Prayers on Paper

Today, guest blogger Jennifer shares what she has learned through journaling her prayers. I've been admiring her journal art and I asked her a few questions recently about how she started down this path. My hope is that wherever you are in your spiritual journey...that you can find some inspiration and encouragement in hers.

I am always excited when a new journal page pops up on your Instagram feed...your entries are so colorful and inspiring! Have you always been a journaler?

Thank you so much, Sara! Can I first say that I was so honored to be asked to do this. I have been in love with you, your family, your art and your blog for many years now. I credit you for getting me started to actually *think* about my spiritual journey and be active in it instead of just going through the rote motions of Christianity. Reading your words and looking at your life through pictures has been such an inspiration, I can't even tell you!

OK, back to the interview! Yes! And I've always been a doodler. (I've got the saved college notes to prove it!) I've always loved to put my words down to paper. It helps me because sometimes I get so overwhelmed with the busyness of life; {I suffer from anxiety and can easily get overwhelm.} Journaling forces me to slow down, write out my thoughts and feelings methodically and float back to earth. I guess it calms and centers me. Paired with my bible studies it has been a blessing.

My family has always been expressive and creative, so this journaling thing is second nature. Between myself and my three sisters, we sew, embroider, paint, knit, crochet, are photographers, book-binders, and make jewelry. One sister is actually about to graduate with her art degree. She's a painter is an amazingly talented. I credit my dad who always immersed us in the art culture and cultivated any creative spark we ever had. I've been meaning to take a class on calligraphy and finally think I've found a good one!

Tell me more about what happens when you sit down to write/draw. Do you write out your actual prayers or just pieces of scripture? Are you doing a specific study in the Bible right now?

I've been asked this a lot and I kind of have to think about it because to me, it just happens. I put no pressure on what my journal is supposed to be, look like, say, etc. It just is my thoughts and prayers, in whatever form they come out. 

My journal times take place in the mornings mostly. I make sure to do it when my husband is out the door to work, the dogs have been fed and the washer is going. Things like that can throw me off and get me sidetracked so I have to make sure they're done so I can just be. Then I pour some coffee, put some good music on Pandora (Brooke Fraser and the Civil Wars have been favorites of mine lately.) and go from there.

Right now I'm doing the #SheReadsTruth devotions. We are going through Cindy Beall's Living the Surrendered Life through the YouVersion App. I LOVE doing this with a community of other readers. I can't tell you how much I've been uplifited by clicking on the #shereadstruth hashtag and looking and everyone's journal entries. You see the messages in a totally different light because of someone else's insight. It's great.

I also like to listen to different podcasts and take notes while I'm listening. I have several that I listen to on a regular basis, like FamilyLife Today, Homemakers By Choice with Donna Otto, Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh Demoss, and the Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans. I can't tell you how much good information and wisdom I've gleaned from them. Any insight from them goes in my journal. Any quote that touches my life or the life of those I love will go in my journal as well.

Sometimes I write out my prayers in letter form. I basically write it out as if I'm penning a letter to God. I write the highs and lows of the day before, ask Him to bless the day ahead and confess my sins. (Have I mentioned how much I love the blur function on Instagram?!) It is very private in there. When I'm writing to Him, I am myself in purest form because He already knows me without pretense. I can just be who I am, a flawed sinner in love with God.

How has journaling enriched your spiritual life?

Oh my. I could go on and on about this. But basically it's allowed me be real in my faith, without hesitation or condemnation. My faith is so full of ups and down, doubts and convictions, sadness and joy. And I can put it all in there without worry and without feeling like I will be shamed, because that space is just for me and God. Yes, I share my pictures on Instagram but there's so much more to it than the doodles I show. I've got stuff in there about our burgeoning interest in adoption, about our mission travels to India, about coping with my anxiety. In my journal I've cried out to God to speak to me when I've felt so far away from Him. I've begged for forgiveness. I've praised him and been angry at Him. It runs the gamut of emotions we, as Christians can sometimes go through.

It's easy to look at my pictures and think my faith is perfect and I never have down days, but that would be the biggest lie. Those aren't the pretty doodle pages though. Those are the scrawled out, tear-stained pages that I go back to and read from time to time when I feel like I haven't grown in my faith. It's good to look at them and see that I have grown, even just the tiniest bit. I wish I could share those pages because I don't want anyone thinking that my faith is perfect. That is far from the truth. It can be easy to get lost in that lie when all you see is everyone's best on social media. The truth is I struggle every single day. And I would get lost and drown if it wasn't for my journal to keep me connected to Him.

I know you love pink and all other colorful things! Tell me more about the journals and pens you like to use. Yes! Pink is my favorite! But you're right, I love all things colorful. And monogrammed. ;)

I purchased my journal from Jenni Bick and love it! It is a faux leather pink journal and it is refillable, too, which is awesome! I can't find the exact one, but the Dolce Faux Leather is very similar. I got it in Large and Fuschia (obviously) and had it embossed with my initials (again, obviously.) You can find the refills for it on their site as well.

If you're a reader of my blog, you'd know that I'm a lover of pens, handwriting, hand lettering and typography. Obsessed is more like it. Back in college, a friend introduced me to the wonderful world of Paper Mate's Liquid Expresso pens (in medium point.) I love love love these pens. With a passion. I took all my college notes with them. They're pretty difficult to find in stores for some reason so I always order mine from Amazon.I also use Paper Mate's felt tipped pens, Crayola markers, Crayola colored pencils, watercolors and some other fun stuff. Just go to your favorite office supply store and look around. Just about anything can be used when journaling- stickers, fun tapes, scrapbook paper, etc. Have fun!

Jennifer lives in the great state of Texas with her Southern Hubby and her two fur babies, Jackson and Matty. She's passionate about her faith in God, animal rescue, and a good pair of loafers. She can normally be found in her kitchen, camping with her husband, or behind the lens of her Canon.


Jennifer blogs at and is the owner of Her Southern Charm.


**be sure to check out Jennifer's beautiful jewelry I love it!






Journal Love



I've always loved the feeling of a "fresh" journal...the smooth pages, the crisp binding, and the way the pen glides. I'm normally a very "tech-obsessed" girl. I switched from a paper planner to an electronic one as soon as they came out, and I love the convenience of it. My computer is one of my best friends. However, eventually I found that I really missed writing on REAL paper (I know, I know, not too ec0-friendly, but I just found about 20 brand new composition journals in the dumpster, so I think I'm good for awhile!). Just as I LOVE getting mail that is written out by hand, I also love writing and pouring my heart out to God on the pages of my prayer journal.

In 2001, I read the book Let Prayer Change Your Life by Becky Tirabassi and she turned me onto the idea of journalling my prayers every day. I have found it to be so rewarding and life-changing for many reasons. First, when I write out my prayers, there is a record of what I have asked God for and I can "track" His answers. It's been amazing to watch him answer requests so clearly...and if I hadn't written it down, I would have forgotten and probably taken the credit for it myself! It's also much easier to pray for friends this way...I write down their requests as I get them so I don't forget. Secondly, I am better able to process my feelings about a situation or an emotion that I have having when I take the time to write it out. It takes much longer to write something than just say it or think it helps me to process though things. Many times, God will speak to my heart and reveal things as I am writing them. It's fun to go back and see Him working through things with me. Lastly, I love to write out scripture as I pray. God's word is so powerful...and it's also easier to memorize verses when I write them down (memorization is a discipline I want to work on more....I'd love to hear from people who are doing it as well).

I've had a few different styles of journals...but the one I come back to most often is one that is divided into sections:

  • Praise: I usually work my way through Psalms, doing 2-3 a day and writing verses down that really pop for me that day. Sometimes I will write my own Psalm to God...or write out all of the names I can think of for God.
  • Requests: I pray for a lot of things because I know I have a big God. I pray for myself, Matt, Bella, my family and friends. I like writing it all out once and then just referring back to it...adding things as needed. I go back and highlight the request when God answers.
  • Admitting: This section is always difficult. If I have been neglecting my time with God for awhile, this one takes a long time! I just ask God to show me anything in my heart/life that is not glorifying Him...that He would show me what areas I need to work on. It's interesting to go back through my journals and see certain "themes" of struggles I have...weaknesses, etc. and how I am in desperate need of a Savior!
  • Thanks: I am so blessed and always want to thank God for the abundance in my life. Just writing down that I am thankful for the "little things" in my life like electricity, running water, and food reminds me that there are other people who consider those "big things" and who are struggling right now.
  • Scripture and misc: I use this to write down any "random" scriptures I come across. Not necessarily during my quiet time...but anytime (sermons, quotes from books, etc).

I've never journalled much about daily life in general (i.e. I went here...I did this...etc.). After a few incidents in junior high, I learned not to write too many details down (remember Heth?) :) But I've been thinking about starting up again. Sometimes I feel like my head might just explode if I don't write all my thoughts out and process them. Perhaps I will incorporate it into my prayer journal. I've been completely inspired by these groups that I found on Flickr (thanks Mrs. Pivec!). The pages are so an heirloom to be passed down through generations.

I would love to hear from all you journal junkies out there...prayer journals, life journals, visual journals, homemaking journals...anything at all. What do you love about it? Why did you start? Share the journal love!

Photo credit: Flickr/mills1983


I love incense. I love it's sweet, musky smell filling the room...but more importantly I love the symbolism of the smoke swirling and rising. On it describes incense as:

Figuratively, incense was symbolical of ascending prayer. The multitude were praying while Zacharias offered incense (Luke 1:10, thumiama), and in Revelation 5:8; Revelation 8:3 f., the incense in the heavenly temple is connected and even identified (Revelation 5:8) with "the prayers of the saints."

Watching the smoke rise from my incense is even more powerful when I think of how my prayers ascend to heaven to my heavenly Father. I'm a very visual it helps me to "see" my prayers go up before Him in my mind.

I do understand that incense has been heavily used in eastern and new age religions...but I don't see why they get to claim exclusive rights to it! It's biblical!

A psalm of David ::: Psalm 141.

1 I call to you, LORD, come quickly to me; hear me when I call to you.

2 May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.

The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer ::: Revelation 8

1 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.

3 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God's people, on the golden altar before the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God's people, went up before God from the angel's hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

My favorite scents...nag champa and a great oolong tea incense I got at Gong Fu. My incense holder is from Lotus in the Old Market of Omaha, NE. I love watching the smoke escape from the different cut-outs.