It's been a year now since I started keeping a prayer journal. I used to write down prayer notes in my regular journals when I still did that, but never kept a focused prayer journal. I started it when I read Wrestling Prayer by Eric and Leslie Ludy and in the past year, I've filled many pages.
Why keep a prayer journal? That was my question too. I'm not sure what my reason was when I started, but one thing I like it for is to keep my prayer times focused. Very often when I go to prayer, I forget things and my mind and thoughts wander. Having a detailed list of things to pray about keeps me focused. Keeping a prayer journal also allows you to keep track and go back and see how God has answered.
Something I have avoided doing is sticking to a format. My journal entries vary. Some are just list of things to pray about. Some are cries of pain and my need for God's help. Some are just brief accounts of where I'm at spiritually. I don't journal everyday. Some days I have nothing significant to write down and there's times a couple weeks go by without me pulling it out. But I do try to use it regularly and take time to specifically spend in prayer.
In the past year, I've prayed about many things. Friends, family, my future husband, relationships, church, work, missions, ministry, for those hurting or in need and direction in life. I've prayed for a vision, passion and a purpose. I've prayed about different opportunities. I've prayed to show God's love to those around me. I've prayed for provision and health, in which God has answered in many ways. I've prayed about hindrances in my life and sins God has convicted me of.
I've prayed for God to prepare me to be a godly wife and mother, to be a help meet for the man He will one day bring to me, for a better understanding of what marriage is, and to keep myself pure. I pray for Him to guard over my husband and to prepare him to be the godly leader and provider of our home, to be a man of character with a deep love for God and others, a man who will make a difference. At times, I have sought contentment with tears as I wait on Him.
There's even been times where I've just earnestly prayed for a desire for prayer and the Word. It's okay to be honest with God if you don't feel like praying. We can't come to God unless He draws us. Our desire to pray and read His Word comes from Him. Draw nigh to Him, seek Him, and He will draw nearer. Plead for desire if need be. You don't have to be ashamed.
My journal bears record of a lot of joys and tears, ups and downs. It tells of how God has answered. Sometimes it hasn't been in a way I would have expected or even liked, but I have to trust that He knows best.
Try keeping a prayer journal. You don't need anything fancy. A plain spiral bound notebook will do. That's what I use right now. You don't need a formula. Just write what's on your heart. One day you will go back and be amazed at what God has done.