For some, trying to sit quietly and focus on Bible reading or prayer can be challenging. Coming pressures of the day press in. Thoughts or chores distract. If you have trouble keeping focused, try getting a journal and writing while spending time with God. Here are two ideas for incorporating a journal into your daily devotions.
Three Methods for Incorporating a Journal into Daily Devotions
1. Journal through a Book of the Bible
Using a journal while reading the Bible can be a powerful tool. You can go verse-by-verse or group several verses together when choosing to write down your thoughts. Either way, read a portion of the book of the Bible and write down your observations. Follow up with your thoughts on what the passage is saying and how the Spirit is leading you to apply it in your life. This form of Bible study facilitates reflection and meditation and helps to cultivate a heart open to hearing from the Lord.
2. The ACTS Prayer Journal
If your prayers end with you planning your meals for the day or creating the line-up for Johnny’s baseball team, you may find it helpful to journal out your prayers. One way to do this incorporates the ACTS acrostic. Typically this is done as follows:
- [A]doration – write out prayers of worship and praise to God
- [C]onfession – confess your sins before the Lord and express your dependence upon God. You can also incorporate positive faith confessions by writing down the promises of God from his word.
- [T]hanksgiving – write out several things for which you are thankful.
- [S]upplication – finally, make your requests known to God. Writing down your prayers gives you a reference point to refer back to when you see God’s hand intervene. The answered prayers in your journal can be used in future prayers of Thanksgiving.
3. Using a Prayer Journal
Another approach to using a journal in your devotions involves starting a Prayer Journal. Prayer journals are simply a place to write down your prayers to the Lord. One approach to keeping a prayer journal begins with writing down a short list of prayer requests. This can be a “bullet point” list of the needs on your heart. The rest of the journal provides space for writing down your prayers to the Lord. Some of the benefits are:
- Keeping a record of your prayers gives you a place to review God’s answers to your prayers! This will build your faith and strengthen hope in difficult times.
- The act of writing your prayers will help you stay focused while praying.
- These journals can be precious to the next generation and build their faith as well.
- Writing requests down helps us to not forget the need.
Using a journal in your daily devotions can be of great benefit to you and to those who come after you. It records your spiritual journey and becomes a tool to remember what the Lord has done. Being able to look back and give God glory can help you look forward with greater faith and trust in the Lord.
Further reading on Patterns of Daily Devotions: