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Prayer Journal Checks

By Dan Vis
June 24, 2019
Comments: 5

Throughout this month we've been emphasizing prayer, and in particular how to set up a prayer journal with the potential to transform your prayer life. To wrap things up, I wanted to share an excerpt from an upcoming training course covering three checks to make sure your Prayer Journal is working to the fullest!

If you have taken this month's featured class, Prayer Secrets, you know we encourage believers to organize their requests into a prayer journal. It's a great first step in strengthening your prayer life.

In particular, we recommend using a loose leaf notebook and writing each request on a separate sheet of paper--so you can move them around as needed. Each sheet should include a request, a specific verse or two, and a log of the dates you pray over it, along with details on how you see God working. We also recommend separating your request into one section for daily, priority requests, and another for regular request you pray through less often.

If you've taken our Basic Training course, and begun using a prayer journal like this, you know it can be effective at reminding you to pray for things you would otherwise forget.

But a prayer journal can strengthen your prayer life in other important ways--if you use it correctly. In the paragraphs below, are three quick checks to making sure your prayer journal is being used to its maximum potential. Use them to do a quick self-assessment of your prayer journal use:

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Mix Up Your Requests

The first thing to check is the balance of your requests. Is there a good mix of requests in your prayer journal? Is there a good variety of different types of requests?

If you are only praying for your personal needs, and a few friends or relatives going through challenges, you may be thinking too small. Put in a request to grow in some character quality. Or for greater victory over some temptation you wrestle with. Pray for some important goal, a project at work, or guidance on an upcoming decision.

Pray for evangelism in some specific country in the world, or some specific ministry you respect. Pray for your pastor, or a new or struggling member in your church. Add names of specific people you would like to see come to Christ. Pray about your weakest area of discipleship. And by all means, put in a prayer for revival.

The goal is to connect prayer to every facet of your Christian life. The more you do this, the more meaningful prayer becomes.

“The more you connect prayer to every facet of your life, the more meaningful it becomes.”

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Sparked by Scripture

Next, take a moment to look at the verses connected with each request. Was the request triggered by some verse you stumbled upon in your personal Bible study? Or did you come up with a request, and then look around for a verse that seemed to fit it?

While there's nothing wrong with the second approach, learning to look for God's purposes in Scripture, and then committing those purposes back to God is an important aspect of prayer. I've found listening for His instructions about what to pray for and keeping my focus primarily on those requests makes prayer an exciting journey. When God leads in your prayer life, you never quite know where it is going to take you!

Learn to let God's Word inspire your prayers. Do your best to include more requests sparked by Scripture.

Document the Journey

Last, look at the notes on each request. Are you only jotting down the dates each time you pray? (You are recording those, right?) Or are you also jotting down insights as you pray over each request.

Prayer is as much or more about hearing as it is about talking. At each request, pause and listen for the voice of God. Is God working in some way? Jot it down. Is there some step God would have you take? Jot it down.

Over time, your prayer requests can become rich with ideas, insights and instruction. And the more you act on this information, the more you will be able to successfully contribute to the answering of your own prayers!

“Prayer becomes powerfully interactive when it transforms into two-way communication.”

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Prayer becomes powerfully interactive when it transforms into two-way communication. Aim for this in using your prayer journal.


While a prayer journal is a powerful tool, its real benefit comes from teaching you how to connect prayer to every part of your life, how to intertwine it closely with your study of Scripture, and how to look for God's leading in your requests. Faithfully developing these skills can revolutionize your prayer life.

Take the Next Step

Want to learn more about setting up your prayer journal? Sign up for our life-changing Prayer Secrets class and pull back the curtain on a more powerful and effective prayer life. We'll show you step by step how to setup and use a full-featured prayer journal, and explain why it works.

FREE through the month of June! Don't miss out...

Tell Me More...


How does your prayer journal measure up? Are you following each of the keys emphasized above? Which principle is most challenging for you? What is one thing you can do this week to strengthen your prayer journal.

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Posted by Dan Vis on 07/06/19
John, I simply ask God to impress me with whether it is a daily request, or not. That is partly influenced by the number of requests I find I have time, realistically to pray through daily. I usually have a pretty good feel about the importance of a given request, but if at any point I feel a request needs to be moved up or moved down, I do that.

As for moving requests to the "answered" section, I use several mechanisms. If I gain some clarity a request is not really God's will for me, or the answer is a clear no, I'll remove it. If I decide a request should be rewritten, perhaps with a different emphasis, or moving on to a new phase, I'll rewrite it and archive the old request. I also sometimes commit to praying for something specific for a week or a month, etc. Or till a certain date or event. In those cases I mark that on the request sheet and remove at the appointed time. In all these cases I jot down the date and reason for moving it in the notes section of the request.

To me, a prayer journal should be a living breathing thing that is constantly shifting and reshaping to reflect my current understanding of God's will, and what He wants me to focus my prayers on. Good questions. Hope this helps a bit. :)
Posted by John Gilmore on 07/06/19
What criteria do you use, Dan, to say how often to pray for a particular request? And, other than having seen requests answered, how do you decide when to remove them?
Posted by Dan Vis on 06/25/19
Sounds great Carole, don't change something that's working. Adding one or more of these three checks, to what you are already doing could make your experience even better however! Doesn't hurt to try. :)

That's a good goal Qing. I think you'll find it super helpful. And the nice thing is you can start slowly, with just one or two requests, and then add more as the Lord gives them to you. I actually work hard to keep my prayer journal as slim as possible. Usually less than 20 or 30 requests total. There are things I could add, but we all have limited time, so I choose to keep my prayer time focused. Keep using those "opportunistic prayers" to cover the everything else!

Also, try to remember the goal is not just to get them written down, but to use your written notes to 1) check for a good mix of types of prayer, 2) that you are stumbling on to them through Scripture, and that 3) you are documenting your prayer journey in each request. I've also found the process of having to sort them between priority and regular requests (or removing them completely) to be difficult but surprisingly beneficial spiritually.
Posted by Qing Ling on 06/25/19
Where I’m at with my prayer journal habit now is that not much is recorded. I am at least recording my daily devotion notes now. So I will now start adding my prayer items to that routine. At least the ones that I pray about during my devotion time. I often pray opportunistically throughout the day and those ones don’t get written down anywhere.
Posted by Carole Bliss on 06/24/19
My prayer lists are written down, but, I have the majority in my mind. God has blessed me with clustering names,and praying daily for these people.
I find peace when I bring them to Him. HE is faithful to hear our prayers. So this is how I have been able to keep so many in prayer. God is my memory keeper.

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