Prayer Journals: Should You Have One?

How’s your prayer life?

Do you go to bed at night feeling guilty that you didn’t pray more that day? Are you reminded about a prayer request when talking to someone and kick yourself because you haven’t prayed about it since the last time you talked to them?

These are constant struggles for me, and I’m guessing I’m not alone in that. I hear other Christians talk about their frustration with their prayer lives all the time. In fact, my pastor did a much-needed sermon on the subject several weeks ago, which may be part of the reason I’m doing this post now.

I’ve had the idea to do a post on prayer journals for a while – like maybe a year. But I’ve always put it off, because I’ve never felt like my own prayer life is up to par. Really that’s the case for most of my posts. I’m not up to par, but then that’s why I’m writing in the first place: to use my inadequacies to help others. This is different somehow. Nothing ever feels good enough, so how can I help anyone else when I haven’t really settled the issue in my own mind?

Thanks to my pastor’s recent sermon, this post has been pressing more and more for my attention.

Is there a way to pray right, to pray enough, to pray the way Paul instructs?

Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Maybe. Maybe not.

I do know it’s worth talking about, because prayer is our conversation with our Father. It’s as vital to our relationship with Him as our frequent interactions with those we love around us.

Well, make that more important, because everything is wrapped up in our relationships with God: our worth, identity, relationships with others, everything.

This is where prayer journals come in. Maybe they can help us.

Prayer Journals: Should You Have One? | HISsparrowBlog | #christian living

What’s a prayer journal?

A prayer journal is anything you use to keep your prayer life organized. It can be a list of prayer requests, a place where you write out your prayers, or both. It can be as detailed and organized as you like – or not. 🙂

Some people like to use:

  • a 3-ring binder.
  • a blank notebook.
  • a free digital note-taking tool like OneNote.
  • a free prayer app like Echo.

For all you visual folks, here’s an idea of what a digital notebook like OneNote can look like:

OneNote print screen of my prayer notebook

And here are a few print screens of the Echo app I mentioned above. It’s available in both Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store. This looks really cool by the way, and I’m excited to see what features they add in the future.

Print screen of Echo prayer app

Print screen of Echo prayer app

Print screen of Echo prayer app

What are the pros and cons of keeping a prayer journal?

I think there are a lot of pros to having your own prayer journal. Just to name a few:

  • It can help you focus instead of praying and then realizing you’ve been thinking about tomorrow’s to-do list for the last five minutes.
  • It can help you keep up with everything you need/want to pray about.
  • It can help you actually pray for things that get neglected like praying for our nation’s leaders.

There is a con I’ve found though:

  • It can start to feel like something to tick off the to-do list.

I’m curious to see if this con will fade with persistence. I’ve gone back and forth with a prayer journal: so far, I’ve used one for a while until it feels like a chore and then reverted to the winging-it method. 😉

Keeping a prayer journal can keep you organized, give you a schedule to pray for everything regularly, and provide a way to have that one-on-one time with God without a bunch of distractions.

And then all those things that are so good about it can later become the negative: an item on the to-do list, which is the opposite of relationship. But then that could get better later for me and may not even be a problem for you.

So the question is ‘will a prayer journal solve the prayer problems?’ I think it definitely helps. All we can do is keep trying, because until we’re standing beside Jesus in our new bodies – free from guilt and sin, we may feel inadequate to some degree.

Is a prayer journal for you? I can’t wait to hear from you in the comments below.

And be sure to check out my next post. Next time I’ll give you a bigger peek inside my own journal with a downloadable prayer sheet.

Til next time,

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Author: HISsparrowBlog

I'm a blogger who helps people recognize their value in Christ, so they can lead purposeful and thriving lives.

13 thoughts

  1. Ashley, I’m trying to write a book about prayer. It’s a “how to” book, but really prayer is a relationship, and I want that to be the main focus. I’ve struggled with that question of “Will this prayer method just feel like checking off a list of things to do?” It’s a challenging thing to work around. I’m visual so I love lists and such. It helps me keep on track. But I’m like you. When I start to feel like I’m checking off the list and not focusing on the relationship I put my notebook away for awhile. It seems to be a good balance. Thank you for this thoughtful question!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The relationship/checklist line is such a fine one. I think a book on prayer is a great idea! We can always use pointers on it, and I’m sure if you present it in that light, you’ll be just fine. We must all weigh our own position to the line, since even the best thing can cross it. Thank you so much for stopping by, and I look forward to your book.


  2. I also struggle with keeping up with prayer requests. It can feel overwhelming to me but as you share this is also an area I feel an inadequacy. I like the idea a prayer journal and I have had one before. Echo also looks interesting but I don’t want it to become one more item to check off. Thank you for the resources today.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Ashley! I started keeping a prayer journal some years back. It’s a great way to keep track of all of the people I want to pray for, but I feel like the most important thing I write in it are the answers God gives me. During those times when God is silent I can look back over the things He has said to me and be encouraged. And I can be reminded of the specific things He has told me to do to move forward within His will. Thanks for an inspiring look at prayer journals and some awesome tools to help out along the way! I’m looking forward to checking out the Echo app. Blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Ashley. I have a new prayer journal I haven’t written in yet. Thanks for the reminder to start writing in it. My old prayer journals are great for reflecting on God’s goodness to me. Sharing this great post on Twitter and Pinterest!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and these resources, Ashley! This is something I’ve been thinking about lately. I do want to be more consistent in prayer but don’t want it to become an item on a to-do list. I’m still not sure what the best way forward is for now but it’s good to know that others have similar struggles and to get some ideas!


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