Activate Your Prophetic Gift Through Prayer Journaling

What is Prayer Journaling?

Prayer journaling is writing down your prayers and questions, and then listening to the Holy Spirit and recording God’s answers. It is a great way to activate your prophetic gift.

I have to confess that I approached the practice of ‘Prayer Journaling’ this week with a bit of trepidation, even though I have used this method of journaling before. It feels presumptuous, writing down God’s ‘answers’ to my prayers and questions.

Does God really want to speak to me conversationally? And how can I know for sure what He is saying?

In John 10:27, Jesus said, ‘My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me’.

As I set out, I am encouraged that God desires an intimate relationship with me even more than I want it with Him—He created me to fellowship with him and to hear His voice!

How to Practice Prayer Journaling

It’s important that you set aside some private space for this kind of journaling. Try to eliminate interruptions and distractions as much as you can.

I personally find that some quiet background worship music helps me focus if I don’t have the luxury of silence in my home, or wherever I happen to be.

It is vital when approaching this journaling practice that you deal with any issues between you and God—forgiveness, repentance and so on—before you start out.

Reading the Bible and praying in the Spirit can help you prepare for your prayer journaling time.

In your journal, you write down your prayer or question to God. Some examples are:

  • What would you like to say to me today?
  • How can I grow?
  • What would you like me to do?
  • What are You saying about…

Then, focusing on Jesus, you listen for the Holy Spirit’s answer, and write down what you believe He is saying.

How the Holy Spirit Speaks

Remember that the Holy Spirit brings revelation to us in many ways. He may speak through a picture coming to your mind, a feeling, a Bible verse, an idea, word or impression.

I find that the Holy Spirit’s ‘voice’ usually comes as a series of light, gentle impressions. I need to tune in to these to hear what He is saying.

Although it is good to weigh up the revelation and thoughts as they come, too much analysis will halt your journaling.

Give yourself the freedom to write without editing. Yes, what you record will inevitably be a mixture of your own and God’s thoughts. Remember that any prophecy is imperfect and subject to judgment.

When you have finished, review your journaled ‘message from God.’ Now you can sift through your writing for the nuggets of heavenly wisdom God is giving you. I like to use a highlighter to mark important parts where I believe God is particularly speaking to me.

Use the same criteria for your prayer journaling that you use when weighing up any prophetic word.

If you believe you have received guidance through this kind of journaling, it is vital that you check this by sharing with mature Christians and leaders around your life who will give you honest feedback and help you process it.

Some strengths of this kind of journaling are:

  • Fosters intimacy with God
  • Helps you become familiar with the ways the Holy Spirit speaks
  • Great practice for tuning in to receiving God’s revelation
  • Helps you receive guidance and prophetic insight for yourself and others
  • You have a record you can refer back to of what God has said to you in your prayer time

Some weaknesses of this journaling method are:

  • It does not use the Bible in the journaling process
  • Less suitable for newer Christians who do not have a thorough grounding in the scriptures (I recommend the SOAP journaling style for new Christians)
  • This style will not suit everyone, e.g. it will be harder for those who are perfectionists or tend not to process thoughts conversationally.

Because of these weaknesses, I advocate the use of other journaling methods in conjunction with this one.

Prayer Journaling and Habbakuk

A leading proponent of prayer journaling is Mark Virkler, who teaches journaling from Habakkuk 2:1,2.

Virkler maintains that God speaks through a flow of spontaneous thoughts, and that as we tune into those we can hear what He is saying.

Just as God instructed Habbakuk to write down his vision, we can also record what God is saying to us through journaling.

The Challenge

Over the next week, I will be trialling prayer journaling as a method, and recording my journey in the comments section of this post (scroll down to see these). Why not join me?

To review my comments and share your own journey throughout the week, check back here.


Related Articles

‘How to Activate Your Prophetic Gift’

‘Take Time to Sharpen Your Prophetic Gift’


© Helen Calder 2011 Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching

Enliven Ministries: in the David McCracken Ministries family

21 thoughts on “Activate Your Prophetic Gift Through Prayer Journaling

  1. Helen Calder Post author

    DAY 1
    Have the journal, a nice long space of time to hang out with God, and a burning question as I start out the year. Only problem is, I have a few mental hurdles to get over as I set out to do the prayer journaling (perfectionism, for one!)

    I console myself with the recent purchase of a shredding machine. If I really DON’T like what I’ve written, or it comes out all wrong, and it’s me and not the Spirit, I give myself permission to shred it. Armed with this sense of liberty, I compose my question and begin to write what I believe God is answering me.

    8 ½ pages later….. 🙂 I review what I’ve written. Funny, my criticism of this kind of journaling was the lack of scripture for a basis, but numerous Bible verses (as well as pictures) are in my God-response. Throughout the ramble, there is a theme in that seems to be God’s word for me. I believe that the Lord has spoken to me through this process.

    I would say that I am quite surprised at how helpful this has been! The pages will stay in the journal, safe from the shredder. Thank you Jesus!

  2. Helen Calder Post author

    DAY 2
    Decided to tackle the ‘Tough Questions’ with God today about my present circumstances—you know, the kind of questions you’re afraid to hear the answers for.

    Wrote them down.

    Stared at the page for a long time.

    Thankfully, had decided to put some great worship music on (God bless Dennis Jernigan) and it helped me get over the hurdle of putting that pen back on the paper.

    As I wrote down what I perceived God was saying, at first the answers seemed to be the ‘obvious’ ones, but something about starting to write broke through the barrier.

    A couple of pages of scrawl later, there was reassurance, but also some valuable instruction and refocusing.
    Why did I think listening to God might be ‘unsafe’?

  3. Helen Calder Post author

    DAY 3:
    Started the journaling time by going back over the last few entries with a highlighter, and am encouraged by the awesome gems of encouragement I have received.

    My journaling time tonight was made difficult by the volume of conversation happening in the adjoining room (not The Hunk, our younger generation!) I turned my worship music up and put a hand over my ear closest to the door and pressed on.

    In spite of these challenges, I did receive and write something of value in response to the question I put before the Lord, and will process it over the next few days.

    So far, I believe that prayer journaling will help me develop my prophetic gift, and certainly am encouraged by the revelation I have received. However, until I have an opportunity to put prophecy into practice verbally, I can’t be sure how much writing prophecy has been of assistance… watch this space.

  4. Helen Calder Post author

    DAY 4:
    Limiting myself to a week of prayer journaling has seemed like having rich desserts for dinner every evening and missing out on the vegetables. But in spite of having a hankering yesterday for my usual journal style of mind-mapping, I found myself really looking forward to this time today.

    I didn’t feel like asking questions, so after reading some scripture, I just made a note to the Lord in my journal of how much He means to me and how much I long for His Presence.

    Stared at the journal. What am I expecting—a love note back from Jesus? Seems to be an odd thing to do—write your own message from God.

    But decided to fire away, and wrote an awesome 1 ½ pages—in part of which the Lord was calling me back to worship and intercession (been a bit light in those for a while) ‘for worship is the language of love and of the throne room of heaven.’

    I can see now that prayer journaling really fosters intimacy with God. So its value in terms of sharpening the prophetic gift lies not only in recognising and communicating revelation, but also in getting into that place of communion with Jesus.

  5. Helen Calder Post author

    Day 5:
    12 hour day out today on a church staff day… my journaling was opened with reflective thanksgiving.
    My observation today is that sometimes I sense God speak to me from a different perspective. Today it was as Commander of His army, strengthening, encouraging and giving me instruction. Other times He has spoken as Father, or Comforter, or the Beloved. He’s awesome!

  6. Helen Calder Post author

    Day 6:
    In spite of my exhaustion last night, the journal was amazing. Out with the yellow highlighter again.

    Prayer journaling has been such a powerful tool this week that I am determined to keep using it regularly.

    I have found it helpful when starting out the ‘message from God’ part of the journal, that if something doesn’t flow straight away, to just start writing with the revelation from Him that I already know.

    Like priming the pump, very quickly I seem to receive fresh revelation and every time I’ve journaled I can look back at one insight or more that has been a remarkable Word from God for me personally.

    This insight may be helpful for exercising the gift of prophecy, too.

  7. Helen Calder Post author

    DAY 7:
    Last day of prayer journaling and I find that I leave it reluctantly (from tomorrow I will be doing a week of SOAP journaling–see next post).
    Prayer journaling has really fostered ‘intimate conversation’ with God and it’s been awesome.
    The side benefit is that it is a great tool to sharpen the ability to pick up what the Holy Spirit is saying, to receive and communicate His revelation. My focused week of prayer journaling has confirmed that it is a great way to help grow my prophetic gift.

  8. Mary Cunningham

    Helen,

    Thanks for sharing your week’s experience here. I have a dear friend at church that has a whole library of her prayer journals…wish I was that disciplined! I look forward to following your blog, you have sparked a fire in my soul.

    Mary

  9. Helen Calder Post author

    Thanks Mary, I love receiving comments 🙂 Journaling has never been my forte, either, so I’m trying a few methods to see which suit me best…mind-mapping is still my favourite journaling style, but others, like prayer journaling, have merit for different seasons and needs.

    1. maree

      I will be trialing this journaling.
      My biggest concern is that someone will read my notes and scoff at my thoughts.
      But more than anything I want to gain a greater intimacy with God.
      Maree

  10. steve tomori

    Thanks for I have come from having it all to losing it all.
    I have since learn to wait and trust in God and to forgive.
    To my christain brothers and sisters, let remember each other everytime in prayers.
    God bless you all and keep our club going . Amen

  11. Agnes

    I need to speak to someone about journaling. Very concerned, can I set up a talk?
    Please?
    Thank you.

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi Agnes, thanks for leaving the note. I’m very sorry but due to time constraints I can’t take one on one time with my readers. But if you can word your question in a general manner, I am happy to give you a brief answer here in the blog comments or on our Facebook page.

    2. TP

      HI

      I DO IT EVERY TIME, NOT JUST A PRAYER JOURNAL BUT ALSO A DREAM JOURNAL. I RECORD MY DREAMS AND INTERPRETATION.

      I CAN HELP IF YOU STILL NEED HELP

  12. Monica

    This has truly blessed me! I had a revelation from the lord as he took over my hand and wrote the things that I asked of him. I had a hard time reading some of the things because my hand was going so fast (similiar to how tongues take over0. I’m sure I will be able to pace myself later but I will practice prophetic journaling more. To God be the Glory!!

  13. Yonah

    its helpful especially in this era where it seems people want this gift without prayers, soaking oneself in God’s presence

  14. Kathryn

    I have been ‘journaling’ for over 20 yrs. I must say initially it was more woe is me than prayer! Though I’ve never given it a name, mine has often been rather one sided than a conversation. I read Mark Verklers book a year or so ago and it changed that. Allowing God to speak, not analising too much has been amazing. I now seem to do more ? Prophetic poetry/prayer but am never sure what to do with it, but at the same time I have the sense that He will use it when the time is right. Have thought of a blog but not that clued up! I love the intimate time with Jesus and could easily spend the morning there!
    Bless you Helen Realise this is a very old post so may never get a response!?

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