Putting My Prayer Life in Order

 There are times when our prayer life is rich and other times when it is lean. Here is how I keep my prayer life in order and how I journal my prayers. #WomenLivingWell #Prayer #WarRoom #PrayerJournal

Order – I crave order. I make schedules and lists and plans and then the children wake up…and well – the order goes out the window! That’s when I light my candle, put on some classical music and say a prayer for peace in our home lol!I shared on a post earlier this year – how my prayer life deeply suffered in 2012.  Typically, I come to the end of the year and my prayer journal is bursting at the seams with a vibrant walk with God – but not in 2012.  I was so busy blogging and homeschooling and cooking and cleaning and taking care of my husband…that long prayer times were abandoned for popcorn prayers through out the day.So 2013 gave me a fresh start and I’m still struggling to find a new balance with a new ministry that is taking more time than it once did.  It’s a discipline more easily lost than regained.After sharing my above struggle I got quite a few emails from women asking for more details about what’s inside my prayer journals…so here’s how I do them.

Every year on January 1st, I attempt to get my spiritual life in order. I crack open a fresh, simple 5 subject notebook and transfer my favorite quotes and verses from last year’s journal to this years journal. Then I write out my spiritual goals for the year and begin my first devotion of the new year!

I have been journaling since I was 16 – so for about 21 years (I’ll save you the math – I’m 37 years old lol!). So you may ask, what do I write in my journals? My answer: It’s a massive plethora of stuff – that’s why I get the 5 subject, college rule, notebooks!. I write:
1. My daily prayer requests.Sometimes they are in list form and sometimes I write out entire prayers.

2. Confessions. I confess my sins in my notebook – yikes – do not let the kids get a hold of these lol! Lately, I have grown more private and I use code words or often I write the word “confession” (as seen above) and then I pause to confess my sins but I don’t write them down. The discipline of confessing is unnatural – it is easy to become neglectful in this area.

3. Praises. Sometimes I write them in list form and sometimes I write out entire prayers of thanksgiving.

4. Verses. Often, I write out verses from my quiet time using the SOAK method.  The S – stands for Scripture. The O – stands for Observations. The A – stands for Applications. The K – stands for Kneeling in Prayer.

5. Prayer requests for others.  I have missionary prayer cards I pray through. I also pray through lists of names of family, friends, and bloggers.  When I led women’s Bible studies, I always kept the sign-up list in the folder so I could pray for the ladies by name.

6. Book notes – when I read a good book, I consider the author my mentor. Often times I journal quotes that have touched my soul.

What I don’t journal:

1. Bad things my husband says or does. At one time I would go to my journal when we fought and just pour out my frustrations…to the Lord. Taking my frustrations to the Lord was good but journaling them not so good. Here’s why…a few years later, I was reading through a journal and came to a point where Keith and I were fighting – oh it was ugly! All the feelings rushed back as if it had just happened only moments ago – what a tool from the enemy to distract me from the forgiveness and grace God had helped me to extend. I learned that day to no longer journal when I am angry…if you feel a need to write – tear it out and toss it – it’s amazing how anger can be restirred up simply by remembering.

2. Bad things about others. Here and there in my journals, I express disappointment when a friend or family member has hurt me. It’s amazing how years later, I can see my immaturity in some situations to the point that I am embarrassed of myself when I read what I wrote – sin is so evident all over the pages! I do not want to sin in my journal!

So it’s a new year and time for new beginnings. It’s time to get our spiritual lives in order. If you have never tried journaling, I encourage you to hit the nearest Target and get yourself an inexpensive notebook. I can testify that it has been a powerful tool in my spiritual life.

 Walk with the King,


**Chime In: Do you journal? What do you put in your journals? If you are a blogger and have blogged about your journals – feel free to include the link to your post in the comment section.

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing your prayer journal!! I always pray ALL through out my day, but I find myself forgetting names of missionaries I wanted to pray for, requests from friends, things I wanted to THANK Jesus for among a million other things!! I’ve also found my mind moves so fast I can’t get it to slow down much when I’m trying to pray in my quiet time. I LOVE your ideas and this is exactly what I was looking for to get started on my prayer journal!! If you have time in your day would you pray for my own prayer journal?! THANKS!!

  1. My “One Word” for 2013 is Prayer. God hadn’t released me from that being my focus from the year before.
    This year (and prayerfully for the rest of my days; because prayer is so vital) I’m purposeful in “doing the thing”.
    I started a prayer notebook following the example of Gina Garland.
    I feel that its just what I need to at least get me started and see how it evolves over the years.
    Thank you for sharing…especially what NOT to write! I’ve actually just thrown journals away!
    Blessings my friend!

  2. Courtney – I LOVE this! That spiritual discipline of journaling has been huge in my life the last 8 years or so. I unpack my heart, sit quietly with Him, let Him talk back to me. I write about what I’m reading and learning and struggling with. No names! And end each entry listing 3 gratitudes.

    It’s morphed into a bit of a scrapbook over time, with bits and pieces of notes and collected feathers and dried leaves. Ticket stubs and snapshots. I love it.

    I’ve shared about 50 selected journal musings at my blog under From Pen to Paper. ‘Filling Yet Another Journal’ says it all

  3. Thank you for sharing. I have been wanting to start a prayer journal for years. I have started and stopped so many times because I haven’t been able to come up with a good method. I also poured out my hurts and frustrations with my husband in them only to read it again and have the frustration return. This may have the reason my prayer journal has not been a success. I love you ideas and I am looking forward to starting a new prayer journal, focusing on the key topics above.

  4. Courtney,

    I so loved this post! I journal as well and I got tickled about the parts where you used to write about things your husband or others have done to you. Yes, I’ve been there too, but as I grow and mature, I don’t see the need to write about anything but my own relationship with the Lord.

    Blessings and happy journaling!

  5. I really loved your post Courtney. Prayer is so important. I use Evernote for my journal, its fantastic. Tara
    (The Proverbs 31 sanctuary)

    1. I love using an electronic format also, and I have my journals in OneNote. I can password protect it (no prying eyes when kids borrow my laptop…) and previous years’ notes are completely searchable.

      I have Bible study notes filed by book of the Bible and chapter, so whenever I revisit a particular chapter, I can review what I learned last time and then build on it. Prayer notes are filed by topic and daily thoughts are filed by date. I type much faster than I write, so I can spend more time reading, studying, and praying than I do in writing about it.

      If I forget where or when I recorded something, OneNote easily finds if for me. Besides search capabilities,there are other advantages of an electronic format. I can copy and paste excerpts from relevant internet articles (with the source URL automatically recorded by OneNote), copy and paste Bible verses or study helps from eSword, transfer highlights and book notes from my Kindle, and insert hyperlinks to other parts of my OneNote notebooks (or Outlook task list) to connect journal entries with action steps or other information. This one advantage has made me far more likely to follow through consistently on what I learn, as well as helping me connect new discoveries to previous ones.

      Oh, and when I come across negative things I’ve written (in spite of my determination not to), I can repent again and then hit “delete.” Much more satisfying than putting paper through the shredder–seems more thorough somehow. LOL

  6. I added something new to mine this tear. Just as the Israelites erected Remerance Stones after crossing the Jordan, I too am encouraged when I can look back and see God’s hand in action.
    I do this two ways. 1. I leave room after my prayer requests and go back in red when and how God answered that prayer. Powerful stuff! It amazes me how often God did answer my prayers before and I was just too busy to notice or I would notice but forget a few days later. 2. Noting reasons I love my husband or anything that is honorable and praise worthy. This was at the suggestion of my marriage mentor at church and it has helped tremendously. I now have a deeper attitude of gratitude and a growing list of why I love him!

    Thank you again Courtney for being real and honest…sooo refreshing! I stopped journaling about my husband too . Came across an old journal recently and thought, “wow, how wounded my husband mught if he read this even though it was 5 yrs ago or worse yet my boys read it!”.

  7. Thank you for the peek at your journal Courtney. It’s a timely reminder to get back to journaling, after a prolonged period of illness I have neglected my prayer times but it has really given me an insight into the lives of people who become sick and subsequently feel so low that they don’t even read God’s Word. Praise God I’m much better and ready to begin journaling again, I hope you are well Courtney. Glad you are back. With love
    Julie in Scotland

  8. Hi Courtney!

    I love this blog entry. This year my husband and I wrote our goals in January (which flew by!); so now in February, we are writing out a plan for those goals. I’ve put mine and those he shared with me on my laptop. I intend to read over these once a week, while writing in a beautiful prayer journal all my prayers and the answers to them-remembering that my goal is to pray for every member of my family every day. The time to do this? Well, I’ve just become a grandmother; so I’ve decided to pray for the busy lives of everyone in our family who has hardly a moment to pray. My generation may never truly retire- but I will have work/life balance, and includes praying for the younger generation who do not have the time!

  9. Hi Courtney,

    I’ve been reading your blog for about a year and have been so encouraged by it. Thank you for sharing your prayer journals with us. You share some great ideas here that I think I’ll implement. My written prayers have up to now, consisted of lists that I cross off when the prayers are answered and then eventually tossed away!

    I’ve kept journals since I was a teenager and I shared a bit about why in a blog post several years back:

    I’m off to dig up a 5-subject notebook! Thanks for the encouragement! 🙂


  10. Love this. I have been filling my days, taking on new responsibilities and really stretching myself… what is the first thing that goes…. my time with God! This was really helpful to read. Thank you!

    A question, is your journal organized? Like prayers , verses, books, praise all in diffrent ‘subjects’ or do you free write and just date the page??

    1. The first three sections are free writing with prayers, praises, thoughts to ponder and Bible verses – the last two I use for taking notes from books I read and Bible studies I’m doing (and even blog ideas that come to me).

      1. Ooh, thanks for that tip, Courtney! I love the idea of incorporating my SOAP notes from the GMG studies into my prayer journal.!!

    1. Jessica – I shared your the link to your blog in my GMG study group. And now Courtney’s link to this post. Thank you both!

  11. I find that writing to God after a disagreement with my husband helps a lot, but then I put it through the shredder. It’s gone in more ways than one.

  12. Courtney,
    I loved this post. I’m an organizer and make lists as well. I’ve journaled for years and have often struggled with how to maintain several journals for prayer, reflections, goals, etc. I love that you use a 5-subject notebook. I actually use a hardback leather journal that I purchase from Barnes & Noble every year. I hadn’t considered creating sections in the journal itself. The “creative” in me loves that idea and I think I’ll incorporate it into the current one. Thanks for sharing your categories and tips. It can be very encouraging when others share similar choices and patterns of behavior. It reminds us that we’re not on the journey alone and isolated in our thinking.
    Stay close to Him, Vita

    1. I just wanted to add that I actually just finished a series today over on my blog on how I organize my quiet time. I was one of the women that emailed you wandering about your prayer journal so thanks again for sharing.

  13. Thank you for this, Courtney! I’ve been keeping a smaller prayer/praise journal for a few years, but have wanted to step it up a notch – this is just what I needed. Thank you! Thank you Thank you!

  14. Thank you for posting this. THIS is a great post today although I keep a prayer journal I really need to re-fofocus. Keeping a prayer journal helps me accountable for specific prayers for my family..my self..and other. Uplifting praises to the Lord..sometimes I write song lyrics or scripture. Many Psalms verses I write out.

  15. Hi Courtney loved this post. After watching your video about this I bought a notebook for this year and I am determined to fill it up. So thank you this explained it a lot more! I found your blog in December and I have been blessed with it thank you for blogging!!

  16. I LOVE this idea. I was always a great journaler in my youth, but I stopped when life became hectic. I found my journals became filled with anger, weakness, and things I really didn’t want to share with my children if ever they went through them.

    This is a lovely idea. The Lord’s really been dealing with me about making quiet time with Him.

    Thank you so much!!! 🙂

  17. Courtney, thank you SO much for sharing. I started a prayer journal for the first time this year and have not written very much in it yet but you have given me additional guidance to know what to write and I know that spending more intentional time in the Word and in prayer will only deepen my faith and enhance my walk with God.

  18. Hi Courtney,
    I did journaling 13 years ago and I stopped after a year when I started to get distracted with many things in life. After reading your post about your prayer life in 2012, I was inspired to start journaling my prayer again. I have been journaling since 1 Jan 2013 and I’m still keeping it going. Thanks for sharing how you do your journal. Now I have more ideas to do my journal. It definitely make my journal more interesting.

  19. I so enjoy reading your posts each week. Although, I am a great-Grandma now your posts take me back to when my girls were young. Your thoughts and advice are right -on, and very encouraging. Today’s post on prayer journaling reminds me…I can’t find my prayer journal. How easy it is to get out of a habit. I started doing devotions last summer with my Bible and Devotional book on my iPad…but hesitate to journal there too. In the transition my journal has gotten lost in the house. I’m encouraged to find it again.

  20. Shalom!

    What an awesome way to keep a prayer journal! I too am recommitting to my journaling efforts this year. My we so desperately off track though, i chose to start with a simple format of writing responses to a devotional that I am reading this year. I am also exploring other ways to do more journals as time goes forward. I shared my thoughts about it on my blog http://agapevisionsinc.com/2013/01/13/prayer-journal/ As I grow and re-solidify the habit itself, this is going to be a great help to me in growing my own method. Thanks so much for sharing!~

    Surrendered to Him~

  21. Hi Courtney,
    You are an inspiration- of energy and love! And such a beautiful young woman with a great head on your shoulders! Thank you for nudging me to journal again. I used to journal every morning with devotions. So helpful. Now my journal is mostly my church prayer requests and is not so personal. I miss it. Must figure out the best way for me to get going again and get my life in balance. Thanks!

  22. Thanks for letting us in on your journal a bit. I have been journaling for years also. But unlike you I do write about my fights and frustations with my husband, children, friends, ect…. Not to remember necessarily but to work out my thoughts.
    I have never called my journal a prayer journal per se although it has plenty of those in it. But it is my everything journal too.. I can get tooo caught up in the emotions of what is going on and when I stop and write about not only what I’m feeling but the event it’s self it helps me to put it into perspective and often I find how silly I am being or God gives me His eyes to see the situation through His lens. (a frequent prayer) I write those results down too. So while I rarely go back and read my journals when I do I see God working through my life as I grow in Him.
    Sometime those things take days and weeks and even years but I don’t feel the emotions all over again but can stand in a new place a see how I have changed more into the likeness of God or where I’ve failed and need God’s grace again.
    I always pick a pretty journal with a picture or verse that is encouraging to me (often they are never that expensive) and I just write until it is full and get a new one. My family knows that it is mine and private and no one reads it. When my children were younger I have been known to put it out of reach of little fingers but my teenager also journals and doesn’t want me reading hers. So I respect that and she respects mine.
    I encourage others to try it. Make it yours, I’ve been known to have workout plans, to do lists, and praises all on the same page! It is for you to use and a journal will look different for each person!

  23. Thanks for sharing on your prayer journal. I was convicted to start journaling again this past year (2012) after a life-changing retreat. I can not believe I went so long without it! One thing I do that helps is to write praise reports in red, especially when it is an answer to prayers I have been specific about. I look back on these “red entries” to help me get through the times when I am struggling with other issues. I know God is faithful, but I sometimes need the visual reminder.

    1. That’s a great idea. 🙂 I was trying to think of a way to make praises stand out or link them to the requests. I heard of a man in church once who had a prayer request journal. He would write down the date of the prayer request and leave a few blank lines underneath to write in the date the prayer was answered. Some would take years to be answered, some only took minutes. It was pretty amazing.

  24. I have always wanted a prayer journal, but I am not a journal-er. Never have been, mostly because I always thought it had to be a certain way, or done on a certain time schedule. I always messed up and missed a day or a week, etc, then gave up because it didn’t fit in the predetermined mold. It has taken a long time (I must be hard headed) to realize there isn’t a prescribe method needed. I can simply jot down my prayer requests, a quote, scripture, and then go on about my day. It doesn’t have to be lined up and perfect. Thank you for being honest and real. May God bless you.

    1. I can relate Brooke. I like to be so organized sometimes (and life with four children rarely is) that I give up on things when they don’t fit into that schedule, mold, etc. I always start off with the best intentions then don’t finished because my expectations weren’t met. I’m trying to work on finishing things through even if they aren’t perfect. 🙂

  25. Thank you for sharing this. I have always wanted to journal, but anytime I did in high school I would end up ripping it up, throwing it away, etc. I was journaling about all the wrong things: hurt feelings, boyfriends, past mistakes I didn’t want to relive, etc. So I stopped journaling for years because I hated reading my thoughts a year or two later and reliving all those negative feelings again. My church leaders always emphasize using devotional/prayer journals during your quiet time. I have always hesitated writing down my personal feelings, fears, and hopes before God. I had an insecurity praying aloud and writing down my prayer thoughts thinking it was a way for Satan to use it against me. If he couldn’t read it and I didn’t speak it out loud then he couldn’t know what was on my heart. I’m overcoming that insecurity. My prayer life and quiet time also suffered in 2012, so I appreciate your openness. Recently, I shared a post on my blog challenging people to give God 5 minutes in the morning to pray, give your day to Him and read a scripture verse. My hope is to have people start small and gradually increase their time spent with God. The more we seek Him the more we desire to be in His presence longer, but it does take discipline and some days it’s just plain hard. Thanks!

  26. thank you so much for this post! it’s exactly what I needed to hear. So thatful to God for His gentle and patient leading <3

    I used to journal just like you, only not so organized! lol 😀 I used to need to write down my prayers or not pray, because I would get 2 seconds into talking to God and be thinking about supper or what I have to do tomorrow, or just spacing out. Thanks to Fibromyagia fog for that one. Journalling really helped me to keep on track, but it's been over a year since I've done that, just completely forgot!

    Again, I am so thankful for Jesus gentle guidance and reminders at just the right time in my life. Bless you and your ministry here! <3

  27. Thank You Courtney for being so transparent, that is a difficult thing to do in our world of plastic people, especially women. Unfortunately our Christian culture has put so much pressure on women to be Perfect that we (christian women) aren’t real with each other.

    I too have been journaling since I was 13 years old and am older than you. I have found over the years that I shredded the negative entries, as they do tend to stir up old feelings.

    What I do now is have a VENT journal that I use to just vent my frustrations and angry feelings. I destroy these entries shortly afterward.
    Then I have a regular journal that I record only pleasant things and words from God. It is amazing how God’s word to us is just as relevant today as it was over 20 years ago.

  28. Courtney, thank you SO much for sharing this. I was also wondering what you put in your journals. I keep an electronic journal in Evernote by year. I title the year by my “word of the year” to keep me focused on it. I don’t journal regularly, I want to change this. I also keep a separate gratitude journal in a notebook. My whole family has started this as their Lenten project this year. Lastly, in Evernote I keep a separate “notebook” for my GMG SOAP notes and notes from books I’ve read. It seems to work for me- certainly keeps everything in one place and always a cessible on my computer, ipad and iPhone…. So I don’t have a reason not to journal. Tina

  29. Thanks for the specifics of being careful what you post on light of time, when you go back to review. Very insightful, good post with lots of mind food.
    I am not supporting you age math sentence (16+19=35 I believe)

    1. Gail – you are the FIRST to notice – I wondered when someone would point this out!!! My dad teased me about my math this morning (honestly – math is one of my favorite subjects – not sure how I botched that so badly lol!) – so I fixed it but I’m kicking myself because it already went out in all the emails to subscribers!!! Such a bummer!
      Thanks for commenting 🙂

  30. Thank you for reminding us to let go. To not focus on anger and hurt feelings from situations with our husbands. I like the idea of ripping out and tossing anything that is journaled in anger. I am reminded of the verse: Philippians 4:8-9

  31. Just maybe this will give me the push to do this! A few weeks ago I bought a pretty notebook to use as a prayer journal. I had gone back through your posts to see how you use yours and jotted down the main points. I have it laying on the stand beside my bed. But I have yet to pick up the pen and begin. I am always afraid I’ll begin and fail. =(

    This year I am really working at a consistent daily quiet time and have been so blessed and excited about God’s WORD and its work in my heart. But the prayer journal would surely only enhance it! If I can just begin…

    1. You cannot fail, its your prayer journal. I have gone through times when writing was easy, and times when I could only be still and let God read my heart. My last journal lasted almost 3 years ( I was really hurting. I don’t try to be perfect I scratch stuff out, I’ve fallen asleep writing and left some scratch . It’s ok God doesn’t care He is happy you tried…. I’ll be praying for you.

  32. Hi Courtney!!! Thank you for this post!!! It was MAJOR confirmation on what the Lord has been telling me. To pray more. I usually journal on a consistent daily or every other day basis and lately I have not been doing so. I, now, know to get back consistent. And thank you for the great idea on using a 5 subject notebook (I’ve been using a composition notebook, but I think the 5 subject notebook would be a bit better). Have a blessed day!

  33. hi thanks so much for sharing about your journaling, I have over the years wrote things down. it has changed in the way I have done it many times many years ago i wrote daily and called it the word of the day..God in my time with him would give me a word and I would run with that searching out as many scriptures that that word was in and seeking out the meaning..and then writing down my thoughts and how it fit with my life..I formed such a close relashioinship with him during that time. many years later I find myself yearning for that again and am starting a new journal notebook led by a devoitonal book or two..along with his prompting to search what he puts on my heart. I also journal feelings in other notebooks i come from a abusive past and have mental illness so i have found journaling in many forms helps. I also like to write down prayers for others or things in my life writeing the prayers comes so much more eaisly for me then saying them out loud and i think they really gets me thinking as i write each word…thanks again and take care <3

  34. Courtney, I too, journal prayers and much else- I also host a link up the first Friday of every month for sharing from the heart pages from our journals. I think you make good points about being careful about what we write with the guidelines mentioned with regard to husbands and loved ones. It’s so true that as time goes on perspective is changed and so are we as we become more like Him, transformed by grace on our journey- it is so great to see some of that reflected in the journal pages…and other times it is a humbling reminder of who we are apart from Him…I actually have journals from before I became a Believer. ANyway…I love this post!

  35. Courtney, Thank you so much for this post. I could write for an hour or more about how important prayer is to me, but how lately its been such a struggle. I’ve gone through frustration at myself and circumstances, to guilt over not focusing on the Lord. It’s been a struggle. But I appreciate this post so much. Thank you once again for the encouragement. Oh, thank you thank you!


  36. Courtney, I have so enjoyed your posts and getting to “know” you! I am growing closer to the Lord everyday and am loving every minute of it. There is so much in my mind that I want to do and I feel like God is showing me ways and giving me His answers when I pray to do them but I am not sure how to get started. I wondered if you could help me, where do I start to write a blog? I want to help encourage people but not sure how to begin??!!!
    Following you daily,

  37. I commented just a while ago thanking you for this post. I feel so convicted to return to prayer journaling and develop it as a consistent and life sustaining habit. But as I was thinking about it, I realized how much I want to show my husband this post. I can’t wait till he gets home tonight, because I think it will encourage him as well. We keep saying how we both want to grow in prayer…. Anyways, thank you again.

  38. I journal daily. I write out scripture, some quotes and often thoughts on the study I’ve been doing. I think I’m going to start journaling my prayers. I’ve really been struggling with my morning prayers – trying to remember everything and keep it all straight. I’ve wanted some organization and I love your idea of writing it all down. Thank you for sharing this! I’m going to try first thing in the morning. 🙂

  39. Hi Courtney,

    I have a book question, do you have any recommendations for books that may help a first time mom to be? I’ve never really been around children and I don’t where to start to learn about pregnancy or parenting a baby!!! Thanks. (I know this is un-related to the blog post but I did read the whole thing & am going to get my very own Prayer journal 🙂

    1. As in been around children for any in-depth length of time. Of course I see them at public places & see relative’s children at holidays. But I have never taken care of any babies! So nervous!

  40. Thank you so much for giving an example of your prayer journal. I would really like to improve my prayer life, and you example is a great help.

  41. I’ve always had journals of some sort, I’ve been thinking specifically about starting a prayer journal but I just didn’t know how? This was an answer to my prayer, thank you for sharing:-)

  42. One more thing… I’m printing this out to keep and share with my 2 daughters (13&9) so they can start too! So very excited, again…thank you!

  43. Thank you so much for sharing about your prayer journals. Life has become very hectic for me, and my prayer life has suffered greatly. I have been trying and trying to reconnect with the Lord. I lead a GMG study group, just joined the Women’s Ministries in my church. But I think this is exactly what I have needed! I can’t wait to get it started today!

  44. Thanks for this reminder. Years ago when I read ‘The Prayer of Jabez” devotional…I began a devotional. I learned a lot from that book about prayer and keeping a prayer journal. The journal from that time is so special because my earnest prayers were answered in a huge way and I have a record of all God did during that time.
    I should really begin that again.

    The How to Guru

  45. I love this idea, as with most of your ideas. 😉 I just have one question….. How do you get 6 categories into a 5 subject notebook? I am a bit OCD and it would drive me crazy to not have each category in it’s own place…. I can’t wait to get started, I have tried journaling off and on for years, and have a collection of many ’empty’ journals. I can just never seem to figure out what to write. This will help me tremendously. Thank you & God bless!

    1. Someone else asked this same question. I’m sorry I wasn’t more clear. I start at the beginning and date it at the top and just start freely writing. My prayers, praises and confessions or verses of the day are all on the same page. I usually fill the first 3 sections just writing freely. Then in the 4th section I write prayers for others and in the fifth I take notes on books I’m reading or write down blog post ideas.

      Hope that helps 🙂

  46. You are inspiring me to start this type of journaling, Courtney. Do you use the 5 sections individually? (a section for praises, a section for prayer requests, etc.) Also, would love to hear an updated post on the order of your day. I could sure use some inspiration there (as in, what time do you get up and go to sleep? What time of day do you typically journal?) Thanks so much for all you do for us, Courtney. I know it comes at a personal sacrifice and that is something I pray about for YOU.

  47. Hi Courtney,
    I’m a new Christian and while I try to read my bible daily, I often find I’m inspired to write things down but wasn’t sure how to structure or record it. Thanks to you I now know I can keep a prayer journal and keep everything in that! Thankyou so much xxx

  48. I do journal my prayers in my Bible Study notebook so they’re all together. I like looking back and seeing how my Bible Study (which I do first) impacts my prayer. I actually write out my prayers, I don’t just make a prayer list. I’ve also created prayer cards to help hold me accountable to pray. Each month I am intentional to pray over a specific topic (February is for my husband, naturally!). It helps me stay on track and hold myself (and others) accountable.

    So glad you’re back to blogging regularly!

  49. Recently, when I have written about things that aggravated me while giving them to God I have torn them out of the NB and placed them in the fire pit and burnt them as a symbol of letting them go 🙂

  50. Hi Courtney,
    I found your blog via a pin on Pinterest and clicked through because something about the title “Putting my Prayer Life in Order” bothered me. I completely appreciate the benefits of spiritual discipline and prayer journalling, but the thing that struck me is this – GOD himself is the author and finisher of our faith! It is not up to us to “get it all together” spiritually. We are all a mess! The best organization and the strictest discipline does us no good if we lose sight of the One who holds us all together. We can do nothing apart from the grace of God and the power that is in Christ Jesus. Surely, God can use prayer journalling to draw us closer to Him, but let us not become slaves to organization and ritual when Christ died to set us free from religious law. I hope you also enjoy the freedom in not having it all together all the time! God bless!
    Your sister in Christ,
    Nicole 🙂

  51. I just finished the book, “Draw the Circle”, by Mark Batterson, along with the 40-Day “Pray the Circle” journal. I was looking for something fresh. Due to my battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety Disorder and ADHD, I had an idea of a “Stress Bag”. I went to WalMart, bought a tote (in the purse section) on clearance for $7! I also bought a 5 subject notebook. I had been working on this, but your blog gave me some ideas. In this tote, I have my notebook, where I put prayer lists/requests from church, our small group/my World Bible School students/plus some grown-up coloring sheets. I have fine-tipped markers (for coloring, of course), a borrowed canister of Play-dough from my son, a protein bar, a small Bible. Kleenex, an eye-patch (when I need to sit and cover my eyes to relax). Plus whatever book I’m reading. Right now it is “Boundaries with Kids” by Townsend and Cloud. I actually read 3 or 4 at once, but it is the one that is in the bag right now. I carry my bag to church, to work and yesterday to my doctor’s office. I was there 3 hours and it was a lifesaver!!!! I got my bag out last night and colored. My son asked the other day, “did you do this all by yourself?”. Gotta love kids!

  52. Wow! What a great way to journal. I too have been journaling since I was a teen (maybe even younger than that). I used to use my journals to pour out my heart about all my frustrations about EVERYTHING. It’s only been in the last several months that I have started to focus my journaling on more TALKING with God about how I’m feeling and addressing those feelings with prayer, petition, praise, etc.

    And you are so right about reliving those old emotions from past journal entries. I used to vent like crazy in my journal about my now ex-husband and I would just add those old feelings to the new ones and whew I would be UPSET! LOL! But you live and learn and grow in grace. Thanks for sharing. You’ve got a new follower. Be Blessed!

  53. Thank you for this word. I friend of mine posted a cute cartoon from your website which lead me to your full site. I read “How to Maintain your Marriage When Your Husband Travels” part 2. This grounded me well. My husband is in France, as I write. He spends most nights at work till about 9:00 or 10:00 if he is in town. Great success is his experience in life it seems, while I have been feeling sorry for myself and renewing my mind on how almost completely friendless, overweight, and feeling stuck at home as a stay at home mom. Your words convicted and healed me. Thank you for your ministry. I am sure the time you spend is substantial and sometimes a burden but I am very thankful that you take your time to teach and share how to be greater and more like God wants us to be.
    I also watched your video on prayer and it brought me to tears. I don’t pray enough..actually not much at all. I can’t say why. Thank you for a word in season. That video sealed what God has been gently asking me for…more time with him.
    I plan to eat up whatever you are dishing out. Please keep it coming and thank you for your sacrifice!

  54. Hey Mrs. Courtney,

    I know you are extremely busy but can you add my husband (EJ) and me (Jaci which is pronounced Jackie) to your prayer list? We’ve been trying for going on 4years now to conceive a child. I have never been pregnant. There is nothing medically wrong with either of us. My husband has 2 kids from a previous marriage that live wih us. We know God is in control and thankfully we have godly counsel who prays with us but I’ll take all the prayer I can get, especially for the hard days! So I would love it if you would add us! Thank you! And I am praying for you and order and routine for your life in this new busy season! Thanks again and thank you for your ministry!!

    Have a Great Day!
    God Bless You!

  55. Hello!
    I’m new to journaling AND new to the bible 🙂 When deciding to write scriptures in your journal, how do you decide what ones to write? Are they scriptures that you feel apply to you at the moment, scriptures you are doing in a bible study? etc.. I feel a little lost on where to start.

    1. Hi Casey! I am a part of an on-line verse by verse Bible study over at http://www.GoodMorninggirls.org We have a daily Bible verse reading plan and a free estudy guide, youtube videos and devotionals to go with your reading. We’d love for you to join us over there! Come check it out!!!
      Courtney 🙂

  56. Thank you for pinning this again. I don’t think I read it when you originally posted. Just the other day I wrote a journal post full of emotion over a disappointment. Many of my journal pages over the years have been these emotional dumping grounds. There is a different way. A better way. Thank you.

  57. Wow this is such a great idea!! I am fairly new to taking my spiritual life seriously and living it authentically (grew up in a home where we were labeled “Christian” and even went to church every week, but NEVER talked about faith or practiced it. Looking back, I think my parents just wanted to maintain an image… no substance. Really sad.) so this concept may be old news to many but this is the greatest idea I’ve heard in a while!! I think this is perfect for adding even more “staying power” to my daily Bible reading/prayer/etc. I especially need to start writing down my favorite verses in ONE organized place… the little scraps of paper I usually use always disappear. Thank you so much for sharing!!!

    And I agree; definitely NOT something I want my kids getting a hold of! Thankfully they are still way too young to read hahaha.

  58. I started journaling my prayers in an effort to keep my focus while praying during my morning quiet time. It works great and is great therapy. It’s a great way to remember certain times, good and bad. It is a solid reminder of my need to pray and praise.

  59. Thanks for sharing this! I’m so thankful for your ministry – it was literally a specific answer to a prayer of mine. How do you handle all the prayer requests you feel you ‘should’ be covering when you only have a set amount of time?

    At the end of last summer I finally disciplined myself enough to set aside a ‘purposeful’ quiet time and I love it! My problem is finding the amount of time to cover all the things my mind wants to cover during prayer. I also have 2 children and homeschool. My quiet time is about an hour (give or take) as it is and I still feel like there are so many list items I should be covering and aren’t: missionairies, extended friends & family, neighbors, etc…

  60. This is SUCH a great post! Girl after my own heart – look at all of those notebooks! 😉 It’s so great to hear how someone else does this – even the little things, like how you even keep your book notes in the same place as your prayers and journaling…love it! (Do you have a separate notebook for church notes, or do you keep them all here to?) I’ve struggled with keeping my prayer life in order since getting saved, and while I’m better than I used to be, I know I’m nowhere near where I could be. This has really inspired me! Thank you. 🙂

  61. Read your article and sooo identified. I usually fill up a typical bound journal every 6 months, but the last couple of years, quiet times have not always been happening and the big gaps in dates in my journals are the evidence!

    For me, journally is essential for my quiet times…..I go back and forth between addressing God directly and just reflecting. Writing keeps my poor ADD mind focussed, and I find I go much deeper in my reflections and in my prayers if I am writing.. And when God reveals something in the process, that too ends up on the paper. The effect of THAT is that I pay more attention, and reflect and pray further about what I think I’m hearing. AND it is down in black and white for me to come back to. How often God has shown me clearly what I should do, and I so easily forget….until I see it again right there on the page!!!!(I try to go back through recent entries every month or so. The Enemy is expert in making us forget!!

    Something I’ve found helpful for my journalling is any quotes from the bible, devotions, or reading that hit me, generally go on the left side, and actual journalling goes on the right. It makes it a lot easier when I am going back through my journal, and trying to find a specific entry based on a verse or whatever….it’s not all a mish mash. And occassionally I’ll even just go through the quotes on the left side for my quiet time!

  62. Hi Courtney,

    Just read your post on journaling. I have always dreamt of journaling and just didn’t know where to start. Thank you for the post. Is there any particular book that you have read to help you journal your prayers? I know there is a book by Becky Tirabassi on prayer. Just wondering. Thanks again for such a great and helpful post.

  63. Thank you so much for posting about a prayer journal and what not to write. this helps me a lot. I am going to do the S.O.A.P. also this will help me a lot. the tips on what not to write are really good also. I often would write things that annoy me and end up tearing them up. thanks again

  64. When I journal, I keep in mind that some day, when I am gone, other people will be reading it and I want it to be a blessing to them. So, in a way, I’m writing to the Lord, but aware that others might be listening in.

  65. I’ve a ton of spiral notebooks – just sitting around this house collecting dust & taking up space. You’ve given me a brilliant idea as what to do with them. Thank you!

  66. Hey. I found your site because i am interested in starting a prayer/devotional/bible study journal. For my prayers, thoughts, revelations from God, bible studies etc….I was wondering has the prayer journal helped you? Can you look back and see a difference? Has it made you closer to God? I cant wait to start mine!

  67. Courtney, this is a great! I journal my prayers, but I never thought to write down my confessions or even write down the word and have a moment of confession and I need to remember to write down my praises. You are very right about not journaling out of anger, especially about your husband. I am going to take mine out of my journal and tear them up and throw them away. Thank you for being a wonderful Christian role model. I tell all the young ladies in my church about your blog!! I just ordered you book, Women Living Well. I am so excited to read it!! Thank you for mentoring me. God is using you in a powerful way!!

  68. This is such an inspirational site! Hello, I saw where you experienced some challenges maintaining your prayerlife in 2012. What advice would you give someone who has an issue with consistency? I often get so excited at the begining of the year but then I seem to get distracted and discouraged. I have often questioned what’s wrong with me. I believe that I love God. I just don’t understand why its been such a challenge for me to maintain a consistant prayerlife.

  69. I just recently within the last six months began a prayer journal and it entirely changed my life and relationship with God. I started out in such an immature manner with the things I wanted from God in prayer and what I was telling Him I wanted and now I am praying for what He wants for me. I am able to hear the Holy Spirit and guide what He wants me to do and pray for. I have learned how to be SO grateful for God and I have learned to praise Him before I do anything else. I have learned how to be thankful. I have learned how to pray for others and put their needs before mine. I have learned how to ask God to become more and more like Christ. Its amazing how writing everything down has truly changed my perspective. I recently had some family things going on and I found myself three hours later figuring things out with God in my prayer journal and understanding what God wanted to me do. Its amazing how quickly I can lose track of time while talking to God. I notice that if I skip my prayer journal in the morning my whole day just falls apart. What a great article and I think I will be taking your advice about writing out my confessions of sin. I think that may help me to focus on that. Thanks again and may God continue to bless you!

  70. I journal…have for as long as you have. Mine is more of a process journal, an ongoing conversation with God. I pour everything out into it, as it is a way of healing for me. I do include “sin” in it, as it helps me process what is going on. My journal is a sacred place where I can be myself – whomever that is at that time…and over time I find that I am growing into the person God has created me to be. http://sistersunderthetrees.com/2012/08/23/spiritual-practice-journaling/

  71. Good morning, Courtney.
    Thanks for sharing your blog today. Just wanted to give you a heads up on what it is I write about when I journal. It’s usually thoughts, praise, and power (things that I see God using in others, as well as myself). What I enjoy about journaling is that out of it comes poetry, poems and songs. If I had one problem to express – it would be that I don’t journal enough. Recently, I thought of keeping a journal for my Grandson I’m raising – just thoughts on how he’s growing, how much I love him and things he’s taking part in ie hockey. We’ve raising him now for 8yrs and I’m just thinking of this!!! Now that makes me sad 🙁 But, I guess late is better than never! So, I will begin another journal for him to read someday. Love your blog, FB posts, etc. You are an encouragement to me. Blessings on you and your home.

  72. Hi Courtney, I don’t know if you will even see this! 🙂 I can’t view the video anymore! 🙁 What was your favorite verse on prayer? Thanks! 🙂

  73. I have attempted to start a prayer journal several time. I got all the supplies, but when it came down to starting I was not sure where to begin. This has helped, but I am still not sure where to begin. Thanks for the help.

  74. I also keep journals and have done since my daughter was little — and she is now married with a child of her own. When I am gone, the journals are for her — unedited, unabridged, and unapologetic. She will find not only an account of my life — the good, the bad, and the ugly — but also family stories, pictures, recipes, written prayers, even rants at God (gasp). I want her to see me as I am — flawed but forgiven. There is no sin so great that God cannot forgive if we repent and seek His forgiveness. The problem is that God’s people are so quick to judge and criticize; to always believe the bad about us and forget the good. It has taken me many years to work this out.

    I love to look back through my journals and see God’s faithfulness to this outspoken single mother, even when I thought He must be on vacation. He never allowed my daughter and I to be without food, clothing or shelter. He provided an “angel in disguise” who befriended us and passed on her child’s outgrown clothing — all from a fancy childrens’ boutique that I could never have afforded. A check for an insurance overpayment arrived when I was flat broke. When we were low on food, produce from a co-worker’s garden got us through until payday. Just before I entered the hospital for major surgery, an old friend called me. During her morning time of prayer she had suddenly felt led to contact me, even though we hadn’t been in touch for several years. As it turned out, she was recovering from the same surgery and we even had the same doctor. I was able to hear from her how everything had gone and what I could expect once the surgery was over — very reassuring and comforting to me.

    God is present in my life always, even when I am the least deserving of his mercy and grace.

  75. I have been using your SOAP method for Bible study for a full year now. I LOVE it! I have never been able to really enjoy God’s Word until I found your website.

    Now, I am longing for a deeper prayer life. I went straight to your site and searched, ‘how to pray’. And of course, you have shared your method for this, too! Thank you!

    I am going to tweak this one just a bit. I love the acronym, SOAP, and I use it to keep me on track daily. So I am going to use the acronym, CPR for my prayer journal. Confessions. Praises. Requests. I will heed your advice on confessions and be careful with going to my prayer journal when angry or hurt!

    Again, thank you so much for your ministry. You led me to a deeper, more meaningful relationship with God, with my husband, and with my family! (God, through you, actually saved my marriage!)

  76. Thank you so much for posting this. I feel so inspired and have been looking for exactly what I want to be journaling about because it’s easy to be lost in the space to fill of your journal!

  77. I am so glad I came across this!! Long story short, I became a Christian almost 7 years ago by the grace of God and His choice to save me from a drug addiction. I have always had a passion for writing letters and so forth and during the first 3 years of my journey I used to journal a lot and I miss it like no tomorrow!!! Almost a year ago I was blessed to work along side of people who battle substance abuse and feel the overwhelming need to pray more than ever. In fact I feel God calling me to it and just haven’t known how to start. I know that I want to start journaling again and to have some sort of prayer journal to keep track of who and what I am praying for because I will never be able to remember all that I feel that I am being called to pray for. Your idea of the 5 subject note book and more or less the simplicity of it all inspires me that I too will be able to do this again and not feel overwhelmed. In my early recovery I had a lot of time to journal a lot due to my losing everything in my life and now that God has given my life back and even more blessings than I could ever imagine I wasn’t sure how I would be able to add this to my list…..Thank you again for your insight and inspiration !!

  78. Thank you for that insight, I have been using a notebook for this and a note book for that and that drives me crazy so tonight I will start using only my notebook with the SOAKs in it for church and prayer lists, one notebook 🙂 I will start carrying with me also as I also forget who has asked for prayer etc. I will have it with me and just jot it down, not sure I’ll ever be a journaler but I do like writing things down.

  79. Courtney,
    I just LOVE LOVE LOVE your prayer life journal set up!!! I’m totally a list girl, and have struggled with getting a prayer/gratitude/scripture verses journal because I just didn’t know where to start, how to organize it, or anything else!!! Lots of attempts to start, but many of them are just blank notebooks because I was just lost. This is EXACTLY what I was looking for!!!! Thank you SOOOO much for sharing!!!

    I’m going to be adding artwork with scripture verses, so this will be a GREAT place to have it all!!!!

    And as for the math … I just took your word for it and didn’t verify it (but was laughing at the comment that only 1 person caught it), don’t worry, it’s all good!! 😉

  80. Thank you for this. I have journaled off and on but never truly disciplined myself. I have never been instructed on a proper way or developed a solid way to do so. I have often just scratched things here and there from my quiet times, resulting in scattered revelations. I plan on using your method, it looks foolproof. God bless

  81. Hi Courtney ,

    Thank you for this. I was going through google search and found your page its so informative. I’m 25 year old who is trying to get back and build her spiritual life. I have never keep journals before so i’m so new but i though keeping prayer journal would be a very important to my spiritual walk. I have couple of questions for you. How do you start your journal ? , do you do it during a prayer time ? or do you set up time specifically for it? . Is there a wrong or right way of doing it? .do you write it as a letter to God?, or for yourself or just randomly write. Thanks in advance for the advice .

    1. Some of you have asked how to start. Just put the pen to paper and let your words flow. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling. Write about what is on your mind — family, work, church, whatever. There is no right or wrong way.

  82. I love the idea of journaling, but am having a hard time disciplining myself. Over the years, I have kept handwritten journals and computer journals. Any advice on becoming more disciplined in this are?

  83. I want to journal, I really do, and sometimes I will for a bit and then lose the time or something. I don’t know. Something you didn’t speak to and I am just curious about it, when in the day do you journal? My bible study time is first thing the morning. I have set a nice routine with it and love this time, but like you said once the kids are up then… whoa! Even with teenagers I have to hit the ground running when they do (which is why I get up early). I feel like getting a handle of journaling is something I am missing out on right now. Recently a friend and I have felt led to lead a women’s bible study via Facebook, we live in different towns so God bless Facebook for this! But I see a need to be journaling through this season and finding that time is overwhelming me. Suggestions please?

    1. Hi Teri –

      I read my Bible in the morning and do “Bible Study” at that time. So I tend to journal either mid-day when I find a quiet moment or at night right before bedtime (often I’m in my bed) -and then go to sleep.

      Hope that helps!

  84. Courtney, why do you think it is that when we pray our confessions seem to be “forgotten”? I’ve noticed that I do this and when I sit down I can’t seem to remember things (knowing I’ not perfect, it is frustrating!) I’ve never been one to journal but I think I want to begin trying this now that I’ve been using the SOAK method for a short time and it certainly helps me when I read. Thank you for re-posting this!

  85. Thanks for posting this, its 3 years later that I am reading but was surely need. I’ve been recently doing GMG and also reading a devotional for my marriage. I was challenged to begin a prayer journal and had no idea where to start, so of course I go to pinterest and your post was one of the first things that was suggested to me. Thank you again and I love GMG.

  86. I am new to prayer journaling. I am quite interested in it because I often have trouble remembering who asked for prayer and for what. My question is, how do I set up my prayer journal? I have seen many examples and none of them really jump at me. Do I start a new week with the same bullet points : husband, children, etc?? Do I go back and write if they were answered or how do I figure if they were answered?

    Oh my goodness! I am so new to this =!!! Please help.

  87. I love how simple your journal and process is! I am bad about over complicating everything….fancy templates, new journals, tabs, bullets,…. When I I need is a pen and paper <3

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