Five years ago, I created a prayer journal with a monthly format that has helped thousands of people clear the distractions and find the focus to cultivate deeper prayer lives!
One of the reasons I think this journal has been so effective is that you can fill out the sections once and pull out your journal for the next 30 days. There’s no daily pages or pressure to write every day. If you’re a perfectionist like me, it’s easy to not even attempt some things if you don’t have a lot of time to do it all the way, so being able to pull out your journal if you only have a few minutes just might be the ticket!
So how do I actually prep my prayer journal for the month? Read through the steps below or check this video!
SCHEDULE TIME TO FILL IT OUT ONCE A MONTH
This sounds basic but if we don’t plan time ahead, it can get squeezed out by the seemingly more urgent things. If you make time for this one day each month, you’ll set yourself up for success the other 30 days.
Some people arrange with their spouse an hour at the coffee shop or roommates will go together to set up their journal.
Mark off 30-60 min in your calendar or set an alarm in your phone for a certain day each month so you remember!
Some good things to have on hand are
- Bible or Bible app
- Bible study journal
- Phone (you’ll see why later!)
- Current reads
- Planner and/or goals for the month
PRAY BEFORE YOU GET STARTED
The beauty of this journal is having everything laid out clearly that you want to pray for that month but we want to make sure to do this prayerfully. Invite the Holy Spirit to guide you and to put aside any desires that don’t align with God’s will. Reading Scripture before can be helpful too.
FILL IT OUT
We have two main prayer journals, our Yearly Prayer Journal which will be available for pre-order August 13 and our 6-month journal which you can start at any point in the year. The yearly has a few additional prompts, but we’ll make sure you know the differences as we run through the process!
We added this section to give you fresh motivation for your prayer life each month. What is one way you can challenge yourself in your prayer life for the next 30 days?
Some examples are
- Set my journal open each evening so its ready in the AM.
- Write out my prayer 1x a week.
- Memorize 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18.
- Pray through one section a day.
- Read a few pages of a book on prayer each evening.
- Pray for 15 minutes a day.
- Take my prayer journal in the car.
World & Nation
We start our requests with this section for a reason! Before I started using these journals I focused on prayers for myself. This reminds me how big the world is, takes my focus off me and sets my focus on how big my God is.
I usually keep a line or two open in case anything happens throughout the month that I want to make sure to pray for.
To fill this section out, I’ll think about charities or missionaries that we support. You can also pick one country that you have ties to. Maybe it’s a friend who’s a missionary there, a place in the news or where your adopted child is from. Read a bit about it on Operation World and pick a few things to pray for.
Write down any stories in the news that you have felt extra burdened for. Do not get overwhelmed. Just pick one or two things and focus on lifting them up for the month.
In this section, include prayers for your church. You can pray for the pastoral staff, finances, marriages, and upcoming programs. If you are in a small group, you might include prayers here for the people in your group.
Also, pray for your neighborhood, opportunities to share the Lord and non-profits in your town.
If you’re using your My Loves section for your husband and/or kids, start by asking what they need prayer for over the next month. You might also use books like Power of a Praying Wife or Power of a Praying Mom to give you fresh insight into the kinds of things you can be praying for your family.
Some single ladies like to use this section to pray for their future mate. Here’s an article with some ideas on how to do this!
For anyone not married and not feeling called to that, we love seeing this section used for those passions in your life or your ministry!
My Family / Sweet Friends
This is where your phone comes in handy! Shoot them a quick text and ask what you can be praying for this month. We’ve seen people use the “question box” on Instagram to do this as well! Make sure to pay close attention when you’re with these people in person. A prayer need may reveal itself in casual conversation.
These requests can start to add up, but instead of getting overwhelmed by not being able to help, entrust those needs to the one who CAN. Here are some ways to pray creatively for your friends!
A big part of prayer is joining God in His mission for the world. When it comes to this section, that’s exactly what you’re doing! Jot down the initials of a few friends or family members that need to know Christ. Don’t get stuck just praying for them though, also ask the Lord how YOU can act. Not sure who to write down here? Check out this blog post!
This section is for forgiving hurts and loving the hard to love. Spend a minute in prayer about who / what you need to write in these blanks. You might be afraid about what the Lord will reveal to you, but press into those hard places in pursuit of healing. Having trouble with forgiveness? Click here.
Personal / Goals
When you come to this section, remember that God cares for your everyday. He cares for the big things and the really small things. Nothing you bring to Him will He say “Keep that to yourself and just bring me…” He wants it all!
What do you feel that you need most right now? It might be a friend, some rest, wisdom on a decision. Bring those desires to Him, with hands open for His answer. Write those things down.
Ask God questions. The ones we recommend are: What do you want to grow in me / my family / my work next?
And 4 things that are always on my list? Joy in Christ, Peace in Christ, Energy / Rest, and Flexibility
Other ideas for your personal section are
- Areas you want to grow
- Things happening that month (pull out your planner here!)
- Fears or worries
You might use your Big Goals to consistently pray over your life or yearly goals. Or if you update your goals periodically, this section might change monthly. If you use Powersheets by Cultivate What Matters, this section pairs perfectly! Don’t be intimidated by this section and feel like it needs to be anything grand. Sometimes my BIG goal is to simply deepen my passion for the Lord!
Part of praying for my goals is actually surrendering them and asking God to do His will. Be open to your needs and goals shifting and changing as you pray for them. The Lord might have something different (and better!) in mind.
Ever feel like praying for yourself and your goals is selfish? Click here to read why it’s not!
The Big Goals section is only in our Yearly Prayer Journal.
If there is anything you WISHED we had a section for, this is your opportunity to customize your journal! Use this page to expand on a section that needs more lines or even add more Scripture here! I normally have one section to pray for my business, another for all those people I’ve said “I’ll be praying for you!” so that I really mean it. and I’ve also had sections for friends trying to conceive or missionaries.
Another one of our favorite ideas is to keep one of these sections for lessons from your current reads (whether books or Scripture) that you want to pray about and live out!
Click here to see a whole list of ideas on how to use the blank sections that YOU sent in!
We suggest picking a single name or characteristic of God, to focus on in your adoration section. Include a definition or example verse to meditate on or pray back to God as well. If you’re on Instagram, we highly recommend following Sara Hagerty for daily adoration inspiration.
The Adoration section is only included in our Yearly Prayer Journal, but you might make it one of your blank sections!
For your Scripture section, think of a "prayer-starter" to put here. Something that you can pray word-for-word or just gets your mind in the right place for prayer. Look at your Bible or Bible study journal for anything that’s been standing out to you lately!
The quote might be a recent highlight from your current read or something you've seen or heard in a sermon or podcast that you want to pray over and live out.
For more ideas on the Adoration / Scripture / Quote sections, check out this blog post!
As you notice things answered throughout the month, write them down here. Some things may not be black and white. Don't discount the ways that you see God working, even if they're not exactly what you expected!
Takes some time to look back on these every few months or at the end of the year. As you remember how God worked, they have the ability to increase your faith and in turn, keep you praying!