As a stepmom, I sometimes feel that no one can possibly understand the challenges that I face. Not my husband, stepchildren, parents, best friend or couples who only share biological children.
These feelings make me feel isolated and at a loss as to how to ask for help, even when I’m turning to God for strength through prayer. If you’re a stepmom who feels similarly, I want to encourage you to try using a prayer journal.
If you aren’t sure what a prayer journal is, how to start and use one or how a prayer journal can help you, I encourage you to please read on.
What is a Prayer Journal? (Psalms 45:1)
If you are unfamiliar with what a prayer journal is, put simply, it is a journal where you write down your prayers. You may also know it as a prayer diary.
Sometimes we have so many things on our mind, we do not have the opportunity to share everything in prayer with God. Writing down our challenges, blessings, and everything in between keeps our thoughts in one place for easy reflection.
We may feel similar to the psalmist who wrote the words found in Psalms 45:1 (New International Version),
My heart is stirred by a noble theme
as I recite my verses for the king;
my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.
We have much to say when our hearts are fully involved. However, we may find it more beneficial to write down what our tongues want to say in moments throughout the day.
We can then meditate on these feelings and examine them in depth at a more opportune time.
Prayer journals are also used to help us develop a stronger prayer habit. If we feel as if we do not pray often enough or we do not pray because we don’t feel as if we have anything to say, a prayer journal will aid us.
How Can a Prayer Journal Help Me as a Stepmom? (Psalm 25:5)
As I mentioned earlier, as a stepmom I sometimes feel as though no one understands what I am going through. The only person who I feel comfortable enough to share everything with is God.
This is especially true when I have really deep and dark thoughts of worthlessness. Those days when I feel as if I am the worst stepmother on the planet, sharing my concerns with God brings me through.
I remember trying so hard to form a relationship with my stepdaughter in the early days only to be greeted by false polite smiles and zero interest reciprocated.
As a fellow stepmom, I’m sure you can sympathize with how I felt. I would ask myself, “What am I doing wrong?” The advice other people gave me was to just give her time. They assured me she would “come around.”
This was easier said than done. It’s not as if I could turn off my feelings until she decided to make the effort to get to know me. I still felt rejected and upset. Then I would feel guilty for feeling upset when I was trying so hard to be patient.
It was especially at these times when I needed God’s help most. I would react just like the psalmist who wrote at Psalm 25:5 (New International Version),
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
Asking God to guide us through our lowest times and having complete hope in His ability to save us can change our entire outlook as stepmoms.
I try to make it my aim to be intentional with writing down my thoughts throughout the day. This helps me in 2 ways.
The first way is that I can use my prayer journal as a prayer guide when speaking with my heavenly father.
Secondly, writing out my fears and reading through them at the end of each day helps me to see that my concerns aren’t as hopeless as I initially believed them to be.
As a stepmom, I also use my prayer journal to write down my small wins each day. When I make my stepdaughter smile or laugh, when we have a happy family moment over dinner or when I simply feel like a rockstar stepmom.
A prayer journal can also be a place for you to vent your frustrations, note your mistakes and how you plan to learn from them. Or you can write down whatever is on your heart.
Prayer journaling is a great way to reflect on what God has done for you and the best part is, it doesn’t have to be difficult.
If you are the creative type, you can create your own prayer journal. If you’re like me, you can download or buy your prayer journal. Let me show you how you can do either of those options.
How to Start a Prayer Journal (1 Chronicles 16:11-12)
Prayer journaling allows us to speak with God daily so we can remember what and how God is speaking to us. We want to remember to,
11 Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.
12 Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, (1 Chronicles 16:11-12 New International Version)
So how should you begin your prayer journal?
Firstly, the best way to do this is by simply beginning to write. Try not to overthink it when first starting out. Allow God to lead you and give you the creativity you crave.
The bible brings out many examples of faithful servants of God who wrote psalms of praise, songs of victory, letters to strengthen others in the congregation, poetry, their dreams and heartaches.
When you begin to write, allow God to move you based on what is going on in your life. You cannot write the “wrong” thing. This is your journal. Remember that as you begin journaling.
Secondly, do not feel compelled to journal every…single…day. You do not want to add any additional pressures in your life. Try to be regular and consistent but do not force it.
Some days are “meh” days, I simply don’t have anything to say, good or bad. You can decide to journal every day, every other day, every week or several times per day. It’s truly up to you.
Thirdly, note your prayer requests and date them like you would a diary. This will help you to reflect back on what you felt, thought and endured.
The benefit of doing this is that you can clearly see how God has answered your prayers. This has the added benefits of strengthening your faith and your relationship with God.
Fourthly, write down exactly how God has answered your prayers. Be specific. Describe how it made you feel to experience your prayers being answered in action.
I encourage you to be open to God’s answers after you make a prayer request. The expression, “the Lord works in mysterious ways” is popular for a reason.
Be open to the signs around you. Pay attention and be thankful for the small answers; no matter when they come, how they come and in what form it comes in.
Be prepared for God’s answers and record how you are affected by it. If you have more questions, write them down. You will be surprised at what your prayer journal evolves int.
Fifthly, track the progress that you are making in your life. As you take out your journal (or journals) and look at how you have grown as a spiritual wife and stepmom, this will motivate you to continue to progress.
Finally, record bible verses that improve your life. During my personal bible study, if I find a bible example, illustration, proverb or psalm that touches my heart, I note it in my prayer journal.
For example, what if you are going through a situation similar to Hannah found in the bible book of 1 Samuel chapters 1 and 2. Hannah was childless and prayed fervently to God for a child.
Hannah prayed so passionately to God that she also started to weep and the priest Eli mistook her for being drunk in the temple. Eventually, we know that God granted her the desire of her heart and she had a son, Samuel.
If you are a stepmom struggling with something that another bible character fought with, read and meditate on their example. Make notes of how they prayed or how their prayers were answered.
Even if God does not grant you what he did them, reflecting on these verses in your prayer journal will keep you hopeful. It will also keep you focused on your spirituality during your challenges.
God can very well answer your prayers by leading you to read the exact scripture that you need to overcome your trials.
Make Your Own Prayer Journal (Matthew 17:20)
If you love working on projects, you will enjoy making your own journal. It’s very simple and the steps can be rearranged and adjusted to suit your needs:
- Date your journal entry.
- Create a section for your prayers and blessings: you can discuss events that happen throughout the day, marvel at God’s creations, note small wins, discuss God’s amazing qualities and attributes, whatever comes to mind.
- Create a section for prayer requests: write down who you want to pray for and why they need your prayers. Be specific. If someone is sick, write down your prayer for them. If someone has passed away, write down prayers of comfort for their family. You can also write down practical things you and your family can do to help them such as preparing meals or sharing a comforting scripture with them.
- Create a section for your answered prayers: remember, no answer from God is too small to be recorded. In the bible, we are encouraged to have faith as small as a mustard seed in Matthew 17:20. Look for opportunities to allow God’s message into each day.
- Create a confessions section: sometimes it’s such a relief to get your negative thoughts or actions off your chest. Write them down and pray for help and forgiveness from God. He will gladly aid those who call on Him.
- End with a scriptures section: write out key bible verses that connect with you. Allow God’s will to help you when you have to make important decisions using the scriptures and bible illustrations and experiences.
- I also include a notes section: this is for free writing including ideas, action steps, sketches or whatever else comes to my mind. If I am at a spiritual meeting and hear something that resonates with me, I also jot down the speaker’s scriptures and examples. This helps me to remember the main points. Writing them down also gives me the opportunity to study his words later when I have more time to break down each message and determine how to apply them in my life.
Keep in mind that you can adapt these sections to fit your life. If you don’t need a particular section, remove it. If you want to add your own section, go for it!
It’s your prayer journal after all.
Buy or Download A Prayer Journal
Personally, I began my prayer journal journey by buying a cute blank journal and personalized it to fit my personality.
You can see an example of an old journal below:
There are some really nice options out there including the ones below that you can buy and use to get started:
Eventually, I created my own journal that I can pull up online at any time to record my prayers. The format is exactly as described earlier.
It has space for each section and it is editable so that I can type my prayers right into the journal. Or, when I feel like it, I print out this printable and write down my prayers with different color pens.
I also want to share it with you!
It is free to download and my hope is that it will help you to become a better stepmom, just as it has helped me!
Prayer Journals Draw You Closer to God (James 4:8)
Prayer journals are amazing. They are literally designed as a safe place for you to go to God in prayer and allow Him to help you.
You can be more intentional with your prayers to Him, not just asking for help for yourself but also focusing on the issues other people are facing.
You may be surprised at exactly how prayer journaling can shift your mindset when it comes to me a stepmom, wife and spiritual woman.
The insights and experiences you will gain are absolutely priceless. God wants us to experience these, we just need to be aware of His blessings. Writing them down will give us something to focus on and look forward to.
You will experience spiritual growth in your life as you throw your anxieties upon God.
Prayer journals will help you to keep your priorities straight, help you develop discipline and patience as you wait for God to answer your prayers.
They have been a life changer for me in my life and I’m sure it can be a life changer for you!
P.S. Don’t forget to grab your free Prayer Journal for Stepmoms below!