What if you don’t know where to start? You’re staring at a blank piece of paper and a Bible full of words. Where to begin?
A few months ago I was in the car driving back from visiting my parents in Mississippi, and I was thinking back to my pregnancy with Lydia and my prayers during that time. In Part 1, I mentioned the nightmares I had after the miscarriages, and I continued to have nightmares sometimes during my pregnancy with Lydia. I would wake up in the middle of the night my heart racing, and I felt paralyzed with fear.
I couldn’t remember the reference or most of the verse, but I remembered one part of a verse, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.” So, in the middle of the night I would say, “Jesus” out loud. I knew the enemy had to flee at the name of Jesus, so I would say the name of my Savior over and over until fear loosened its grip on me and I could finally fall back asleep. That phrase comes from Philippians 2:9-11, and in its entirety you can really see the power of praying the name of Jesus.
“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
During that drive when I was remembering this season and those dark nights, I thought about that simple, one-word prayer, “Jesus.” And I thought about John 1.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. . .” John 1:1-3, 14
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Who is John talking about? Jesus! If you don’t know where to start, start with the name of Jesus. The Word became flesh through Jesus Christ. If you are deep in darkness, if fear has a paralyzing grip on you, if you are hanging on by a thread, you have a Scripture to pray. You have the entire Word of God in the person of Jesus Christ. Pray the name of Jesus and watch the enemy have to retreat.
Do not stress or let the enemy distract you because you do not “know” which Scriptures to pray. Isaiah 65:24 tells us, “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear.” If we are faithful to read and study His Word, the Holy Spirit will show us Scriptures to pray and give us verses to add to our prayer journals.
As you start, remember the name of Jesus. A great way to start your prayer journal is with a page that says “Names of Jesus” at the top. You can add to it a little at a time. If you are on Instagram, look up 100dayswithJesus . There are tons of names of Jesus with the Scripture reference that the name comes from.
Other ideas for starting your prayer journal:
- SheReadsTruth ABC Scripture cards– The other day the girls who are creating their journals with me were over at the house, and we all started gushing when Gracie pulled her notebook out. In the front of her binder, she had the Armor of God card from this set. It was beautiful, and she told us she has a clipboard in her daughter’s room where she rotates the verse cards from this pack. It’s an easy (and beautiful) way to learn new verses and to find new verses to add to her journal. I loved this idea!
- French Press Mornings– Gracie told our group about this site too. Every Wednesday this blogger puts up a new beautiful verse that you can print or save on your phone for a lock screen. Another easy way to add verses!
- amandasavage.net– My friend Amanda has a memory verse challenge going on through the end of the year. On her website, you can find past verses, and you can follow her on IG to be alerted to new ones. I love what Amanda shares about each verse or passage too.
- Fervent by Priscilla Shirer- This book is full of great Scriptures to add to your prayer journal.
- Scriptures to Pray– I put together this list of some of my favorites from my own prayer journal. It’s just the references, but you can use biblegateway.com or a similar site to make them easier to look up.
But most of the verses I add to my journal come when I’m reading my Bible. In addition to my Bible, I have a few things with me: a stack of sticky notes, Twistables crayons I steal from my kids, and my prayer journal. Whenever I find a verse or passage that sticks out to me, I first highlight it with my Twistables crayon. (These things leave a great mark, come in all sorts of colors, don’t bleed through your paper, and don’t cost much.) After I highlight my Bible, I write the verse(s) on a sticky note. I can’t remember where I heard to write the reference first because it helps your memory better retain the reference if it’s first rather than last, but I’ve started doing that and it does seem to help. Next, I attach the sticky note in the appropriate section. For example, if I find a verse that I want to pray over my husband, I write it on a sticky note and stick it behind the “My husband” divider. Every few months, I will gather all the sticky notes up and type out a new page. So, on any given day there are lots of sticky notes throughout my prayer journal. (The page protectors help here too because the sticky notes stick great to them.) Sometimes, I’ll take one and stick it to my bathroom mirror if I need to see it multiple times throughout the day. And other times if God lays someone’s name on my heart when I’m praying a certain verse, I’ll write that verse on a sticky note and give it to that person as encouragement. I hope these ideas help you get started putting verses in your journal.
Gracie (with the awesome ideas above) also added divider pages for Praise, Forgive, Our Home, and the World to her journal, and she’s going to share them with us! I will add a link to those when I get them. Gracie and another friend Jill also had the idea to put together prayer journal binders as gifts for Christmas and to include cards with verses you are praying for that person. It’s been so much fun getting to collaborate with others because they have shared tons of great ideas. I’ll figure out a way to keep sharing those with you as well, maybe through Instagram. Our last part of this series will be published next Monday, November 23rd, and we’ll talk about adding pictures and stones to your prayer journal. I’m a visual person, so I’m really excited about that one! I’ve loved getting to hear your stories and encouragement about what God is showing you through your prayer journal.
This morning, I was going through some old sticky notes I had stuck in the pocket of my prayer journal binder, and I found one with a quote from Priscilla Shirer’s book Fervent, “God has deliberately chosen this particular vehicle as the one that drives His activity in people’s lives. It’s what He allows us to use to cooperate and partner with Him in the fulfilling of His will. He’s created prayer as a primary way of putting us into personal contact with Him and with His eternal realities, any hour of the day or night.” And I found another with Mark 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”