The value of the prayer journal is, perhaps, two-fold: writing things down may help me to get my thoughts into focus, and keeping a record of how my relationship with the Lord is progressing can be a very useful reminder as time goes on.
"We are all eager to catch the Lord’s word. We want to know what he is saying to us. Very often, as we continue to pursue his will, we forget what he has already said. If we are faithful to journaling, we’ll have the record we need. I get the impression God doesn’t say everything at once. Probably to keep us seeking him, he will give us his word a bit at a time. If we don’t keep a record of it, we are liable to forget it."
It is useful, I find, in writing in my journal, to address God in the first person. I write directly to him, to the Father. That way, it keeps me in prayer, keeps me communicating with him.
Over the past few years, I have been reasonably faithful to the practice of keeping a journal. There were a couple of extended periods, however, when I just let it go and didn’t bother. I have lived to regret it. I have looked back on those unrecorded times and wondered again and again what was happening in my life. I can’t remember. I’ve lost it.
In order to make journaling most effective, I have to do a regular review. Every couple of months serves to keep me up to date.
A journal well kept will be like a folio of personal correspondence with the Lord. Keeping such a record can be a very valuable help to anyone who wants to grow into a closer union with him.