Recently, I had found my prayer life with God becoming more routine than something truly meaningful like a true conversation that I believe it is. Someone I was talking to recently mentioned they had been prayer journaling since the beginning of the semester and that it had really helped them, so I decided to give it a go. Prayer journaling is when instead of thinking the prayer or saying it out loud you instead write it down. I haven't been doing this each time I pray but I have been trying to make it a habit.
One of my favorite things that I have discovered through prayer journaling is how it slows down my thoughts as I am writing them down. So often through the day, I feel that my head is working faster than I can actually keep up with. When I prayer journal I force my thoughts to become quiet and still while I write them and deposit them onto the blank page. I stay more on task and more on topic when I am writing my prayers, and this also helps keep my mind from wandering away when I am supposed to be in conversation with God.
Prayer journaling has also helped me reflect on how I am doing each day and act as a reminder to look for the growth in my life. I can read back through other pages and reflect on the things that seemed important then but seem so small now. I can pour out my frustrations and things that are causing anxiety and sadness and know that they are heard. Journaling has helped me through a time of lamenting and crying out, knowing that my faith is the constant in my life through everything else around me seems unsteady. The crying out and communication reminds me that my sadness and hurt is not disobedient and that God knows our pain that we are experiencing and shares in that pain with us. The process of crying out and writing out the feelings and thoughts I am having feels like actually laying them down to God. No, my problems aren't just going to disappear as soon as I write them down in a notebook, but it is a reminder to my human brain that because of my faith I have given my problems to God, knowing that He is in control.
I encourage you, if you are struggling in your prayer life, or just looking to try something different, to try prayer journaling. It will feel strange at first, writing down the things you could have just said out loud, but remember it is simply a conversation with God whether it is written or spoken. He hears it all, and He cares so deeply for you.