof of the hospital looking out over the East River, we recalled our faith in our Heavenly Father and remembered that He is good and that He will continue to uphold us. 

The strength I had on that challenging day was a result of developing my relationship with the Lord over time with a consistent prayer life. Using a prayer journal had greatly impacted and improved the focus and quality of my one-on-one time with God.  

My prayer journal is only a tool, yet, it had been my place where I wrote out worship to God for who he is, the sanctuary where I confided my sin to him and asked him to forgive me, the pages where I listed my worries and petitions to him and where I meditated on his word and his promises which nourished my faith in him.

“Pray; pray often; pray with sincerity

and seriousness;

pray, and pray again;

make conscience of prayer

and be constant in it;

make a business of prayer,

and be earnest in it”.

– Matthew Henry

Henry, Matthew. “Commentary on Matthew 7.” Blue Letter Bible. 1 Mar, 1996. Web. 28 Apr, 2020.

What is the purpose of a prayer journal?

Prayer is simply talking to God and of course, we can do that any time anywhere.  Though the purpose of a prayer journal is to write out what is in our hearts when we talk to God, it also can provide some structure to our prayer time. 

A book, notebook or binder are options to use to set-up a prayer journal. Although I have used different types of books, formats and resources in the past, I have been using a binder for the last year and this is by far my favorite way to organize my prayer life.

I use a soft cover 3-ring binder, 8.5” x 11” loose leaf notebook paper and page protector dividers for different steps of prayer.  It’s super easy to set-up! 

Whether you are wanting to pray a bit more intentionally or you are simply ready for a new prayer journal, I’m excited to share with you how to set-up a prayer journal in five easy steps.

How to set-up a prayer binder

Supplies

To set-up your binder, have these supplies:

  • 3-ring binder
  • loose leaf notebook paper
  • 5-6 page protectors
  • post-it notes (optional)

Set-up

Step 1 – Download and print the prayer journal resources below.

Step 2 – Place the dividers in page protectors and place in a binder in this order:

The cover page (Colossians 4:2)

Praise

Confession

Thanksgiving

Daily Intercession

Weekly Intercession

Step 3 – Insert notebook paper in each section.

Step 4 – Label a page of notebook paper for each group of people for whom you want to pray. 

Here are some of mine:

  • myself
  • family
  • extended family
  • neighbors
  • work / co-workers / customers
  • church / church leaders
  • government leaders
  • prayer group members
  • Bible study members
  • church small group / sunday school class

If the list of people you want to pray for is long, you could feel overwhelmed to try to pray for everyone every day.  I have some lists for whom I pray daily and I rotate the others through the week.  I highly recommend this! 

Place the groups for whom you want to pray daily in the Daily Intercession section and those for whom you want to pray weekly in the Weekly Intercession section. 

Step 5 – In the Weekly Intercession section, assign a day for each group.

For instance, you may want to pray for neighbors on Sunday and your co-workers on Monday, etc. Another option would be to pray for these lists on a day when you have more time. So, if you have a little extra time on Saturday mornings or Sunday afternoons, you could pray through your weekly section during those times.

This system is flexible! I keep post-it notes handy to bookmark my place if I get interrupted or want to adjust what I’m doing.

Watch this video to see the prayer journal!

Using the prayer journal

What are the four steps of prayer?

We can organize our prayer journal in a way as to help guide us to develop a satisfying relationship and prayer time that delights and strengthens us in our relationship with God.

I will explain how I use the four steps of prayer with my prayer binder to give you some ideas you may find helpful for your prayer life. These are praise, confession, thanksgiving and intercession.

Jesus’ example

The four steps of prayer are principles we see from examples in Jesus’ prayers.

Specifically, in the eleventh chapter of the gospel of Luke, we read about a time when Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them how to pray.  He modeled for them a prayer that we often call “The Lord’s Prayer” that includes:

  • worship and praise showing reverence for our Heavenly Father
  • a declaration of allegiance wanting to be aligned with His will
  • confession of sin seeking forgiveness
  • requests for provision, protection and deliverance

In addition, other passages record Jesus giving thanks to His Father in Heaven for provision of food (John 6:11) and for hearing his prayer (John 11:41)

Praise

Beginning our prayer time with praise to God gets our eyes on who God is.  I usually review what I learned about God in my daily Bible reading and Bible Study.  I select some words and phrases from my Bible reading/study that describe God and I write out praise to him for who He is.

Confession

During confession, we ask the Lord to reveal anything in our heart or life that is not pleasing to him.  Did anything in my Bible reading reveal sin in my life? 

I recently heard a friend in Moms in Prayer describe this step of prayer as weeding our garden. We are not simply dead-heading flowers, but want God to remove the weeds by the root.  When we confess our sins to the Lord, he promises to be faithful to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (1 John 1:9)

In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Thanksgiving

As well as giving thanks to the Lord for answered prayers, I am growing in giving thanks in all circumstances.  Although some of life’s disappointments and blows are painful, we can grow in learning to give thanks to the Lord in the midst of the situation.  We can thank Him for protecting us by not answering prayers that are outside His will for us, we can thank Him for teaching us His wisdom and making us strong through trying times.  We can thank him because if we belong to Him, we know He is working all things for our good and his glory.

Intercession

As I pray daily and weekly for myself and others, I often base my prayers on scripture and also list specific requests.  Writing down our requests and checking them off when they are answered is a faith-building experience!

Conclusion

Setting-up a prayer journal can help us be more organized in our prayer time, be more inspired to pray, be more consistent in prayer, be more intentional in prayer and as a result enjoy a closer, vibrant fellowship with God.

Although years have passed since I sat on the roof of that upper East Side hospital, I will always remember how God comforted me and brought healing to our sweet girl through it all.  I am ever so thankful that we have a God who hears us and answers. aprayinmom.com

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Prayer Journal Resources

Set-up a prayer journal

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2 thoughts on “Set-up a prayer journal in 5 easy steps”

  1. Deborah, this was so well written and such a testimony to how prayer has so powerful in your life:-). I really liked your prayer journal idea! I have a prayer journal but it is a bit scattered and hard to find the people I have written down to be praying for!! I look forward to setting up my new journal very soon:-)

    And “way to go“ Alexandra for helping your mom! The blog looks fantastic!!!

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