Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
You’re shopping and you find a beautiful notebook. You pick it up to check it out, and the cover has a cute design and a nice texture. You love how the pages feel as you flip through them, and it has the rule you like! The price is right, so you decide that this is your new prayer journal! You buy the notebook, and now comes the hard part, deciding how to use it. I started prayer journaling in college when I got a new notebook for Christmas. Now I’m probably on my fourth prayer journal, and I love to try new ways of using them.
1 Letters to God
When I went on my mission trip to Nicaragua, everyone on the team received small moleskin journals with the patron Saints of Nicaragua painted on them. I used mine to journal about what we did every day on mission and to write my prayers during Adoration every night. I found myself writing “letters to God.” I’d address them to my Heavenly Father and share what was on my heart with him. In simple prose, I’d offer my praises and intentions to him every evening. This correspondence strengthened my relationship with God and helped me feel his presence in Adoration.
2 Praises and Gratitude
It’s so important to thank God for what he blessed us with and for the prayers that he answered. Practicing gratitude will make you a more grateful person as you’ll be able to recognize God working in your life and the good things that he entrusts to you. Make gratitude lists in your prayer journal and list the things in your life that you’re thankful for. Write down prayers God has answered with what you wanted or with something better. Our Heavenly Father is never outdone in generosity, and practicing gratitude helps us remember this.
3 Prayer Intentions and Intercessory Prayers
I wrote a previous blog post about several ways to practice intercessory prayer. If you have a prayer journal, you can use it to write down and refer to specific prayer intentions. In addition to your own intentions, when someone else asks you to pray for them, you can write down their intentions to remind you to pray for them. Then you can flip through your journal and pray for those intentions by name during your time in prayer.
4 Bible Verses and Saint Quotes
If you come across a Bible verse or a Saint quote that you want to remember, you can write it down in your prayer journal. A prayer journal is good place to keep Bible verses and Saint quotes that resonate with you. They can give you something to meditate on during your time in prayer and you can keep your favorite verses and quotes all in one place. The Lord can speak to us through Scripture and his Saints, so hold on to the words that touch your heart.
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5 Bible Study or Conference Notes
You can write down notes from the Bible Studies you attend in your prayer journal. When you attend Catholic conferences, it’s always a good idea to take notes. Write notes while you’re listening to talks at a conference so you can remember the points that a speaker discusses. I took so many notes when I went to SEEK 2019 and SLS 2020, and I’ll keep them forever. Keeping these notes in your prayer journal will be helpful when you want to look back on what you learned in Bible Study or at a conference. You can also take your notes into your time in prayer to thank the Lord for what you’ve learned and to ask him how to use and grow from this knowledge.
6 What you hear during Lectio Divina
Lectio Divina is a prayer form that involves reading scripture, meditating on it, and allowing God to speak to you through his word. As you pray Lectio Divina, you can write in your prayer journal what the Lord is telling you. Write what words and phrases stand out to you as you read, and then write down what God revealed to you through meditating on the passage. If you’ve never prayed Lectio Divina before, check out What is Lectio Divina? for an in-depth description and tutorial!
7 Prayers you want to remember
We take notes in school and write down plans in a planner because people generally remember things better when they write them down. If you just learned a prayer and you want to remember or memorize it, you can copy it into your prayer journal. There are some prayers that are just a little difficult to remember. For example, if you’re new to the rosary, it might take a while to memorize the Hail Holy Queen. Writing prayers like these in your prayer journal will help you remember them and give you a place to keep them.
8 Track your faith goals
Do you want to pray a rosary every day this month? Are you starting a novena or making your Marian Consecration? You can track these faith goals in your prayer journal to keep yourself accountable! Write down the novena prayer that you’re praying, write down the dates of the nine consecutive days, and check those dates off as you complete them. If you’re praying a rosary every day for a month, you can do something like I did in October. Number a list from one to thirty-one, and on each line, write an intention. This way, you not only have a way to track your daily rosary, but thirty-one intentions to motivate you to pray!
Which of these prayer journal prompts are you excited to try? Let me know in the comments below, and share this post with a friend who loves to prayer journal!
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