What is a Devotional Journal?

What is a Devotional Journal?

Many Christians think about their relationship with God in terms of being on a journey. It’s a metaphor that was first used by John Bunyan in The Pilgrim’s Progress, written way back in the 17th century, and it helps us understand that being a Christian is a process, it’s not a single event like buying a pair of shoes. All of us are on a spiritual journey; there will be joys and sorrows, obstacles and setbacks, but we have the strength to carry on because the Lord is by our side.

‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff comfort me.’ Psalm 23:4 KJV

Our journey, however, counts for nothing if we do not learn and grow: it is not a train ride where we just sit back and enjoy the view, it is a journey on which, with every step, we seek the Lord. A devotional journal is a tool that helps us to reflect and learn, it is a record of how far we have travelled and how far we have to go. Maybe you’re someone who doesn’t usually write much, maybe you think that you’re not very good at it; God is not a High School teacher, God is not judging your spelling or grammar, God knows what is in your heart; your journal is a tool to help you see what is in your heart. It’s a tool to help you draw closer to God.

How to do a Devotional Journal

The act of writing helps you focus your thoughts, so that you can have a better understanding of yourself; your journal is between you and God, no one is going to come along and say ‘Hey, you’re doing that all wrong’. For the Christian, ‘devotion’ means joyful obedience to God and a devotional journal is a space where we can pause and reflect on how we can better serve God. Make time in your day for God and choose a place to journal where your mind can be still. If you are not sure how to get started with your journal one sure way is to let the Word of God guide you. Maybe you are following a Bible study course or maybe you just need to open the Bible at random and let the Lord speak to you directly. Write down a Bible verse. Write down what you think the verse is saying to you. Maybe there are things that you don’t understand, or that you find puzzling, that’s ok, it’s not a test. Think about how the spiritual wisdom of the Word of God applies to your life; write down your thoughts. End in prayer. Write down your prayer. Writing in the 16th century, Ignatius of Loyola composed spiritual exercises intended to help us draw closer to God. You may find his ‘Daily Examen’ a useful model when writing in your devotional journal.
Stillness – Empty your mind and let God enter your heart. Write down what God is saying to you.

Gratitude - Reflect on your day and write down those things that you are grateful for. You’ll need to be selective; God’s gifts are infinite.

Reflection - How have served God today?

Sorrow - Ask God for forgiveness for your sins.

Hope - How can you better serve God in the days to come?

When you go on a long journey it’s easy to forget the places you’ve been and the things that you’ve seen; writing in a devotional journal helps you to see your developing relationship with God and it enables you to look back and reflect on your spiritual journey. There is no right or wrong way to keep a devotional journal; God will help you find the way that works best for you.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published