I’ve mentioned a few times before how much I appreciate writing down my prayers, whether in full or as a list of things that I am praying about. I have a small prayer journal that I use to keep all of these prayers in one place, but when I first got this prayer journal, I just didn’t really know where to start. How did I want to record my prayers?
To get me started, I tried a whole bunch of different ways of using my prayer journal; and today I want to share some of my favourites! Honestly, I still haven’t chosen one way to do this – I tend to pick the method that I think best fits what I feel drawn to pray about at that time.
7 ways to use a prayer journal
Praises & Prayer Requests
Probably the simplest model I could possibly think of, but also the one I turn to most often. I begin with my praises: what has God done today that I want to praise him for? How have I seen him move today? What do I need to say thank you for? Then, I move on to prayer requests. Having centred myself on God’s goodness, I can reflect on what it is that I really want to be praying about. This model could either be used for two written-out prayers, or two lists of prayers.
Thank You, Sorry, Please
You know I love the teaspoon model (see a whole blog post here) so of course I incorporated this into my prayer journal. So simple: what do I want to thank God for? What do I need to say sorry to God for? What do I want to ask God for?
The Acts model is similar to TSP, but the letters stand for: Adoration, Confession, Thanks, Supplication. Confession (sorry) and Supplication (Please) remain much the same, but here we divide thanks and adoration. Because praising God is about more than just saying thank you to God for what he’s done; it’s about recognising God for who he is and giving him glory regardless of what he has or hasn’t done.
The Expanding Bubble
I came up with this name whilst writing this blog and I now claim it as my own. This model of prayer involves beginning with ourselves – what in our own personal lives do we want to pray about? This could be our health, our job, our marriage etc. Then we expand our bubble (get it?) to our local area. What is happening in your local area & within your community that you need to be praying about? This could include your neighbours, your church community, your extended family. Next, we expand our bubble further to our country and ask ourselves the same questions. Perhaps this would include national issues, politics, big events in other areas of the country. Finally, we expand our bubble to the entire world. What is going on around the world that needs our prayers?
Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
This one is especially helpful if you’re going through a busy patch and are getting stressed about all that is going on. Start with yesterday: what do you need to thank God for? What happened that might trigger a prayer request? Then today: what do you need God’s help with today? How have you already seen him move? (This one will look different depending on when during the day you are praying). And Tomorrow: pray for God’s guidance and wisdom for tomorrow; his protection and his help and blessing over any particular events, deadlines or stresses you have.
News of the Day
For this one, begin by either watching the news on TV, listening on the radio, or checking your news apps. As you’re listening/scrolling, pray that God will direct you to the story he wants you to focus upon. When you feel directed to a certain story, write down your prayers for that particular news event – for the people involved, the outcome, what the aftermath might be.
Your prayer journal doesn’t need to be all writing! You could draw, paint or collage your prayers in your prayer journal too! Try using any of the above frameworks but instead of writing your prayers in words, represent them creatively instead. You could stick in news articles as you pray over the news, you could draw the people you are praying for. There is no end to how creative you could get!
These are 7 of my favourite ways to use a prayer journal; do you have any other favourite methods? Which of these could you try yourself? Of course, you can use a prayer journal in any way that helps you to connect with God and these frameworks are not supposed to be restrictive but will hopefully inspire your prayers as you discover how you want to use your prayer journal!