There are many benefits to keeping a personal journal. Writing in a personal journal, or prayer journal, is an opportunity for spiritual reflection and a chance to gain spiritual insight. Journal writing can be a simple tool that opens your mind and heart to new knowledge and new hope. Writing in a journal need not be complicated or challenging. A few basic suggestions can help the novice journaler launch their first personal journal.

Journal writing inside a personal journal is an opportunity to record life experiences. This can be done by documenting God’s answers to your prayers, sharing lessons you have learned or listing observations for the day. You can write down quotations that inspire you, passages from books that resonate with you, or prayers that center you. Make a bulleted list of the day’s events, draw a map of your travels or write down a few meaningful words someone shared with you. Draw a picture, write a confession or share your anger through a few choice words. Do whatever you want. A personal journal is personal. It’s nobody’s business but yours: no rules, no regulations and no expectations. Finally, you have a place where you can do whatever you want and nobody can stop you!

Some people like to have a journal for a specific purpose. For example, a journal could solely be a book of lists, a series of letters or a record of daily events. You can have several journals you are keeping at once: each for a different purpose. Keep track of what you hear God saying to you inside a journal: a simple paragraph each day that seeks to hear His voice. Keep track of valuable insights found through daily reading, vent your frustrations or write down your worries. Keep a Worry Journal, a book of quotations and an Anger Log. Use index tabs to divide a binder into sections: one section for each journaling purpose. Now you have one place to keep all your journals!

Artist Guillermo Kuitca takes discarded canvases and stretches them over a round table. These tables become daily diaries upon which he captures his daily musings and travels. Phone numbers, lists, schedules, appointments, quotes, traces of objects that sat on the canvas and email addresses cover the canvas top to create a personal diary. Guillermo teachers us that journal writing can take a multitude of forms and serve a multitude of purposes. He encourages us to think outside the box and find a journal format that works for us.

If you are a novice journaler, remember that a journal is a place for you to decide how you will keep record of your own story. Find a way to keep a personal journal or prayer journal for spiritual reflection and insight. Consider finding a spiritual journaling tool that works for you. From diaries, to notebooks to canvas covered kitchen tables, the formats are endless. Pick a venue for documentation and expression that fits your personality and your lifestyle. Think outside the box, keep an open mind and pray about the possibilities. Discover how God has wired you keep a journal. Then, pick up a pen and share your story.

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