Not a Diary, a Prayer Journal

This is a guest post by Laura Tringali.


journal 2Four years ago when I entered college, I encountered for the first time the concept of a prayer journal. It seemed like every “good” Christian at school used one. I quickly and naively concluded, “It’s cool that you like to keep a diary, but I stopped doing that in middle school.”

Midway through my second year of college, I was given a prayer journal as a gift. The note on the inside cover was a prayer written for me that this journal would bring growth in my faith and relationship with the Lord. Mind you, I still thought prayer journals were comparable to diaries. Only because it was a gift did I begin taking it to spiritual talks and using it to write notes. In only a few short months it became clear that the Lord had other plans for this journal, and my “notebook” became a prayer journal (not a diary) where I write my prayers and reflections.

As journaling becomes routine, you will find transformation in your relationship with the Lord. You will be more accountable to yourself for daily prayer simply by noting the date at the top of each entry. Write reflections on Scripture, personal prayer intentions, praises for the Lord, and even calls for help in difficult times. Don’t be surprised if you completely lose yourself in your writing, letting your heart lead your pen, and find an intense and comforting connection with the Lord you had not previously known. Your prayer journal will allow your prayer life to make the leap from reciting prayers before bed to spending personal time with our living God, truly a small taste of heaven.

Not sure about it yet? Try this:

  1. Buy the right journal for you. Is the line spacing right for the size of your handwriting? Maybe your creative spirit would rather no lines at all! I like the kind with the elastic band to hold it closed so I can put prayer cards and notes in it without worrying about them falling out.
  2. If you don’t know what to write start by reading scripture. When you find a passage that speaks to your heart in that moment, copy it down. Below it, write to God. Does this Scripture passage inspire your awe of the Lord? Does it call you to pray for an increase of faith or a particular virtue? Does it remind you of a loved one in need of the Lord’s comfort?
  3. Focus your attention on the Lord not on what you are writing. Prayer journals help you spend reflective time in prayer by being open to what the Lord may be saying to you and noticing God’s living presence in your heart.
  4. Don’t forget to look back on your old entries from time to time to reflect on your growth and journey with the Lord!

If you still think you aren’t the journaling type, I challenge you to give it a try! I am so grateful that I did.

Laura Tringali, born and raised in Hershey, PA, received her BS in Psychology with minors in Nonprofit Studies and Classics at The Ohio State University. After graduating with recognition from the university for her research on Paul’s theology in the New Testament, Laura is now pursuing a Master in Theological Studies at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.

Categories: Guest Posts, Prayer

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7 replies

  1. I have often wondered if the examen (of consciousness) is not the perfect way to start the journal. The examen helps me to reflect on God’s presence during my day and if one could combine the examen with journalling, maybe writing down my experience of the reality of God in all things, would it not be the deepest way of reflecting on God in your day?

  2. I was talking about Anne Frank’s diary just this a.m. with a close friend. it is something that I read as a girl and then a couple of times as an adult. I am always amazed at her. She was worldly, other-worldly, adult, introspective, a keen observer of life and lastly prayerful and hopeful. A prayer journal if there ever was one. I journal and plan on working towards a prayer journal after reading your post. Very wonderful. Between you and Anne, I think God winked at me today! .

  3. I was reflecting yesterday on my turbulent college years, and I realized that the time I spent with my prayer journal was a formative and indispensable part of my routine. Your tips are spot on (though I may be too attached to #1. My husband grimaces when I tell him I need to pick out a new journal, knowing it will take at least an hour at the store!)

  4. Fantastic advice for anyone interested in deepening their spirituality! Thank you so much for this article!

  5. My daughter and son in law bought me a journal for my 75th birthday. It doesn’t get completed each day but as I have entered things in it it has helped me along my journey in faith. (By the way do the words journey and journal come from the same root word – Latin or Greek or something?)

  6. Thank you for this post! I’m going to pick out a journal this weekend and give it a try.

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