Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Prayer Journaling

Prayer is something I've struggled to be consistent with. Often, I find that I'm overwhelmed at the volume of what there is to pray for and I don't know where to begin. I have found that the most successful way for me to pray is to write my prayers in a journal. I don't know why it works - but it does.

Because of that, I was especially interested when my friend, Jen, invited me to receive a copy of the Legacy Prayer Journals CD. I posted about this before Christmas and then again recently when I finished making our Prayer Journal. I also just finished making a journal for a friend as a wedding gift.

But, now that I have my journal made - I am still looking for ways to incorporate this into our daily lives. I wanted to hear from Jen on how she used this and what her vision for it was in creating it. So, I asked her to write a guest post on this topic to share so that we could all learn from her together.

Here are Jen's thoughts on the creation and implementing of the Legacy Prayer Journal in your own home:

How it all began:
The idea for Legacy Prayer Journals was born out of a desire to make our family prayer times more meaningful. I realized that my children didn't often have a face to go with each prayer request that my husband and I brought up. With my husband being a pastor, we have many families in our church that we are praying for and many missionaries to pray for but my children had a hard time remembering "who" all these people were let alone all the extended family members. I quickly remembered that I had saved the many Christmas card letters with picture of family and friends all in a photo album and I also had many prayer cards of missionaries with their pictures on them. I got a three ring binder, made some templates that I could hand write in our prayer requests and started scrapping the templates and picture into the binder. And so was born my first scrapbook prayer journal.

My children quickly became excited about our prayer times and were almost fighting over which picture they each wanted to pray for. My daughter would point to each picture and ask "what are we praying about for them?". Soon I added pages for our own family. A page for each of my children and a page for my husband and I, and then a page for our marriage. I put pictures on the opposite sides of all of these. Then it dawned on me, if I keep this journal for years to come, then I can see each picture of my child, how old they were and what they looked like at the time I was praying those things for them. How cool would that be for generations to come! They could see what we all looked like at those times in our lives.

It wasn't long before I was adding scripture pages, praise pages, and many more pages. From time to time, friends would see my journal on our coffee table and I'd excitedly show them what I had created. Friends were asking if I'd share my templates with them and some were suggesting I sell them. Now Legacy Prayer Journals is available in four different versions! For singles, for couples without children, for families, and one for empty nesters!

How to implement the journal into your family time:
Monica has asked me to share ways in which you can implement this journal into your family. Let me first say that there is not a right or wrong way to use your journal. Some ladies have used them for just their personal prayer times while others use them as during their family prayer time. Legacy Prayer Journals are not a "way of praying" but rather a tool to use in a way that works for you!

I have found that some dads struggle with knowing how to bring family worship time down to the level of young children and often rely on their wives to help provide age appropriate materials. A Legacy Prayer Journal is a great tool for dads to easily involve their children in family prayer. Dad can easily gather the family on the sofa and open up a page of scriptures to bring focus on prayer, and even lead the family in some familiar hymns or praise songs. Since there is room in the template to write out the words to the songs your family is familiar with you can write down favorites that your children are sure to know. Then he can lead the family through prayer on as many prayer request pages as he likes.

Here are some tips for using it with small children:
-I recommend that mom or together with dad take time to fill out the journal ahead of time but then add other prayer request once you are sitting down with your children to use it. This way, it is mostly filled out with the things you pray often for.

-I suggest not praying through the entire journal every day with small children. Instead, take one page a day and work your way through the journal. Spend one day praying for each family member and then move on to spending a day on extended family, a day on friends, a day on praying for your church, etc.

-When praying through the pictures with small children, I suggest having them pick one picture and then let them pray for that one person/family. Then stop and let the next child pick a picture and then pray for that family and so on. That way you are breaking up the prayer time with discussion about how you can pray for each family without the children trying to remember a long list in their head.

You can also make the journal very much your own by adding your family name on the top of the cover page to read "Smith Family Prayer Book" or paste a family picture at the top like Monica did on hers. Use your own embellishments and creativity to make it one of a kind, unique and special for your own family.

Truly Making it a Scrapbook:
Here's where I want to share more ideas with you about what you can add to your journal.

-This is a great scrapbook to keep special cards in, precious letters written from loved ones or good friends. When either my husband or I go away, we mail home postcards to our kids of where we are and these are always kept in our prayer journal.

-Press the precious flowers your little ones pick for you and put them in here.

-You can purchase clear plastic picture sleeves at most stores made for three ring binders and stick just about any small treasure in them. I've saved anniversary cards, letters from the widows we visit, flowers, tickets to fun family events we've gone to, and things like that in ours.

-I've also purchased a world map made for three ring binders (got it at Walmart) and put it next to our missionary section so that we can point on the map and show our kids exactly where each missionary lives that we are praying for.

Other pages in the templates....
There are many other pages that are fun to fill out as well, such as your favorite verses that year, quotes you find that you like, a page to jot down some of the prayer requests that your kids have (when mine were little sometimes they said the funniest prayer requests and it was fun to record them here), and stones of remembrance which is a page to write down the things God has taken your family through. Of course there is also an Answered Prayer page as well.

LPJs are now available for download purchase! We are excited to offer you this option. When you make a download purchase you save money on shipping of course but you also don't have to wait for the CD to arrive in the mail. With a click of your mouse you can begin making your prayer journal right away!

We also are excited to now offer personalization! For an additional $5 we will personalize your templates with your first name or family name on the front page!

Coming soon.......KJV templates. We are working to make a set of templates that have all the scripture references in KJV. (They currently come in the NASB)

Thank you for letting me share about my product that I'm passionate about. You can view Legacy Prayer Journals here.

Thanks, Jen! Also, I'm excited to say that Jen has graciously offered to give 20% off for one week to all who read here! Enter code "homespun20" during checkout!

Do any of you keep a prayer journal? I'd love to hear about yours and how it works for you and your family!


Angela - Life w/ Two Busy Boys said...

I love this and while I can't afford to buy one right now I'm going to try to do something like this for our own family. Great idea! I love how you share yours with others by leaving it out as well.

Bridgett said...

Thanks for sharing this. I recently bought the LPJ templates as my christmas gift. It was something that had been on my heart and when you posted about it, i just loved it. Since then I've struggled w/creating it & using it. I just couldn't seem to find something that worked. Thanks so much for these tips. I feel encouraged. :)
~One thing I've worked on recently is- i took a small 4x6 photo album and took pics. of all my oldest friends, church teachers, etc. and we put it together. He is 4 and has been praying for sometime telling God about his day & how everything made him feel & praising Him. So I felt it was time to go to the "next level" in his personal prayer time. He loves looking @ all the pics. Most of them is him w/the person so he really likes it. It seems to help his 4 year old mind to not wonder by using the small album. ~
Sorry so long. I love prayer & ideas about prayer. :)

DairyQueen said...

what a great post!

It is so hard to teach our kids how to really pray. It is a pet peave of mine and my husbands that my children have learned from other places the song prayers. Any prayer prayed in repetition day after day will likely lose it's meaning. We've been trying to teach our girls to pray from their hearts rather than their memory.

This journal would be a great way to remember things besides our immediate family and our 2 dogs each day!

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

I love this idea, Monica! Thanks for sharing!

Nancy at said...

That is really neat. Our prayer journal is an idea that came from YOU! It was from your post where you had 2 mason jars, one for 'pray' and the other 'prayed'. I adapted that idea a bit and this is what I came up with.

It is a peanut basket where one side is for the peanuts and the other for the shells, but it turned into a wonderful prayer basket that we keep on our table. The family adds to it as needed and at dinner time we pull out the cards to pray for those in need.

Willys and Elizabeth (Lizzie) said...

This is such a wonderful idea. Two years ago for Christmas I made prayer journals for all the families at our church. All I did was decorate a composition book and put the family name on the front. This scrapbook idea is just awesome.
Thanks so much for sharing!

La Familia Garcia said...

This is awesome! We have a prayer journal, but it's much different. We keep track of our prayer requests and praises. I LOVE doing it because it's so real for the kids. But I love the idea of pictures and scriptures!

Jessica said...

I used to have a prayer journal when I was single and in college, I have since slipped away from using it. I remember being much more consistent in my prayer time while I was journaling. This is a great idea now that I am married and have a family. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Hi, love this idea. In response to Hadley, I encourage my kids to do some prayers by memory and then add their own personal prayer. For example, the Lord's Prayer, I feel is biblical, Jesus taught it, so I want my kids to say it daily. After they pray in a more personal way. I agree that when they pray by rote, it is less personal. But at least they are praying. It's better than video games . :))

Elise said...

What a neat idea!! I currently do not have a prayer journal. I just pray as it comes to my mind. Also, I pray more continuously throughout the day rather than a set time. Like say I hear a song that reminds me of a particular family, then I pray for them then.
Neat idea!!

Anna said...

I like this idea, and I think that my kids would enjoy it. It helps them to have a visual image.

The Gaertegang Homestead said...

I love the idea of prayer journaling as well..I have been struggling at being consistent in praying for others as well. I don't have the want or the extra time to do the scrapbooking part of it, but I simply write down names of who I need to pray for and what I need to be praying for each's nice because as you move throughout the year you can see answered prayers and God's amazing grace to answering our requests according to His will. I was doing this for quite a while and because of life let it slip out of mind...I will have to start up again after being inspired from your post....Thanks Monica for the honesty of struggling and then inspiring us all to do something about it :)

Anonymous said...

I have a prayer journal that I have been using for 2 years now. It is a 3 ring binder, and I have it divided up for the days of the week. Each division has certain pages as well. i.e. Missionary Monday..each missionary has their own page with prayer requests and answers. I also date when I write them and their replies back. Tuesday I named The List and it is basically any list I could think of :-) pregnant women, college students, high school kids, marriages, servicemen and women. Wednesday is for those who are Weak (illnesses, sympathy etc.) Thursday is Thankful...dated and thanks to the Lord for many blessings (personal). Friday is Friends...each one has a page with requests or my own prayers for them. Saturday is Sermon...all the pastors or preachers that I know and finally Sunday is for Salvation (self-explanatory) plus the saints from my home church. It has worked well for me, but I LOVE the idea of incorporating pictures and scrapping! Thanks Monica and Jen! p.s. I am an empty nester, but if I put in pictures, I can envision showing my grandchildren some pages when they get older!

Stephanie said...

I love this idea, it is so beautiful! Hopefully I can squeeze some wiggle room in the budget to purchase one soon!

Jessica said...

I think you've mentioned LPJ before or otherwise I read about it on another blog. Anyway, I asked for it for Christmas and my MIL had my name. I was so excited to see that she got me LPJ cd for Christmas. It's been a great way to pray with my kids and a great place to keep our missionary letters. That way we can remember their specific needs.

Thanks again for this great reminder of such a wonderful resource!

Unknown said...

What a wonderful idea! I especially love using Christmas photo cards for reminders to pray for those people! Monica, I really love to journal my prayer time also! It helps me remember the things I've prayed about, record the answers to those prayers/things I've learned, and also list Scriptures that jump out to me also...

Neat post!

Anonymous said...

I love this idea!

I already keep a written prayer jounral. I love the idea of having photos of those you pray for so that the children can make a connection.