5 Ways to Prayer Journal to Improve Your Attitude and Marriage

Prayer Journaling - This post details a messy marriage moment that brought into focus the power and need for prayer journaling marriage conflicts. #marriageconflicts #conflictresolution #prayer #prayerjournaling

I had just finished up loading the dishes into the dishwasher, while listening to worship music and offering up a prayer of joy. Little did I know how quickly my attitude would move from worship to all-out-war!

Prayer Journaling - This post details a messy marriage moment that brought into focus the power and need for prayer journaling marriage conflicts. #marriageconflicts #conflictresolution #prayer #prayerjournaling

You see, our 5 yo son (who is now 25!) wanted to go out to play in the backyard. But there was just one problem.

We had a new puppy.

So my husband wanted to make sure our son watched out for where our dog, Jet, had done his business in the yard.

I jumped into the conversation—saying, “But Jet has been choosing an area to do his business. It’s over on the left side of our yard.” Not realizing that my husband felt like I was contradicting his parenting instructions!

That was when my hubby’s demeanor went from instructive with our son to argumentative with me.

So we launched into an argument over whether that really was the case. With each cross word we spat at each other, our tempers ratcheted higher and higher.

Suddenly, my husband grabbed a plastic bag and headed out the backdoor. He angrily tromped around the backyard hunting for every bit of dog poop (I-yi-yi) he could find to disprove my theory.

And I fumed as I watched him through the backdoor—eventually making the very unwise decision to lock the door behind him.

When he finished, he came back to try and enter our house again, but realized my infuriating (or infuriated) choice.

Needless to say, this turned our messy moment into all out war, that sadly left our little ones in the crossfire.  #marriageandparentingfail

The reason I remember so many details from that horrible argument nearly 20 years ago is because I recorded it in my journal.

This was not necessarily my prayer journal. Though it often became the place I poured out my anger and hurt to God after meltdowns like that one!

It took times like these to finally realize that prayer journaling—not just journaling—was where God could do some of His best work in my heart and marriage.

I hope you give the following tips and practices a try in your own marriage and life!

5 Ways to Prayer Journal to Improve Your Attitude and Marriage

Improve Your Marriage by Prayer Journaling. This post gives 5 tips how to prayer journal so that God can improve your attitude and marriage. #improvemarriage #prayerjounaling #journaling #marriage #prayer1. Anchor your prayer journaling in Scripture

This is the main difference between journaling and prayer journaling. Journaling may or may not include anchoring your heart to God and His word. It might be and often is just a free-flow of feelings to no one but yourself.

Instead …

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” —James 4:7-8a

When you read God’s word and prayer journal, especially after a conflict or when you’re angry, you submit to God. This invites Him to come near. His word then prepares your heart. He goes on to soften, bring healing, freedom and perspective to you like no amount of journaling can!

See below for a printable prayer that uses Scripture to give you an idea of how to do this in your own life and marriage.

2. Prayer journal every day

If you already read your Bible daily, then prayer journaling will be a natural outflow for you. But if you are not prayer journaling every day, then there is no better time than now to start!

We all need the consistency of journaling our prayers daily to make the biggest impact on our attitudes in marriage and life. This is especially true in cases where you or I harbor bitterness toward our mates (or others).

3. Prayer journal with an open and listening heart

“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” Proverbs 2:1-5

If and when you pray daily—wholeheartedly seeking God’s thoughts—He will speak to you! Your continual devotion to this process tells Him you long to hear His will and desires, not just telling Him yours. He blesses this by revealing more and more of Himself and His truth to you each time.

Sometimes I wonder if we cannot handle everything God wants to tell us all at one time. Or if He goes slow because it creates a dependent rhythm on Him alone. Or both!

Probably both! 😉

[bctt tweet=”It just seems that when we listen for God to speak, we must accept that He will likely go slower than we want Him to. #waitonGod #slowandsteadylistening” username=”BethSteffaniak”]

4. Prayer journal whenever conflict and anger erupts

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have … so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.” —James 4:1-2

In the account I shared above, I began to ASK God for help. My journaling turned into prayer journaling as I poured out my anger and hurt to God. And His peace and comfort flooded my bruised heart.

Coming to Him, in that way and time, signaled my willingness for Him to do “heart surgery.” Then and only then was I able to see my part and make the changes that I had the power to make—leaving the rest up to God.

5. Use my “Prayer Journaling a Conflict” as your guide

Sometimes prayer journaling is all you need to find God’s perspective. But other times you might need some prompts or questions, aided by Scripture, to untangle a particular messy moment or even season.

So I hope you’ll download my “Prayer Journaling a Conflict” and use it the next time you feel bogged down by discouragement in marriage.

Bottom Line:

[bctt tweet=”Prayer, along with Scripture, form the scalpel God uses to do the heart surgery we all need in marriage and life. #donotavoidit #findhealing” username=”BethSteffaniak”]

Forgoing this practice hinders your ability to see yourself, your spouse and marriage the way God does. Neglecting it also hinders your ability to give and feel love for your mate (and others). #21daysoflove

However, once you gain insight from this practice, you’ll be able to go on to apply God’s word, truth and love each day. That’s what I’ll be talking about next week, “How to Apply God’s Word to Tension-filled Moments in Marriage. Click the link to read more posts in the 21-Days of Love series.

And if you haven’t joined the 21-Days of Love Challenge yet, there’s still time! Check out what you’ll get by joining this challenge and subscribing to my blog (below)

As a subscriber to MM and this challenge, you’ll receive a weekly email that includes what’s listed below (if you missed last week’s, you can find it in the MM Subscriber Library!). And if you’re not a subscriber, then sign up below today

  • 7 daily prompts/ideas for doing loving acts for your mate each week (21 total for all three weeks)
  • 1 brief devotional that you and your mate can discuss during the week (3 total during the 21-Days)
  • Bible Study “WORTHY” Method printable

I hope you’ll consider using the prayer graphic below either as a guide for praying Scripture or as a prayer to pray the next time you face a conflict in marriage. Click on the image and download at the “…” in upper right corner in new tab.

Marriage Conflict Prayer - Use this prayer printable to pray Scripture after a painful conflict in marriage. #marriageconflict #prayer #Scripture #prayerjounaling


[bctt tweet=”Join the 21-Days of Love challenge and receive 21 daily love prompts/ideas, 3 couple devotionals, plus the WORTHY Bible study method! Join and subscribe today! #MessyMarriage #21daysoflove” username=”BethSteffaniak”]


What are some insights you’ve gained about yourself from your times of prayer journaling?


What is one fear or doubt you have about the power of this practice? (I’ll be sure to pray for you in that!)


Here are some lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me MondayLiterary Musing MondaysTea and Word TuesdayPurposeful FaithTell His StoryRecharge WednesdayPorch Stories Linkup, Coffee for Your Heart, Worth Beyond Rubies WednesdayEncouraging Word WednesdaySitting Among FriendsDestination Inspiration, Tune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementMoments of HopeGrace and TruthFaith and FriendsBlogger Voices NetworkFaith on Fire FridayFresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday


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37 responses to “5 Ways to Prayer Journal to Improve Your Attitude and Marriage”

  1. You laid the rationale behind prayer journaling, and its implementation, very well. Great job, Beth.

    And with eighteen dogs, I can relate to the story.

    It’s something I would find hard to do, now, because my cancer journey has sloughed away a real sense of ‘me’, replacing it with a feeling of connexion to God and to the Eternal. I don’t know if that makes sense, or perhaps sounds super-pretentious, but it’s the closest description I can manage. So, prayer journaling would be hard, because almost everything I do is already writ in prayer.



    1. I’m so glad to hear that you feel like you’ve got a tighter connection with God. It totally makes sense to me that He would be ministering to you in very visceral ways during this dark and painful season of your life. And I totally understand that prayer “journaling” would be hard for you. I know how you struggle to do the writing that you do. So there certainly are exceptions to this rule of thumb. I’m praying for you daily, my friend and I’m determined not to stop! Hugs to you and say hello to Barbara for me!


  2. During the times in my life when I have faithfully recorded my prayers, I know I was more intentional in my words toward God. Thanks for this gentle push along with a great rationale.


    1. You are such a voracious reader, Michele, that I can see why prayer journaling might take a backseat, at least in seasons. But if this is a practice that you feel God is drawing you to, then I’m excited for the chance to partner with Him! Thanks for being such a constant source of support to me too, my friend! Have a great rest of the week!


  3. Great job with this Beth! The story hooked me immediately and made me want to learn from your hindsight. Thanks for sharing how this tool serves you well and can do so for others as well. Happy New year friend!


    1. Thank you, Gretchen! Your encouragement means a lot! Happy New Year to you too!


  4. I love your honest posts, Beth! So glad to see this new post in the new year! Sharing on Pinterest and Twitter, friend.


    1. Thank you, Sarah! Honesty has become a way of life for me and my hubby. Our church will tell you that we rarely hold back on sharing about God’s redemption of the ugly in our lives. Thank you so much for always supporting me in sharing! I’ve been kind of distracted lately by some heavy stuff, so I apologize for not being more present at least on Twitter for you.


  5. Beth, I appreciate so much how openly and honestly you share. I’m not exaggerating when I say that my heart actually beats faster as I read through your posts and you get to “the good part” – pointing us to Christ and His Word. It excites me when I see a woman who wields God’s Word in practical ways that impact her life and the lives of those around her.

    Oh, how I love your exhortation here! I can attest to the benefit of prayer journalling in my own life. It has been a life-changing tool.


    1. Aww, your words of encouragement bless me so, Jana! I think we must be two peas in a pod when it comes to wielding God’s word in the wounds and challenges of life! I’m so glad I’m getting to know you a bit better! Thank you for joining the conversation and so glad I have a kindred spirit in the prayer journaling effort! It truly is a game and life changer!


  6. There’s always power in prayer, especially when based on the Word. Sometimes, my deepest, most sincere prayers are made when I’m writing my prayers down. Thanks for sharing, Beth. Blessings to you!


    1. I’m so glad you feel the same way, Boma! It really is such a powerful practice and has brought healing to my heart like nothing else! Blessings to you as well, my friend!


  7. Yep. I’ve been prayer journaling my way through 30 years of marriage! It sure does help me gain a new perspective, a humble heart, and a spirit of humility. I’m sharing this one, for sure!


    1. I don’t know that I’ve been prayer journaling that long, though I’ve been married for 31 years. I probably moved to “prayer” journaling only about 20 years ago. But those have been some very healing years and it always surprises me when I learn that others are not doing it too! Thanks for coming by and encouraging me, Anita! You’re sweet!


  8. Dear Beth, Wow! You locked him out!! I’m glad you are here!

    I have enjoyed writing a diary since I was a kid, on-and-off. It does make a positive difference to my state of mind (my wife is always in favour!). Prayer journalling seems more challenging — bracketing the whole thing in prayer?

    I think #3 would make the whole thing much more challenging — otoh I can see how it would make the exercise more rewarding. I can try this. Write diary as normal but make that an extra daily prayer.

    The fact that my wife knows and tells me that writing my diary does me good means that — of course — when conflict and anger has erupted, writing in my diary is the *last* thing I want to do! So I need to find a way to get round that. Trick myself with one of those Jewish jokes.

    I like your Guide and the Scripture examples you give. Some of those might stop my fury 😀 and start me writing.



    1. Yeah, I can be rather antagonistic when my temper flares! Especially with Gary! 😉

      I’m so glad you journal and do hope you give prayer journaling a try, David. It’s nothing short of amazing in my opinion. I do find value and perspective when I journal. But God takes me deeper when I prayer journal. I see things I would not have seen without His help, comfort and conviction. I’m so glad your wife is seeing these differences in you. And I hope it gets easier when you are angry. Since it has become such a source of comfort and perspective for me, I practically run to it when I’m angry now. And I’m always amazed–so is Gary–when I emerge. It’s like I’m a different person altogether! Thank you for coming by to share and encourage, my friend! Hugs to you!


  9. I believe this is where God is leading me next. Daily time in writing even for a few minutes to pour out my heart to him in writing. I love the idea of adding a scripture to it. Great piece Beth!


    1. I hope so, Brittany! It truly will knock your socks off when you do it consistently and soon after a hurtful encounter. And yes, Scripture just anchors my heart in the truths I need to embrace. Processing out the truths can bring greater clarity too. It’s a total win-win! Thanks for stopping by to encourage me, friend!


  10. Beth, reading your example reminds me of one altercation I had with my hubs when he was helping with the potty training of one our boys. Sometimes we hurt our mates without even realizing it, don’t we? I have kept a journal for years, and, I think also a prayer journal as I read in God’s word. I just never called it that. 🙂 I love your suggestions here for prayer journaling about our marriages. Thanks for sharing your wisdom here!


    1. I figured there would be those who could relate, Jeanne. Marriage is hard enough without the added complication of parenting, especially when we end up acting like spoiled kids ourselves! 😉 Journaling is just so popular these days–well, has been for quite some time–but prayer journaling is not talked about as much. At least from my perspective. So I wanted to make sure people knew of its benefits and powerful encouragement. I’m glad you’ve been prayer journaling and am also grateful for your kind words! Thank you for stopping by and joining the conversation, my friend!


  11. I love this. I am going to try prayer journalling too.


    1. I do hope so, Amy! God has used it in a miraculous way to bring healing to my heart and marriage. I’m sure He will do the same for you!


  12. So good! Love how you share your messes and what God has taught you about overcoming them! Blessings, friend!


    1. Thank you, Liz! I think we are kindred spirits in that way–sharing our messes and how God has redeemed the hurt in our lives, my friend! You’ve encouraged me both here and through your FB comment the other day! Hugs to you!


  13. Thank you for an open and honest post. I journal and sometimes include prayers. Thanks for encouraging me today.


    1. You’re more than welcome, Linda! I do hope this encourages you to do more prayer journaling. Blessings to you, my friend!


  14. Beth, hi! I don’t think I want to know where I’d be without journaling my conversations with God. It was a needed lifeline in a dark season … and after easing off for awhile, I’m again finding Him to be a faithful listener and responder as I lay out my thoughts, feelings, agendas, and angst in black and white.

    There are few days that I don’t feel heard. My soul is tended to. I hear His voice whispering in response more often than not if I make the choice to sit still and not run off.

    And unpacking with Him frees me up to be more of a loving person to those in my life.



    1. I’m so glad to know you prayer journal, Linda, though I figured as much! And yes, He certainly is always so faithful and good to listen as we pour out our hurts to Him–allowing Him to tend our souls, as you’ve so eloquently stated it. I’ve had some really hard things to sort through lately (not marriage related, thankfully!) and prayer journaling has provided the insight I’ve sorely needed. It always amazes me how much I miss without coming to the Lord with written prayers in hand. Yes! It truly does empower us to be more loving. I guess that’s because His love flows into our hearts more readily when we spill our hearts out on the page before Him. Thank you for always supporting me here, my friend! Consider yourself hugged!


  15. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us, Beth. Isn’t it amazing how the worst arguments usually begin with something trivial? So glad to read about how you and your hubby found your way through God!


    1. I’m so happy to share it, Laurie! And yes, it is so easy to see how trivial it is in hindsight, especially when we humble our hearts in prayer regarding the conflict. I’m glad too! He has done this for me/us time after time after time! Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation, my friend!


  16. That’s one of the reasons I love prayer journaling so much, Crystal. It represents that oasis and outlet for me to pour my anger, hurt and grief before the Lord, when before this practice, I would stew in my own juices! Obviously, my hubby could tell and I would try to get my “venom” out by hashing it out with him. Not a good practice! As you read above, it clearly caused damage not just in my life but in the lives of my sons. I do hope you try it! It’s my favorite part of each day–coupled with time in God’s word, that is! Thanks for encouraging me, my friend!


  17. Wonderful post, Beth. I have to admit, I laughed, out loud, at your story. The imagery of him tromping around picking up poo and then you locking the door! Classic! But it is sad the kids are often caught in the crossfire of our marriage wars. We’ve done some pretty stupid things in our marriage over the years. And a lot of it was over the silliest things ever.

    I’ve not been journaling as much as I used to. It is such a good way to talk to God, record our thoughts, use His Word as you point out, and look back on. I especially like prayer journaling our anger and conflict…it’s a better release than blowing up to our husband and in front of the kids.


    1. I was hoping some would see the humor of the situation, Karen. It’s something we can laugh about now, but at the time I was not laughing at all! Far from it! I often think that “poo” was more representative of our hearts and attitudes than we would have ever imagined at the time! I’m glad to know that we’re not the only ones mired in stupidity at times! Most of the time, our arguments are over the silliest and most minor of things. Go figure!

      I do hope this serves as a reminder to get back on the prayer journaling bandwagon. Like you’ve said, it’s a much better release than blowing up at our mates. Thanks for stopping by to encourage me, my friend!


  18. Journaling has become a huge part of my daily quiet time. I have always journaled but since learning my word for the year is “receive”, I am finding that this is a habit that will help me to listen and hear from God. Your words from this tweet say it all for me and my current situation: It just seems that when we listen for God to speak, we must accept that He will likely go slower than we want Him to. #waitonGod #slowandsteadylistening

    Thank you for affirming some things that are happening in my own life.


    1. I bet, Mary! Prayer journaling is so much about receiving. I hadn’t really thought of it with that word in mind, but it fits to the “T.” Yes, God 9 times out of 10 goes slower than I ever hope or imagine He will. I guess He knows I need to learn patience and faith, while waiting on His best. But then, the wait often is His best! ha! Thanks for stopping by and always supporting me here, my friend! Blessings to you!


  19. That’s a whole lotta wisdom there 🙂 Thanks for sharing. Linking up through Susan B. Mead today.
    Praying a fruitfulness over your life and ministry.
    ~Sherry Stahl


    1. Thank you, Sherry! You’re kind to say and I’ve just prayed the same for you and your ministry, my friend! Hugs!


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