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Here's Why You Need to Journal When You Can't Pray

Updated: Apr 28

It's common knowledge that I'm generally a very wordy girl, but if I'm being so honest, sometimes I come to my time with the Lord and I genuinely don't even know what to pray. I feel so overwhelmed and my mind is swirling so chaotically that I struggle to process and decipher it enough to know how to bring it to the Lord. This has been a semi recent struggle and it feels foreign and discouraging, so if you're facing the same thing, you are not alone, and I see you!

It's gotten to the point where I'm not as prayerful as I should be, and I stop fighting the discomfort so much because it's easier to pretend that everything is okay than to face it. It's hard to talk to God when you feel like such a mess, and I've succumbed to the lie that I need to get more "together" before I talk to God.

This makes me feel so guilty and honestly quite ashamed. But I'm starting to recognize that all of these feelings are lies from the enemy, not the Father, and they are tactics to keep me away from prayer. God is continuously inviting me in, pursuing me even, not pushing me away because I've been distant. He desires to commune with me, to be involved in everything that's going on, to hear even the most dark and broken thoughts. He even offers to pray for me on my behalf when I can't pray for myself.

So, the other night, I sat down and I just wrote. I told God how I've been feeling and laid it all out there, even the parts that aren't pretty and that I'm not proud of. Even the parts that make me feel like I'm not a good Christian or unworthy. Because those are all lies from the enemy, and we don't want him to succeed in his tactics.

Surprise, surprise, friends, I was met with grace! (Not really a surprise, haha. Or it shouldn't have been.)

Not all of my problems were resolved, nor did God appear on my bed to give me a big hug, but there was peace and comfort. I was reminded (yet again) of how loving my Father is, and that He chooses me time and time again, and that He is my safe place when the rest of the world (even my own thoughts) feel oh so scary. And He put on my heart how I should keep coming to Him in this way, through journaling, as consistently as possible.

Because when I put pen to paper, the chaotic string of thoughts in my brain that sometimes get tangled begin to unwind. The knots my stomach is twisted in begin to loosen. I make a quiet space in my heart to hear from the Lord as the words begin to flow. And even if the words aren't eloquent or particularly holy or impressive, they're still prayers. And that's what God wants - to simply hear from me.

That's all He wants from you, too, friend.

I'm challenging us both to start journaling when prayer seems too hard, when we can't find the words to speak. Because writing down our thoughts or whatever is on our heart is the first step to inviting Jesus in. It's the first step to more intimate conversation, to allow His whisper to seep into our soul. It's a simple, non-judged way to let it out, to let it go, and to bring it to Jesus. It's beginning to change my heart and shift my time with Jesus, and I want you to be able to experience that too.

Now, let's all remember that I'm not perfect, and I don't have it all together. This post is, in part, a way to hold me accountable and keep bringing it to Jesus through journaling. But to get us both started, I've created a list of journal prompts to inspire us and maybe give the Holy Spirit an opportunity to stir within us. If one sticks out to you, try it out, bring it to the Lord in surrender, and see how He moves - because I guarantee that when we show up with hearts ready to hear from Him, He will speak.

  • How have you seen God work throughout today?

  • What happened today that made you anxious? Bring that to Jesus.

  • What happened today that reminded you to pray or thank God?

  • How did you show Christ's love to someone else today? Was there a missed opportunity that you could have taken?

  • Take inventory of your mind. Are your thoughts fixed on things above or things of this world? Lay it out there.

  • How has God been faithful lately?

  • Is there a sin (whether a behavior or an attitude) that you need to repent of?

  • Sometimes I get angry with God about....

  • I'm waiting on God to....

  • Create a list of lies that you're believing and contradict each lie with truth.

The moral of the story, though, is that even when we don't have the words to pray, God is still pursuing us and is inviting us into His presence. We don't always need the words, but instead sometimes we just need to sit and be with the Father. And sometimes, we just need to pour out everything in our hearts to Him, even if it's messy and a little bit scattered. For me, it's been making the biggest difference to let go of the need to have the "right words" and more of having a conversation with God. We don't have to have it all together, we just need to never stop coming to Jesus. And when we come to Him, and lay it all at His feet, we experience an indescribable peace and contentment as He lifts our burdens off our shoulders.


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