Prayer journaling was essential in my life as I healed from depression. I hope these prayer journal ideas will inspire you to cast your burdens, however heavy, upon God today.
What Is A Prayer Journal?
A prayer journal is a spiritual exercise that allows you to freely express your deepest needs to God in written form. Prayer journals are therapeutic and able to connect you to God in a clear and consistent way.
When in the throes of depression, I found that keeping a prayer journal was especially helpful and healing. Read on to learn how prayer journaling can provide encouragement and hope to you during dark times.
This post is a part of my Good Mood Monday series. This series exists to give natural resources to those struggling with anxiety and depression.
Why Start a Prayer Journal?
Why start a prayer journal when we can freely express our thoughts to God at any time, in any place?
It is Biblical and beneficial to pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17–19). However, prayer journaling provides a disciplined way for us to organize and record our prayers. We will be able to look back on our prayer life over the years, record what God has done, and be filled with thankfulness at his mercies and miracles!
About three years ago I had severe and debilitating post partum depression. A combination of factors contributed to the depression, including neglecting vitamins, life stress, adrenal fatigue and overuse of caffeine.
Writing Out My Prayers To God Was Deeply Healing and Restorative
I had never experienced depression like this. It was a deep, physical sadness and loss of enjoyment for life. I remember feeling so desperate for hope. I was desperate for God’s mercy to shine down on me and let me know that this dark cloud would lift.
At the same time I stumbled across a book that encouraged you to pray diligently to God and to spend an hour in the Bible and prayer each day. I began to practice this, writing out my prayers in a journal as my 3 little ones played at my feet.
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How Prayer Journaling Helped My Depression
That hour of time in God’s presence was such a gift to me. As my young children played at my feet, God was right there with us during a dark and hard time.
I distinctly felt his presence. And, God led me to find many natural remedies that helped heal my depression. It was truly miraculous to watch him provide natural answers to my prayers.
God clearly showed me throughout that year what supplements to take and avoid and how to rest and find hope. My healing was truly found in HIS provision!
Through my prayers I was able to give him my depression and just rest in it, even though it was uncomfortable, scary and overwhelming. He truly held my hand through a dark valley and led me on a path of HOPE!
I love that the power of prayer is backed by science. This study about the power of prayer proves that those who seek prayer when in times of depression and anxiety find greater healing. God’s power is amazing and beautiful!
Benefits of Prayer Journals
“I already pray”, you may think. So, there is no need to write out my prayers. I am tempted to think that sometimes myself, but there are several benefits to prayer journaling:
- Our prayers become more intentional as it takes time to write our words into thoughts
- We can record our prayer requests and God’s answers
- Writing out our prayers forces us to slow down and truly sit in God’s presence
- We create a written testimony of all that God is doing in our lives
- Writing is healing and provides an emotional release
How To Start A Prayer Journal
How do you start a prayer journal? There are many ways to go about this. You can use a simple college ruled notebook and pen or pencil. Of course, in today’s world of ample design, there are lots of beautiful prayer journals you can buy. I am currently using this one, which you can order here.
Tips For Writing Out Your Prayers
How do we go about writing in a prayer journal? Really, it’s simple. We can take a cue from the book of Psalms. We find honest, real emotion here. David is not hiding his struggles from God!
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” Psalm 42:1
Tips for prayer journaling:
- Start with gratitude and praise! God designed thankfulness to be healing for our bodies
- Don’t edit yourself! God knows your heart, thoughts and every hair on your head
- Give God your needs. He is the only one who can truly provide for you
- Soak in the Word and pray specific Bible verses and Promises
- Pray for healing for those around you and your relationships
- Pray and ask God to remove sin, oppression and strongholds in your life
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Phillippians 4:6-7
Daily Prayer Journal Ideas
What helped me organize my prayer journal was having an easy system to follow:
1. First, Start With The Bible
First, I asked God to speak to me through His Word.
Then, I started my prayer journal by reading the book of Psalms. I would jot down verses that spoke to me. I bathed my mind in God’s truth. These verses helped prepare my mind to really be close to God and think on Spiritual things.
Write down the verses that speak to you in your prayer journal.
2. Next, Jot Down What You Are Thankful For. Praise God For His Mercies!
Starting with gratitude is refreshing for both mind and spirit. It reminds us of all that God has given us, and opens up our hearts to see the blessings He has provided.
Practicing gratitude is an active way to combat anxiety and depression. It is a tool that works well with a comprehensive mental health plan.
3. Share Your Sin With God- Repent
For a long time, I did not understand the importance of repenting from my sins. But continually confessing and turning away from our sins is an essential part of Christianity. When writing in a prayer journal, it’s a chance to confess, repent, and ask for the Power of the Holy Spirit to change and work in us.
This is such a healing practice. We have freedom to confess and freedom to grow! His Mercies are new every morning! (Lamentations 3:22)
3. Share Your Heart With The Lord
Let God know where you are at in life. There were many seasons I was so desperate that I just asked God to help me get through that one day. I also asked God to change my circumstances. It took time, but eventually, he did!
4. Pray For Yourself, Your Family, and Your Friends
The wonderful thing about a prayer journal is you can reference old prayers and see where God has answered your cries. Looking back through my prayer journals, I can see where God has changed and molded who I am today. I can also see how he has worked in the lives of my children, husband and family.
I also love praying for my children and husband this way.
5. Allow Time To Listen To The Word
Give yourself time to just sit, be still and listen for what God has to say. This is such a wonderful practice, especially in our culture of busyness. Soak in God’s presence and write down what you feel he is speaking to your heart.
Prayer Journals For Men
My husband has kept prayer journals over the years and (surprise!) he does not have flowers on the outside of his prayer journal. Instead, he has used leather bound journals and moleskin notebooks.
Prayer Journal Examples
Here are a few examples from my daily prayer journals over the years.
Prayer Journaling When You Don’t Have Time
If you are in a season of extreme business, it can be hard to find time to prayer journal. A lot has changed for me in the last three years.
My littles have grown, I added another baby, and we home school full time. I’d love to have more time in the mornings to pray, but it doesn’t usually work that way. I’ve adapted a few ideas here.
Prayer Journal Ideas For When Time Is Limited:
- Keep a bullet praise list of things you are thankful for
- When having feelings of anxiety/depression, write them down in your prayer journal
- Carry verses with you in your purse or wallet that you can memories and pray over
- Start a prayer journal with your kids (this is a fabulous idea that I am going to start doing!)
- On the weekends, plan in extra time to read and prayer journal
- Keep your prayer journal on the counter and jot your prayers down during the day
- Allocate just a few minutes each morning to write a prayer to the Lord and focus on one verse