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The Day I Stopped Journaling My Prayers

I used to journal my prayers. I had a nice composition book, a great pen, and I was ready to go. And for a season, it worked.

What’s great about journaling prayers is that it gave me accountability. I could always go back and see which days I’d prayed as part of my quiet time, and even see what I’d been praying about.

It was also helpful to have a record of what I prayed for, something tangable to look back at and see how God had answered.

The Journaling Got in the Way

Pretty soon, the writer in me took over. I stopped praying from my heart because I knew I’d look back at what I’d written.

I slowed down my scribbles to make them more readable in the future, and kept losing my train of thought.

While my pen went forward with the prayer, my eyes scanned what I’d already written- was there a better word choice? Could I arrange that sentence better? Does that order make sense? I was editing my prayers, and no longer really praying. The habit was getting in the way of the relationship.

Oh, I’m sure God heard my prayers. And I know he met me where I was and goodness he answered so many of those prayers. But there came a day where I had to stop journaling if my relationship with God was going to move forward.

So I Stopped Journaling

I stopped recording my words so I could relax and be genuine. And when I stopped journaling, I felt closer to God. There was now no longer paper and pen between us, no formality or ritual. It was just Jesus and me, talking. And it was beautiful.

These days, I do a little bit of both. To an extent, writing while praying keeps me focused. I just have to keep an eye on myself to notice when it’s becoming a distraction rather than a help. Tools are great so long as they are helpful. The second they get in the way, throw them out. So, some days I journal. Some days I write bullet points. And some days I forgo pen and paper entirely.



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Published inIn My LifeMusingsPrayer


  1. Nicole, this is a good reminder. I can easily fall into that habit too. There’s freedom in changing it up. My prayer time is looking less routine & more unconvential these days:) Thank you for the encouragement!

    • What’s hard for me, in changing it up, is the fear. Fear that what I’m going to start doing won’t work either, fear that this new idea is Wrong, fear of leaving the habit that at one point had been helpful. I’m learning to stand up against those fears and focus on my relationship with Jesus. If that relationship looks the same forever, it’s only proof that I’m not growing… yikes!

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