Powerful Prayer Tip


If you are a prayer journaler whether by freehand or structured methods, you are more than likely the creative type.  As such, you may find yourself doodling in your prayer journal like me.  Some doodles may be meaningless, while some may be helpful to your prayer journaling experience.

Over the years I have incorporated some symbols in my structured prayer journal that helps me to quick reference and remember key entries.  In case you wish to add some to your prayer journaling icon library, I am happy to share mine.


structured prayer journal icon key

My Icon Library (in order)

Caution – I typically use this icon when I journal about something that I want to make sure I pay attention to.  I have mostly used this triangular caution sign when making notes in the section for Freedom and Forgiveness.

Urgent – There are times I want to make sure that I mark those entries that I feel are requiring a sense of urgency with an exclamation mark.  The exclamation mark means “must-do” and to make haste!

Happy – For an entry that has brought me much joy, I use a smiley faces.  Whenever I need a little pick-me-up, I just do a quick review of my smiley faces and am reminded of God’s goodness and faithfulness.

Idea/Important – The star quickly helps me to identify entries I want to continue to flesh out and for things I deem are important for one reason or another.

Unwritten Prayer about Sin – If you have read my book, Organizing Your Prayer Closet, and I hope you have, then you will recall the frown-face sin in chapter two that represented a stronghold that I was battling and did not want to name.  The frowny-face guarantees my privacy.  Hopefully, this icon will be rarely used, if ever, I pray.

Favorite/Loved It – These entries are precious to me.  The heart is different than happy.  Happy is more good news, while a heart has a deeper meaning.  Don’t get too caught up on differentiating between these two; just use them however you feel comfortable.

Done/Affirmed –  When I use the checkmark for “done”, that is what it means. Sometimes I just like to see that sign of accomplishment and let the endorphins fly!  It’s one thing to accomplish a regular task, but to accomplish something for God is something to really celebrate and note!

Needs Update/In Progress – I stole this one from the Franklin Planner system.  The elevated dot represents an entry that I am currently working on.  I use this mostly in the compartment for Ears to Hear.  As I go back and review entries, I like to note what things are in progress, as if God needs to see by my elevated dot so He will know I am working on it.  I know it sounds silly, but I like it.  My book is a prayer organizer and my elevated dot helps me to feel more organized.

“Remember” in a Box – There are some key things that happens in my prayer life that I want to make sure stands out.  I draw a box around those specific entries.

Flowered “Scripture Speaks” – One of my favorite things about my structured prayer journal, The Prayer Closet Organizer, which is housed in my book, are the scriptures located with each compartment’s header.  So many times those subtly placed verses are exposed by the Holy Spirit in such a way that it answers my prayer.  When I feel as if God is speaking to me through one of those verses, I draw a flower around it.

If you have any ideas for icons or use some different ones than me, I would love to see and hear about them.  Share them in the comments section below.  Thanks, and happy journaling!


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Award-winning author Gina Duke is a wife, mom and the Director of Women’s Ministry at her local church. With a B.S. in Organizational Leadership, she is able to bring a clear word for authentic Christian living. Through her book, “Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray” (Abingdon Press), she imparts 1 Peter 4:7 with the gift of structured prayer journaling. If you would like to schedule Gina to speak on prayer or host a prayer journaling workshop, click here for more information. You may also follow her on Twitter and Instagram @TheGinaDuke.

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  1. I always love hearing about anything that will enhance my prayers and these ideas are great, Gina. I do keep a prayer journal, but type it and keep it in a hard to find file on my personal computer. So using symbols is a bit more challenging, but I’ve needed something to differentiate certain things I’ve prayed. I’m going to think more about this and contemplate how I can incorporate more “meaning” into my journal. Thanks for the ideas and for linking up back at MM. 🙂

  2. I love this idea, Gina! I have kept a journal but never a prayer journal. How much easier it would be for me to reminder the numerous requests from friends and loved ones and answers received if I did! Thank you for sharing this. I will certainly be referring back to this post.

  3. I do better with a prayer journal. Years ago, it had a format that I developed for myself….then life got busy and it changed…and stopped. I am not a journal keeper by nature. The past five years or so, I just incorporate all of it into the book I take sermon notes in. It started when I bought a new journal to do wedding planning for my daughter’s wedding….I have ribbon swatches taped in it and lists….then I didn’t really use it much after the beginning so I started using it for church…and then I started putting my song writing into it….and well….you get the picture. I figured that I may as well, let it be a record of what was going on with me…..just in case any kids or grandkids stumble onto it in the future, they can have a context of what I was learning, etc.

    I don’t have an “organized” symbol system, but I do have one that I intuitively use…I mean, that I didn’t think of it beforehand, but just do what I want….and after many, many years of using them for sermon notes and other things along the way, in the past five years or so, have been more consistent.

    good words….

  4. Thanks Gina for sharing the way you keep praying as an import part of your Christian journey. We both know the power of prayer and by keeping it as a top priority, we grow more Christ-like.

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