About a year and a half ago, I wrote a post about prayer journaling. I thought I would do another post to give some updates and talk about how it’s going for us.
I have been writing in my prayer journal periodically for the past 2 years. Prayer journaling has changed my relationship (for good) with Heavenly Father in more ways that I probably realize. I’m so grateful that I was introduced to this tool.
I personally tend to use my prayer journal most often when I am struggling with something and feel a more urgent need to really have the Lord speak to me. I like to use my prayer journal for this because I like to have these conversations with Heavenly Father written down. It is important to me to be able to go back and read (over and over again) what He said to me in those moments.
Being able to re-read and remember what the Lord said to me helps me to trust that I really did hear Him and I can trust that He will fulfill His words and promises. When I find myself starting to doubt if the Lord actually spoke to me, my journal acts as a further witness.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things. Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?” (Doctrine and Covenants 6:22-23)
I also love to be able to go back and re-read these conversations after the promises have been fulfilled. They strengthen my faith, trust, and relationship with Heavenly Father. They show me that He really does fulfill his promises and that things always work out the way they are meant to…even if it takes a lot of struggle, waiting, patience, learning, and growth along the way.
Like I mentioned in my post in September 2019, I have been teaching my kids how to prayer journal as well so that they can practice receiving and recognizing personal revelation.
There have been periods of time where they haven’t been as consistent (especially when I was in my first trimester of this pregnancy) but over the past couple months prayer journaling has been a consistent part of their morning ritual every day.
A few weeks ago, I felt like they were ready for a change because they were asking the same basic question over and over again, nearly everyday. One morning, as I was lying in bed, about to get up, I had the idea come to me to make some prayer journal prompts to help the kids (and myself) with broadening their view of what kinds of questions they could ask Heavenly Father each morning.
Over the next few days, I wrote down a bunch of questions (and a few regular prompts) that came to my mind and organized them into 3 levels – beginner, intermediate, and advanced. I then wrote each one on popsicle sticks and painted the tops so it would be easy to tell which level each stick belongs to (green: beginner, blue: intermediate, purple: advanced).
I told them that, of course, if there is something on their mind that they really want to talk to Heavenly Father about that morning, they should go with that first. But if they are struggling to come up with something on their own, they can pick a stick from the jar and use that question or prompt.
I’ve included the prompts at the bottom of this post in case you are interested in using any of them.
The Lord loves when we ask questions. He wants us to ask Him questions.
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)
This scripture (or some form of it) is repeated many, many times throughout the scriptures.
Speaking of questions, I’ve been reading this book by Wendy Watson Nelson to my kids for a few minutes nearly everyday for the past couple weeks. It’s really insightful and helping us to think more about the importance of the questions that we ask each other, ourselves, and the Lord.
“Questions can linger on our hearts and in our minds in very useful ways, all the while inviting us to think of, and to see, things we haven’t before. Questions come with that little hook at the end. Therefore, they never come alone. They hook thoughts and feelings and possible actions. One question can pull all of that into your heart and mind. That’s a pretty powerful hook! And those thoughts, feelings, and actions that are hooked work either for us or against us… How can we change our questions and therefore change how we think and feel about a situation and therefore change what we can do?” (Wendy Watson Nelson, Change Your Questions, Change Your Life, pg. 27)
I wanted to share a few of Roxanne’s pray journal entries. She’s 4 and so innocent and cute. Because she is still so young, she has so much natural and childlike faith and she just asks Heavenly Father about anything that happens to be on her mind, without thinking about if it is “important” or not. We should all be more like that. If it’s important to us, it’s important to Him.
I love seeing the questions that she comes up with to ask Heavenly Father. I love that she is practicing hearing and recognizing the voice of the Lord.
Normally, her process is to think of a question, then say a prayer and ask Heavenly Father that question, then listen for His answer, and then draw a picture of the question/answer. Then she tells me what she asked and what the answer was and I write it down.
One morning, I noticed that after she said her prayer, asking the question, she put her hand up to her ear… like she was holding a seashell and trying to “hear the ocean.” She told me after that she was listening for Heavenly Father’s answer. I thought that was pretty cute that she came up with that all on her own.
Another morning, I happened to come around the corner just as she was saying her prayer/ listening for the answer. I caught this adorable photo of her…
Here are a few of Evelyn’s entries as well…
Here are the prayer journal prompts…
What can I do for my mom today to show her that I love and appreciate her?
What can I do for my dad today to show him that I love and appreciate him?
What act of service can I do for my mom today to surprise her?
What act of service can I do for my dad today to surprise him?
What act of service can I do for ___________(brother or sister) today to surprise him/her?
Tell Heavenly Father about something that you have been learning about lately.
Express gratitude to Heavenly Father for 2 of your specific blessings that you have experienced lately.
Who would Thou have me write a letter to today?
How can I show love to my family today?
What would Thou have me repent of today?
Will Thou tell me what one of my talents is?
What is something that I can do today to develop one of my talents?
What book of scripture (OT, NT, BOM, D&C, PGP) would Thou have me read for 15 (extra) minutes today?
How can I get better at personal revelation?
What book/story can I read today to warm my heart?
Ask Heavenly Father to help you to recognize a miracle (big or small) in your life today.
What does Thou see in me? Help me to see myself through Thy eyes.
How can I better keep the covenants that I have made with Thee?
What can I do today to come closer to Thee?
What would Thou have me make a higher priority in my education?
How can I use my time more wisely today?
What can I do for someone today to help lighten their load?
Does Thou love me? Please speak to me and remind me of Thy love for me.
What can I do less of so I can better lay aside the things of this world?
What can I do more of so I can seek the things of a better world (eternal life) instead of being caught up in the things of this world?
How can I improve the words that I speak so I am using them to build instead of tear down?
What is a higher thought that Thou would have me practice thinking today?
What can I do to improve my prayers?
How can I use one of my talents today to help build Thy kingdom?
What spiritual gift would Thou want me to seek at this time in my life?
Ask Heavenly Father to help you with something that is on your mind (something you don’t understand, something you are worried about, etc.) and listen for His guidance, direction, reassurance, peace, etc.
What does Thou want me to do now to prepare for the future?
What are some of the lies that Satan tells me about myself?
What are some of the lies that Satan tells me about others?
I lack wisdom in ________________________ (area of my life, principle of the gospel, etc.) Will Thou help me to understand and gain wisdom in this area?
Have I spiritually been born of Thee and received Thy image in my countenance? Have I experienced a mighty change of heart?
Does Thou approve of the course that I am following in my life?
What is my current standing before Thee?
What is my part in the Gathering of Israel?
How can I be an instrument in Thy hands?
What in my heart needs more purifying?
Will Thou witness to my soul (again) about the truthfulness of Thy Gospel and Thy church?
What can I do to be a missionary today?
Who would Thou have me reach out to today? How can I minister to someone in need?
What are some words that Thou would have me say to someone else today?
What are some words that Thou would have me say to myself today?
What higher thought is Thou inviting me to think?
What questions do I ask (to myself or others) that are damaging?
Have I seen the Hand of God reaching out to touch me and/or my family today? Please help me to recognize those moments so I can reflect on them and offer gratitude to Thee.
What can I do to preserve a memory for the day that I, and those I love, will need to remember how much God loves us and how much we need Him?
Is there a message that Thou is trying to send to me but that I’m not recognizing?
What is a question that Thou would have me ask Thee so I can receive guidance, direction, and/or course correction in my life?
What is a question that Thou would have me ask ___________________ to strengthen my relationship with him/her?
What is Thou trying to teach me through _________________________(difficult experience)? What can I do to learn that lesson/skill?
What can I do to better learn through joy instead of sorrow?
What Christlike attribute am I lacking? How can I develop it?
How can I improve in understanding people who are different from me (different cultures, different life experiences, different personalities, etc.)?