At Bethesda Senior Living Communities, we like to take every possible opportunity to encourage our residents to deepen their relationship with God and grow in their faith. Keeping a faith journal is an excellent way to promote your own daily union with Christ.
Perhaps you’ve never been much of a diary or journal keeper, and that’s okay! Keeping a faith journal should never be a strict, regimented or detached daily routine that you feel obligated to do. Reporting the ups and downs and comings and goings of your day is not the purpose of a faith journal (unless that’s something you want to include). Rather, it’s a tangible, safe place where you can workshop your walk with the Lord and record the lessons you learn from him as you learn them. Here’s a closer look at why you should have a faith journal and how to create and keep one.
God speaks to you in little ways every day. Each day you’re blessed with is another chance to witness the Holy Spirit at work, both in you and in everything around you. If you pay close enough attention, you’ll find rich lessons and beautiful messages everywhere, littered throughout every hour of the day.
A faith journal is a perfect place to record these little daily lessons and affirmations from God. It’s a tool you can use at any time to help you focus on what God is whispering to your spirit today and also a reminder of your spiritual progress. For example, writing down prayer reminders in your faith journal incentivizes and enriches your prayer life by fostering a mindset centered on frequent communication with God. It also makes your faith even more active when you can physically look back over answered prayers from the past.
Make no mistake — a faith journal is not purely a prayer journal. It’s a place to be completely raw, open and vulnerable about your relationship with the Holy Spirit. The possibilities of what you can use a faith journal for are limitless and totally unique from believer to believer. Journals are meant to be customizable and 100% individualized.
Maybe for you, a prayer journal is a place you record the truths you find in meaningful passages of Scripture that bring healing and hope to you during times of pain and darkness. Or maybe it’s a place where you keep notes on what the preacher spoke about at church or thoughts on what God has done in your life. Maybe it’s all of the above, and that’s the whole point of keeping a prayer journal. From little messages of faith to prayers, from Bible passages to personal thoughts, your journal is a personal space to stimulate and advance your growth as a Christian.
Pick whatever kind of notebook appeals to you. You'll find a plethora of options in almost any local grocery store or book shop — spiral bound, composition notebooks, leatherbound, those with elaborate covers or simple designs, those with lines and without. Find one that fits you and makes you even more excited to be starting a faith journal. If you’re feeling especially craft-savvy, you can even make your faith journal from scratch.
If you’re a decorative kind of person, get some materials to customize your new journal, too — gel pens, markers and stickers can make it authentically yours through and through. Consider decorating the cover with a short Bible passage, scrapbook cutouts or a few words that represent your faith to you.
Once you’ve got your new journal and you’re ready to write, use the first page to outline the journal’s purpose and explain how you intend to use it. This may seem like a strange idea at first, especially if you don’t intend on letting anybody else read it. However, the reason for this is retroactive; it’s a page you can return to when you need to remind yourself what you were aiming to achieve in starting a faith journal. It becomes all the more touching when you fill the journal completely and look back over all the things God’s taught you.
Again, there are no limits to what you can write in your faith journal. Anything that inspires your Christian walk and makes you feel expressive has a place in this journal — including psalms, hymns, scriptures, sermons and faith mementos. After all, that’s what a faith journal is for: a collage of things that strengthen your faith, touch your soul and move you closer to the heart of God.
Make the journal as stark, vivid and visual as you like. Fill it with highlights, doodles and mind maps that increase its value and enjoyment for you. Don’t be afraid to use it as a sanctuary where you can be open and vulnerable with God; write your thoughts, ideas and questions and share them with the Lord during prayer.
Keep this journal close to you through difficult times as a source of spiritual encouragement to help keep yourself aligned with God’s will. Write verses and chapters that edify you in your darkest hours that you can revisit. Even in times of blessing and abundance, carry it with you; the Lord works in mysterious ways, and you ever know when you may encounter something inspiring that’s worth writing down.