Keeping A Prayer Journal
Do you sometimes struggle with prayer? I do.
There are days when I get so distracted that no matter what I do – whether it’s praying the Rosary or Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament – my mind just simply wanders off .
In recent years, however, I have turned to a practice which has helped me stay focused during prayer. Through time and daily practice, I have found this tool – a prayer journal – to be a tremendous asset to deepening my prayer life and relationship with our Lord. More importantly, writing my prayers out has helped me to keep my mind centred on Him.
What Is A Prayer Journal?
A prayer journal goes deep into one’s heart to document and capture an interior dialogue between the writer and Jesus in a written form.
Like a letter to a loved one, an entry in your prayer journal can address anything and everything in your heart to the Lord. You can celebrate or you can grieve. You can ask questions and you can listen. Put simply, it is a channel for articulating – through writing – your heartfelt thoughts and prayers to Jesus.
In reviewing my past journals, I cannot help but be amazed at how my life has unfolded in recent years. The journal entries (written as letters to our Lord) captured my highs and lows, my joys and tribulations, the insights I received and how they helped me to get through the challenges I faced. They are testimony to the Lord’s guiding hand in my life.
Because the steps are simple and customisable, you too can start your own prayer journal with some guidelines below.
What You Need To Get Started
- A notebook or journal. It can be as plain or as fancy as you like. Local Catholic book stores do stock affordable journals with Bible verses printed at the bottom of the page.
- A good writing pen or pencil. The choice is yours. Find something that is easy to hold and you are comfortable writing with.
- Schedule time and find a quiet and comfortable place where you can pray, reflect and be alone with the Lord.
- A Bible. Have one on hand so that you can add scripture verses to your journal entries.
How to Start Journaling
- Begin with a Prayer: It can be daunting to sit in front of a blank sheet of paper and try to enter into a dialogue with the King of Kings. Call upon the Holy Spirit to guide and lead you during your prayer time with the Lord. Ask for the intercession of our Blessed Mother.
- Reflect on the Day’s Readings: You could transcribe a verse from the daily Eucharist readings that strike you and use that to set a prayer intention. Or you could ask for His guidance and grace in navigating the challenges that you are currently facing.
- Start Writing: Begin to pray to the Lord and record yourself as you pray. Take your time and contemplatively write what you want to say to the Lord. How are you feeling today? What do you want Him to show you? What lessons does He want you to learn? Leave some space at the bottom to record answers to prayers, observations, and scripture quotes that are relevant to situations you are praying for.
- Keep It Simple and Real! Don’t worry about how neat your handwriting is or if you are using the correct grammar and spelling because this is not a graded essay. Share your heart, keep it real and write freely.
- End with gratitude: Write a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord for all the good things He’s done for you.
- Persevere! For a start, try to journal your prayers 2-3 times a week. If you remain consistent and persevere, you will in time start to see a tangible record of your precious prayer moments with Jesus!
By Cheryl Sim