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A prayer journal is not the answer to a deeper, richer prayer life, but in my experience it helps. When I was a freshman in college I attended a workshop for a prayer binder led by one of my dear friends. I had attempted to keep various prayer journals and notebooks before, but for some reason this method just stuck out to me.
After that workshop I worked on creating a binder that worked for me, and I began to notice a difference in my prayer life. I was more focused and more consistent. There were times I stopped using it, and I always noticed that my prayers were brief and often not focused. Every time I go back to using it again I wonder why I ever stopped.
This is a method that works for me, but it is simply an aid. Nothing will ever replace prayer or do it for me. Prayer is still hard. It still takes time, effort, and patience, but this helps me stay consistent and focused when I stop to talk to my God.
There are so many different ways a prayer binder can be set up and used, but I this is the way that works for me right now. I have changed it several times since I first started using it as my life has changed, and I know it will change again. This is what I have now for this time in my life.
My Prayer Binder
I have my binder split into several sections. While there are certain things I will pray for every day, I have chosen certain categories to focus on for each day of the week so I can spend more time in deep prayer. If I tried to pray for everything every day I would be overwhelmed and end up skimming over things to “get done” more quickly.
I did not post any pictures of my binder because it is nothing fancy or beautiful. It is just lined paper and tabs to separate the sections. There is nothing wrong with making a beautiful prayer binder/journal, I just do not have the time or creativity to put that much effort into it!
The first section I have is one that I use every day. I try to begin my time talking to God by praising Him, and here I have a list of things to praise Him for, usually with a verse reference. I found several lists on Pinterest that I began with, but I mostly write things down as I come across them in my Bible reading
This is the only section that I always want to keep on Sunday. The rest of the sections are assigned days for organizational purposes, but it really doesn’t matter what day of the week I focus on them.
This is the section I use to prepare to worship on Sunday morning. I have hymns and Bible passages to meditate and reflect on, as well as a list of topics to pray for to help prepare my heart and focus on worshiping with the saints.
I call this section “mountain” because of a sermon I heard once. The speaker talked about preparing ourselves to worship God just as the Israelites spent time preparing themselves to come before the mountain of God to receive the Law. Calling it “mountain” reminds me of that story and what it means to come before God in worship.
Marriage and Motherhood
In this section I have lists of Bible verses and topics to pray for in the areas of marriage and motherhood. I do not write out prayers, but I have bullet points of things I want to pray for. My prayers are different every time, but I always know that I want to pray for Sam’s role as a preacher or for Mae to grow up to know God, for example.
Here I have pages for each of my family members with bullet points of things to pray for them. If there is a more time-sensitive need I’ll write the date by it when I begin praying, then add another date when the prayer is answered.
I also have a list of extended family members to pray for, though I do not dedicate entire pages of specific prayers for them.
I wasn’t sure what to call this section, so I just went with the creative title of “People.” Here I have lists of people to pray for in different categories, again with bullet points of things to pray for them. I often write out Bible verses to pray for them as well, as I do with the sections of “Marriage and Motherhood” and “Family”.
I have lists of couples to pray for their relationships, single people desiring a mate, and spiritually sick. I also have a list of friends and acquaintances to pray for with specific requests I have gotten from them. Again, I’ll add dates if it is time sensitive.
In this section I have lists of churches and people in the church to pray for. I pray for the elders and deacons if a church has them, and I try to pray for families and people individually. I also have lists of people and works overseas, praying for Christians and for the gospel to spread.
Here I have several Bible passages written out that pertain to my specific struggles. As with the other sections, I have bullet points to pray through as I ask God to help me.
Once a week I try to study a Psalm and pray through it. This is a new section for me and I haven’t done it for long, but I am enjoying it so far. In my binder I write down the theme of the Psalm and a brief outline. Then I go through the Psalm and write down adoration, thanksgiving, confession, and supplication for my own prayer.
I hope this has been helpful, and I hope you will consider making your own prayer binder! Please ask me any questions if you would like more information.
What do you do to help you pray?