If you’ve never tried one of our journals and are curious what they’re like, get a free sample of our monthly prompts here!
Over the years, the number one reason people don’t buy a prayer journal is that they are afraid they won’t use it. And I mentioned the other day, that’s my fear for these products too and one reason why I wrote a devotional on prayer. I really don’t care if we sell a million if they stay in the wrapper. I want them tattered, spilled on, filled up and treasured. Not for the paper itself, but for what God is doing in their lives as a result of the conversations these journals promote.
I wanted to share my best tips for how to use your journal if just the sight of a blank page makes you want to stick it back in the wrapper or send it to a friend instead. And feel free to leave a comment or email me if you have any specific questions that are holding you back. My heart is truly to help your life be changed by these. Below are some general tips and then some for filling out each section of your journal.
1. Don’t worry if you miss a month…or two or three or…
I’m the girl who used to rewrite my grocery list if it looked too messy. I’m the girl who spent a good 10 minutes bummed that my pretty notebook got water on it and the result was waterlogged pages and smeared ink. 😔 So I get it! We can write off a tool if we didn’t use it “the right way”. But here’s your permission slip if you need one. You can start fresh even with a half-used journal. You don’t need one from our new collection. Dust off the one you bought two years ago and just start.
2. Mark it down.
Put on your calendar to fill out your journal a few days before the new month starts. For me, I pray using my journal much less if I forget to fill it out beforehand. Part of the usefulness of the journal is being able to pull it out when we have a few spare moments and praying for things we have already written down that we want to pray for. If we don’t fill it out and find that we have 5 minutes that we could pull it out, we typically won’t if it’s still blank because we will feel like we need more sufficient time. Powersheet users, I fill out my journal when I’m filling out my Powersheets.
3. Print out our PDF for ongoing requests.
There are some requests you will pray for each month. Instead of rewriting those that you know you want to pray for everything month (i.e. salvation for loved ones) you can print out on ongoing requests list and tape it on the blank page opposite of the start of the month. Then you can transfer this to the next month when a new month starts and you’ll already be ahead of the game! 😉
- World & Nation – This section is the hardest for many of us, but it also seems to be one of the most rewarding as we see how big the world is in that it’s not just about me. So how do we know what to pray for? One of our surveyors suggested the site Operation World. You can click on the countries and find out their biggest needs. I highly recommend bookmarking this website and spending some time looking through to see what to pray for each month. As I figure out what to pray for our nation I usually pray for whatever issues seem to be the heaviest at the time. Usually the biggest news stories.
- My Loves – Here I pray for my husband and girls. I pray for things that I am aware of just by being close to them, but I also ask for specifics. I pray for current struggles, what’s on the calendar for that month and future things as well. I love that it is called my loves because you can pray for a future spouse, future kids or if God’s put a desire to not marry, you can pray for whatever God’s given you a desire for, like a ministry or another specific passion.
- My Family – Here I pray for parents, in-laws, siblings, and grandparents.
- Sweet Friends – I text friends or if I hung out with them recently, I’ll write down what they mentioned to me. I typically like to ask them even if I think I know because I’ve often been surprised by the heart issues that are weighing them down that I am not even aware of! It’s been a great way to be intentional and I am working on letting those requests lead my actions in how I can serve them better.
- Those Hurts – This spot is to pray for those people that we need to forgive.
- Personal – This is where I list all personal requests for myself. I include areas the Lord has placed on my heart to grow in (i.e. learning to listen more and speak less, finding contentment, peace in Christ, joy in Christ, being a flexible mom, etc). In the past, my goals have been in here as well.
- Three unnamed sections – Customers have used these for friends trying to conceive, pregnancies, mission trips, salvation, etc.
- Answered prayers – Throughout the month, I will write ways God has answered any prayers. I will list things that were requests I specifically wrote down as well as little ways He shows up in my day. (A small example from last week – I had to take Vana for her pre-op appointment for her upcoming surgery. It was a rough trip to BR and a looooong walk through the hospital. We got in the room and I was stressed thinking about leaving because I didn’t remember where we parked and was overwhelmed at the thought of carrying Vana in her car seat all over their enormous hospital and parking lot. (Girl is getting heavy! ; ) We looked out the window of her room and my car was dead center in my eyesight two rows back! I saw this as a huge blessing and small way the Lord reminded me cared about even the little things in my day!)
- Scriptures – In the past, I have written out verses that were encouraging in whatever circumstances I most needed encouragement in at the moment. This past month, I included verses that were prayers from Psalms that I wanted to make my own prayer.
- Quotes – Here, I typically include a quote from a book I have been reading that I want to keep marinating on.
There are a few extra sections that the yearly journal has and are listed below.
- My Community – Here I pray for my church, pastor, leadership. I also use this section to pray for requests from the ladies in our small group. You can also pray for co-workers and boss here.
- The Heavy – I wanted to call this section Enemies since we had friends right before but my sister said that miiiiight not be a good idea! 😉 Regardless, God calls us to pray for enemies and not just pray that they won’t be terrible anymore, but to pray blessings for them! This might be the toughest section for all of us, I’m excited that we added it to the yearly journal because I will not instinctively do this and need the prompt!
- Big Goals – This is a fun section! I know many of you set goals using your Powersheets as I mentioned above (And if you don’t I highly recommend them!). I wanted a specific place you can pray for your goals. I think praying for our goals is important. It’s inviting God to be a part of them, surrendering our vision to Him if He has a better plan, and asking for Him to come along side us and give us strength knowing we can’t achieve anything of value without him.
- Adoration section – Many of you have heard of the acronym ACTS as a way to pray: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. Our conversations section has been where I pray prayers of confession (and more of course!!). Our gratitude section is where I have written out things I am thankful for. And our prompts section is obviously where we pray prayers of supplication. I wanted to incorporate adoration into our journal as well! So each month, this is a place to write out a quality or two of God that you want to meditate on each month. Maybe if you are struggling with faith over financial issues, your word is Jehovah Jireh which means God our provider. It might even prompt what you study in the Bible that month too.
- Monthly challenge – This is a place to write out a challenge to help you be intentional about using your journal. We talked about the importance of making a commitment in yesterday’s post. Here are a few examples for different challenges you can do. 1. 15 minutes a day, 2. pray through one section a day, 3. read a book on prayer (I conveniently have some recommendations coming tomorrow!)
- 6 techniques to wake up a dull prayer life
9 tips for creating a habit of prayer
- How to practice silence & solitude
- Getting the most out of your prayer journal
- My 5 favorite books on prayer
This is so good Val! I sometimes start a month and then feel so guilty when I do not follow through. So tomorrow I am filling out October and setting an alarm on my phone for 15 mintues a day. If I have hours for bad tv and social media, I clearly have 15 mins for Him!
This series is exactly what I needed.