Is the concept of a prayer journal biblical?A prayer journal is simply a written record of one's prayers. It often contains heartfelt praise, earnest thanksgiving, sincere confessions, specific requests, and recorded answers to those particular requests. Because of the personal nature of prayer journals, they are often kept private. Writing out one's prayers can help the writer stay focused while bringing his or her heart before the Lord. It can help to clarify the writer's thoughts and feelings as he or she writes his or her deepest concerns. Having a written record of ways God has answered those prayers can be an encouragement during later seasons of struggle. So prayer journaling can be an incredibly beneficial practice, but is it one supported by Scripture? The answer is yes. There are many written prayers recorded in the Bible.
When Judah's good king, Josiah, died, the nation mourned. Second Chronicles 35:25 documents that, "Jeremiah also uttered a lament for Josiah . . . they are written in the Laments." Jeremiah's mournful plea to the Lord was written and recorded. That particular prayer is no longer in existence and has been lost to history, but we do have the biblical book of Lamentations filled with prayers of mourning after Jerusalem had fallen to the Babylonians.
The book of Psalms is another biblical book filled with personal prayers, much like a prayer journal. In fact, Psalm 72:20 concludes a collection of psalms saying, "The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended." So we know these psalms were originally prayers that David wrote out for the Lord.
Asaph, another psalmist, wrote in Psalm 77:11–12, "I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds." Writing out those deeds in a prayer journal is a wonderful way to remember, and slowing down to engage in writing them out helps us meditate on God's work.
There are many other recorded prayers in the Bible that can be an example for us to follow as well. First Kings 8:15–21 records Solomon's prayer of praise and thanksgiving when the ark of the covenant was brought into the temple. Daniel 9:4–19 records Daniel's prayer of confession and petition to the Lord while in captivity in Babylon. Nehemiah 9:5–37 records the Levites' prayer of praise, confession, and supplication after the Jewish exiles had returned to Jerusalem. And, of course, Jesus taught His disciples to pray in Matthew 6:9–13. Recorded prayers throughout the Bible can be used as examples to follow when keeping our own prayer journals.
While writing in a prayer journal is a practice supported by Scripture, it is important to understand that it is not the only biblical way to pray. The Bible records not only people writing their prayers, but also speaking their prayers aloud. They pray standing before a crowd (1 Kings 8:22), face down in privacy (Matthew 26:39), together as a group (Acts 12:12), among other ways. Prayers in the Bible are also sometimes prayed silently in the heart (Genesis 24:45). Furthermore, when we don't know what to pray or how to pray, Romans 8:26 assures us that, "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." So whether we write, speak, or think our prayers, we know the Holy Spirit is also praying for us on our behalf.
Why pray? What is the purpose of prayer?
What types of prayer are mentioned in the Bible?
Is silent prayer biblical?
Is praying out loud okay?
What makes for effective prayer?
Truth about Prayer