Journaling is something that I love to do. Whether it’s journaling about my day, Bible journaling, journaling my thoughts, feelings or what’s currently on my mind, I always find it very therapeutic, calming and reflective. Some time back, I discovered prayer journaling. Although I suppose in some ways I’ve often journaled my prayers throughout the years, but after my husband got himself and I a prayer journal each, it quickly became an important part of my prayer time and quiet time with God. It’s a journal where I can specifically write down the prayers that are on my heart, prayer requests, what I would like help with, what I’m thankful for and where I can write down my praises to God.
Personally, I think that having a prayer journal is such a wonderful idea; it’s also lovely to look back at and see just how God is always at work. Below I’ve listed a few of the reasons why I love having a prayer journal. I pray that you find this post helpful, and that maybe it encourages you to start your own prayer journal to use in your quiet time with God. I’m also thrilled to be collaborating with Anna from And Hope Designs in this post, who has created the beautiful prayer journal I’ve been using and which you can find photos of below. You can also find a Q&A with Anna further down so you can get to know more about And Hope Designs and Anna herself.
I can use my prayer journal to write down all the prayers that are on my heart
In the morning, throughout the day and in the evening, there are many things that I often think about and pray about. Prayer is powerful. It’s through prayer that I have felt so much peace and I have seen God’s miracles, not just in my own life but in other people’s lives too. Having a journal or prayer journal to write in enables me to write down some of my prayers, which is also a lovely reminder to look back on the prayers that have been on my heart and what I have prayed to God about.
I know all too well how easy it is to have quiet time with God, and then halfway through I suddenly start thinking of what I need to get done, the things I haven’t yet done, “does this need doing”, “does that need doing”, and so on! But I have found that having a prayer journal helps me to get my focus back on my quiet time with God. With my pen in hand and my prayer journal in front of me, as I look down at what I have written, it is still there. It hasn’t vanished as my mind wanders. It’s creating those good habits, remembering just how important and powerful prayer is, and in those moments when the things of the world start to appear, I can put my focus back on my quiet time with God. My mind stays focused on the pages in front of me.
As I’m someone who loves to express myself creatively and through writing, having a prayer journal helps me to do just that with my prayers. Sometimes when I’m writing, I feel that the words flow much more easily onto paper. As I’m writing a prayer down, something else may pop in to my head, so I write that down too, and then something else may come to mind, and so I can just keep writing down all that comes to me and what I feel I need to write down, along with Bible verses, thoughts, feelings and my praises to God. I like to look back at what I have written and spend time reflecting, praying about what I have written and even going back to it throughout the day or again before bed.
A prayer journal helps me to look back at answered prayers
A prayer journal is not only just a reminder of past prayers, it’s a way of looking back at how God has answered prayers. As I flick through the pages of my prayer journals, it helps me to fully see just how much God is working, throughout the world, in other people’s lives and my own life. I can look back at the prayers that I prayed to God about, and see how those prayers have been answered: a reminder of just how good God is. We may not get the answers we are looking for right away, but looking back I can see how God was preparing me, moulding me, shaping me and helping me in my everyday life.
I can list down all the people and places that I want to pray for
A prayer journal is great for making lists of all the people you want to pray for. Whether it’s family, friends, random people you pass in the street, or people you know of that need some prayers. I’ve personally found it helpful to note all those names and people down to include in my prayers. Especially if you have quite a few people that you want to pray for, sometimes it can be hard remembering everyone’s name or remembering to pray for the person you passed in the street, having them written down helps me to remember who I need and want to pray for.
This list can also include places such as villages, towns, cities, places you hear about in the news and places all over the world. Even though we may not know of anyone in that place specifically, we can pray for that place as a whole and all the people in it.
I can write down my praises to God and thank Him for all that He has done, is doing and is going to do
Along with the many things that can be written down in a prayer journal, I love writing down my praises to God. It’s lovely to look back through the pages and remember all that I am thankful for, His Word, His promises and how good He is. It also helps me to see all the good there is in the world. When we hear negativity so often, and the lies and corruption that this world carries, along with always hearing what the world says we should do, it’s a reminder that it’s only God we should be listening to, that it’s His truth we must take notice of, and it really does put things in to perspective and helps me to bring my thoughts into alignment with God and His Word.
Writing down all the things that I am thankful to God for helps me to remember what I do have and not what I don’t have. It makes me thankful for all that God has blessed me with, even the little things, because there are so many people all throughout the world who sadly don’t have what we have.
I can look back at my personal journey of faith
It’s fascinating to look back on the previous pages of my prayer journal, especially from a couple of years ago. In it I can see just how I’ve grown in my journey of faith, along with looking at the good times and the not so good times, but seeing how God has brought me through it all and has got me to where I am today. It’s also a good reminder for those difficult times and when I’m feeling scared, frustrated or impatient. In those times, God has always brought me through. It’s when I put my trust in God that during those difficult times, He’s brought me out the other side. It may seem impossible to start with, but God can make what seems impossible, possible.
This wonderful prayer journal by Anna from And Hope Designs, has been such a blessing. At the top of each left-hand side page is a space where you can write the date, and then at the bottom of each right-hand side page, is a ‘brain dump’ area. This area is great for writing down the things that come to mind as you are using your prayer journal so you can remember them. I also enjoyed using this space for writing down anything that came to mind after journaling, the things that I felt God telling me, the things that really stuck out to me as I was writing, and also anything I learned during writing.
The front cover of the prayer journal is beautifully designed. I really love the floral/nature design. It’s a lovely reminder of all that God has created and the beauty in this world. That’s what comes to my mind anyway. The design also carries on in the inside of the front and back covers. In the middle of the front page is a verse from 2 Chronicles 20:12:
“We do not know what to do but our eyes are on you.”
It’s an important reminder that in those times where we may feel lost, scared, discouraged or unsure, God has already gone before us. We may not know the outcome, but God does. We have His promises, We have His Word and Truth, and when we call on the name of the Lord and put our trust in God, we can rest knowing that He is in control. I feel that this is a very fitting verse to have on the front and a reminder for each time I pick up my journal.
This prayer journal is incredibly helpful, especially during my quiet time with God. It’s helping me not only in my day-to-day life, but also in my own journey of faith, keeping those good daily habits and helping me to keep my eyes firmly fixed on Jesus.
Q&A with Anna from And Hope Designs
Please can you tell us some fun facts about yourself?
A couple of fun facts about me are that I was born in England, grew up in France, went to uni in Scotland, and now live in Northern Ireland. I love to travel, and the best place I have ever been to is Iceland – my husband and I went on a camping honeymoon there almost 10 years ago and I would love to go back.
What inspired you to start And Hope Designs?
And Hope Designs is a happy result of a lot of things not going as planned. I was a wedding photographer for 8 years, but on maternity leave, I picked up my paintbrushes and really got into drawing, painting and illustrating, then decided to invest in an iPad and taught myself hand lettering and made some cards which a lot of friends wanted to buy so I had to quickly print another lot of them. Things slowly took off from there and what was just a creative outlet in the midst of mothering young children became much more than I had ever expected.
What made you decide to choose the name And Hope Designs?
The name And Hope Designs comes from the verse in the Bible found in Romans 5:5 which says “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”
The heart behind And Hope Designs is to remind people of God’s love and to love people through the good and the bad times. Sending words of encouragement and love is what started it all. I was reading through Romans as I was considering starting a business with my cards and this verse stood out. I wanted to make use of it and the words “And Hope” begin with the same letters as my name, Anna Hamill, which I’d designed a logo for already and loved.
Please can you tell us a bit about your journey of faith?
I grew up in a Christian home, and was a missionary kid with my parents planting a church in Paris, France. I made a personal commitment to being a Christian myself when I was around 12 at a Christian festival called Soul Survivor. I discovered more about Christianity and some of the more complex things in the faith when I went to university and attended a church and their student group in Edinburgh. I joined a course the church ran called the Institute of Biblical Studies and worked my way through Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology book with a group of people before church each week. All these things helped cement in my mind what I knew to believe in my heart, and my faith over the years has become both something I believe in my heart and in my head. I have been saved by grace through faith and this is a gift from God. Now as a mum, I’m asked some complex and deep questions which is so awesome to experience.
Have you always loved to design and make things?
I’ve always been creative, I made friendship bracelets as a young teenager (there was always one pinned to my jeans which I had sewed and turned into flairs!!) and loved making beaded necklaces…I also designed my own wedding stationery, iced my own wedding cake and made our wedding bouquets. Before starting And Hope Designs, I had a wedding photography business which I still enjoy doing when a friend asks me to do their wedding.
Your prayer journal is so beautiful. What encouraged you to create a prayer journal?
I created this prayer journal out of a need for one myself. I find that I always get distracted praying. It’s 1,000 times worse just praying in my head and I never manage more than 3 or 4 minutes before going off to do something I’ve remembered I need to do. Writing my prayers down is better, but I still have things popping into my head that I’m sure to forget if I don’t do them. So I made a journal with a little section at the bottom of each page for a brain dump. I can write all those things down, so that I don’t forget them, and get back to praying for a while longer. The verse on the front is my favourite verse – my life verse – 2 Chronicles 20:12 “we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” Even when I don’t know what to do, may my eyes be on Him. May I continue faithful in prayer, seeking His will. May we be a people whose eyes are fixed on Him in the midst of chaos, war, illness and whatever else life throws at us!
You can find Anna’s website and shop here.