I have been praying for most of my life by this point, but last month was a turning point for me. Though I’ve gotten consistent at praying daily, I haven’t really been consistent with writing out my prayers. When I was using our Rhythms Prayer Journal (the yearly) the last few years, I’d write out a prayer 1-3 times a week because that’s about the space it had room for.
But this year, I started using our Signature Prayer Journal. Last March, the idea for this new format came to mind and I was insanely excited about it. (It has our same monthly prompts but includes 29 blank, lined pages at the end of each month and contains only 6 months instead of a full year to allow for lots more writing.) I was so excited that I wondered if anyone would continue to buy our Rhythms Prayer Journal with this new option available. I was so thrown off when the Rhythms still outsold the Signature 4:1 and I even wondered why I was so excited about it in the first place.
But as I started using the Signature in January, I’m experiencing what I had hoped this journal would offer our customers and was reminded of exactly why I’m so excited that we are now offering it!
I think it’s intimidating to commit to writing out prayers daily, though. I know I was excited about using it, but also very understanding that it would be a challenge and not sure how it would go over. The fact that it has 29 pages a month though brings this expectancy that made it easier to stick with. It was built in accountability that I needed.
Over the past month of writing out my prayers, God worked in two really big ways in my life, things I’ve honestly felt very stuck in for so long: Instagram (I shared about this last week.) and hypochondria (e-book coming soon!). The transformation has me so excited to think that this happened in just one month. What will God do in the next 11? And really, I can’t totally pinpoint why it’s happened other than:
- I’m spending more time in God’s presence and it’s God’s presence that has the power to transform us. We can’t be with God and NOT be transformed.
- I’m more aware of His leading.
- I’m less attached to my own will. The more I’m with God and less time I spend influenced by the world, it feels more like common sense to follow where He’s leading me.
This all sounds great, but also maybe a little discouraging if journaling daily feels impossible. Here are some tips to help get in a consistent prayer journaling habit:
1. USE A PEN YOU LIKE.
I know this sounds like a very shallow thing, but you’d be amazed how much a bad pen hinders the flow of your prayers. I love using black Papermate Flairs. Other pens are less smooth for my hand to keep moving. Even a Papermate Flair that’s drying out affects things. I’m flipping the pen around to get more ink out. Or staring at the tip to see which end will give a smooth writing experience. For some of you, this sounds insane. But get you a good smooth pen that won’t slow you down. If it takes 30 minutes, it will be harder to commit to, but if it takes less time because of a pen, let’s clear the distractions!
2. SET A TIMER FOR 10-15 MINUTES.
Someone asked how long it normally takes me to write out a page in our Signature Prayer Journal. I checked the clock and it was about 10-15 minutes depending on how much the prayers flowed. My recommendation is to experiment with setting a timer. This will remove any dread you feel about not knowing how long it might take and also remove the expectation that you’ve got to fill every line of the page. Just get started, set a timer and when it’s done, finish the thought.
3. BE OKAY WITH WHITE SPACE.
If we assume we need to fill out every line, we might just be so paralyzed by that thought that we don’t attempt anything. We aren’t trying to cover every speck of whitespace. We’re really just trying to communicate with God on a consistent basis. When we do that, our desire for prayer will slowly but surely start to grow.
4. INCLUDE A LITTLE OF EVERYTHING.
At the front of our Signature and Rhythms Journals, we have a page that gives advice on praying through ACTS: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. Utilize that to help you know what to say next. We started sharing this with the girls because Vivi’s gotten to the age where she’s not sure what to say and the ACTS model is helping her expand her prayers too.
5. ASK A QUESTION.
Ask God questions. When you ask questions, you are preparing your heart to get up from your prayer time ready to keep the conversation going and listen for where He leads. Here are some examples:
- Lord, who can I help today? Give me eyes to see them!
- Lord, is there any sin I need to confess that I’m not seeing?
- Lord, what aspects of nature can I delight in today?
- Lord, how can I bring joy to my home today?
6. KEEP YOUR JOURNAL BY YOUR BED.
Ok, this tip is not for everyone. If you have a good routine of waking up early to pray, skip this. But if you struggle to get up early, keep your journal next to your bed and do it before you get up. This makes it easier to get up to do if you know you can stay in your warm snuggly bed a little longer if you’re praying. I did this just this morning and have a $13 book light that I can clip to my journal so I don’t wake up my husband Tyler. Prayers in a quiet, mostly dark room, in a comfy bed could become something you look forward to and don’t want to skip!
7. REMEMBER WHERE YOU WANT TO HEAD.
There’s a quote by James Clear from Atomic Habits I shared a few weeks ago when I talked about my word for the year, Rebuild, but it’s been so impactful: “You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results.” We don’t need to blow it out of the park every day with words that feel like they’ve been plucked from heaven. We don’t need to cover our journals in ink to prove we’re praying. We don’t need one good day. We want to be creating a consistent pattern. That’s what affects our trajectory. I have thought about this a lot in terms of getting healthy and dropping a few pounds that just aren’t serving me. My discouragement that things aren’t immediate threatens to make me quit. We can’t focus on that. We’ve got to focus on our trajectory. You writing three lines of prayer down daily will compound if you can stick with it. One amazing long prayer session is great, but if you’re not praying consistently, it likely won’t move you in the direction you want to go.
There you have it! If you journal daily or if you started using the Signature Journal this year, leave a comment and tell us what’s helped you stay consistent!!