For years I struggled with my morning devotions. I felt that, while just reading my Bible was great, I wasn’t really reflecting on or remembering anything. Sure, I would think about it throughout the day, but once a week or two went by, the scriptures and my thoughts on them had come and gone, never to be remembered again.
On top of that, my prayers seemed very all-over-the-place and random. I felt I was always forgetting to pray for certain family members or friends going through tough times. I also wasn’t thinking about any prayer requests that had been answered and thanking God.
So many people love writing in a prayer journal each day. I envy those of you that are able to beautifully put your prayers and thoughts into writing. That is just not a gift that God gave me! I struggled with this for a long time, wanting to have a prayer journal, starting a prayer journal, not making it past three days in my prayer journal. I finally came to the realization that it’s just not my style. I didn’t enjoy doing it, so of course I wasn’t going to stick with it. I’m more of a list maker!
Determined to find a system that worked for me, I took a look at what I needed:
- A place to write down my prayer requests
- A place to write down updates for those prayer requests
- A place to write down what passages I read each day
- A place to write down what I learn from my Bible reading each day
Here is what I came up with! On each page of my notebook, I fold the paper so the side of the page touches the red margin line. This divides the page into two columns. It differs depending on which side of the paper I am writing on, but the larger column is for my Bible reading, while the smaller column is for prayers.
The larger column is a daily record of what I read and learn. I write the date and what passages I will be reading that day. I like to write it italicized so it stands out a little from my own thoughts. You could also highlight the verses. Beneath that, I write any thoughts I have about the passages. Is it something I’m struggling with? Is it something that I can change about myself? Is it a call to action? Whatever it is, I write it down!
The smaller column is for my prayer requests. I try to have the things I’m praying for across from what I read each day. However, if I have a lot of prayer requests one day, I don’t worry about it. I don’t write the same prayer request down twice on one page. Instead I just quick look at my prayer requests from the day before and pray! If I have an ongoing prayer request, I write it down again when I start a fresh page so I don’t forget. It is very important to leave a space in between each prayer request. This is great for the future. I like to go back after prayer requests are answered and note when and how they were answered!
Here is a look at one of my notebook pages. Jk, it’s a sample I made taking out private prayer requests and taking time to make my handwriting look a lot better than it usually does! 😉
It helps to have a large notebook with college ruled lines. More room for writing! It doesn’t technically help, but it is also nice to have super cute notebook! I love this one I got from Target a few years ago! (I love floral prints!)
If there was a sermon I really learned a lot from, I sometimes take an entire page and copy my notes down.
If there is a topic I am interested in or struggling with, that gets a page to itself too!
Bottom line: there isn’t one way to spend time in prayer and in the Bible. However, there are certain ways that work better for some people than others! I am not a journaler, but I do love lists. This way of structuring my quiet time notebook has helped me be more consistent in doing my quiet time, made my prayers more intentional, and helped me remember to be thankful when my prayers are answered! I have kept up with this for more than two years now! I think it’s safe to say it’s working for me!
What about you? Are you a prayer journal writer or are you more of a list maker? Share your thoughts and comments below or on my Facebook page!