Prayer Journal – Teach Us to Pray

artsyGather your favorite artsy supplies and your creative juices, and let’s make a prayer book or prayer journal. This project can be as simple or as involved as your imagination, creativity and time constraints allow.  If you are a scrapbooker, or painter, or smashbooker,  you may have some supplies or techniques that you want to incorporate into your journal.  The purpose for my little book of prayer is to break down and illustrate the Disciples’ Prayer into bite sized pieces for reflection and meditation.  I’m keeping it simple for now, but may want to embellish down the road as I pray through it in the future.  This would make a fun VBS craft for kids, especially if you had cutouts ready to glue on for quick pages.


I chose to use the tiny composition notebooks (found them 3 for $0.88 at Walmart), but if you like to write out your prayers, you can certainly use a larger one (they are marked down to $0.50 each for back to school sales!!!)  I also have some kiddie scissors, a glue stick, colored pencils, and sharpie markers.

prayer journal

This is the outside of my book.  I thought about keeping it simple and leaving it plain, and focused on the inside first.  Then I found a card that was sent to me a few months ago from a friend, and decided to reuse some of it for my project.    I may continue to embellish the outside later, or I may just choose to leave it as it is…like I said, the sky’s the limit with the project, and will be a personal reflection of the author.


I found this shadow picture through an online search for images on prayer, I traced it, then put it under the first page in my book and traced it again.  I liked it so much, I turned it over and did the right side the same for a cool double image.  I like to imagine it’s me and my husband, or me and a friend, with heads bowed, agreeing in prayer.  (Matthew 18:19,20)

Tip: Because my black sharpie marker bled through the page, I attached the first page to the inside cover of my book, then glued the second image to the page behind it.  I like how sturdy and thick that page feels and decided to do the same with the other pages.

In Luke Chapter 11, Jesus is praying in a certain place, and one of his disciples says to him, “Lord, teach us to pray…”  Some days I feel like that disciple.  How do I address God?  What do I say?  How do I present myself?

Well, here Jesus doesn’t blink, but lays it right out for them, how to pray.

And he said to them, “When you pray, say:

“Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come.

Give us each day our daily bread;

and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation.”

My brother once pointed out that three of us six siblings were named with  “y” in our names.  And we are the three that wore our parents out with asking “why?”  I love it when Jesus explains Himself and His ways.  Matthew’s account of this gives us even more information, first we get instruction on “how not to” pray as well as the  “why not”.  I love this about the Lord…especially in teaching us how to approach our Father.

 Concerning Prayer

Matthew 6:“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

This passage reminds me of the parable in Luke 18 of the Pharisee and the tax collector.  The Pharisee stood in a high place where he could easily be seen, arrogantly looking down his nose on “sinners”, and bragging to God on his own superiority and works of righteousness.  The tax collector in humiliation and shame would not even lift his eyes to heaven, but recognizing his sin and need for a savior, beat his breast, and begged for mercy.  Jesus said one of those men went home justified.  Care to guess which one?

Social standing, outward appearance, and eloquent words do not move God to justify man.  He isn’t looking at the outward stature of a man, but at the inward posture of the heart.  He isn’t impressed with our performance, and He isn’t looking for many words, but humility in spirit, and genuine words of sincerity.  Before I pray, I need to empty myself of my self, lay my heart out bare before myself and Him, and ask Him to teach me to pray as He taught His first disciples.

His Prayer For Us – (Part 1)

John chapter 17 is a record of Jesus’ prayer for us.  He has already taught his disciples how they ought to pray, and here he is, walking the walk, showing us what it looks like.  This passage is packed, so to try to do it justice, it will be separated into three separate posts.  We’ll start with the first three verses, and work our way through as we go.

After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you,  since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.  And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

I’ve heard it said that a text without context is a pretext.  Because this passage begins with “After Jesus had spoken these words”, I think it’s important to go back to the previous chapter to see what He said that preceded this prayer.  This is for the purpose of developing context…

Well, John chapter 16 also begins with a similar statement “I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling…”

What things?  Turn back to John 15….in fact…keep going…back to chapter 13.  I see this as the beginning of the context for chapter 17 to make the best sense.  (Really, the whole book of John starting with chapter one would be the best context.   I feel like Inigo Montoya from the Princess Bride “Let me ‘splain…no, takes too long…let me sum up”)

So, to sum up:

John 13 — Jesus, before breaking bread at the Last Supper, washes His disciples’ feet, and begins briefing them on things to come, starting with His betrayal, and ending with the foretelling of Peter’s denial.  In between though, there is this little passage, prefaced by talk of “being glorified”, and “glorifying the Father”.  Here Jesus lovingly prepares his “little children” for his departure, and gives them a “new commandment”; to prove to the world that they are his followers, they are commanded to love one another.

John 14 — after warning of his betrayal, Jesus prepares His disciples for his departure to a place where they couldn’t follow yet, then foretells of Peter’s denial.  Jesus tells the disciples to not let their hearts be troubled, and encourages them with thoughts of heaven, saying that they already know the way to where He’s going.   Thomas and Phillip don’t get it  (bless their hearts…I’m so glad they had the courage to ask…aren’t you?),  and Jesus explains that He is the way, and the truth and the life, and claims to be one with the Father and talks some more about “glorifying the Father”.  He gives more instructions about love (this time it’s not about loving one another, but about how we prove that we love Him…as He shows that He loves the father by obedience to His commands), promises the disciples a coming “Helper”, “Advocate”, and “Teacher”, and gives a little blessing on peace.

John 15 — As they walk and talk, Jesus uses a vine and branches to teach us (the branches) what abiding in Him, (The Vine) looks like.  Here we get a mini-lesson on vine husbandry…removing dead branches, and pruning productive ones so that they will produce more.  We also get more instruction on “glorifying God”, obedience, joy, and what love looks like.  The end of this chapter is a contrast between God and the world.  If we love God, and follow Him, it will cause the world to hate us.  He comforts us with the knowledge that we aren’t greater than our master, and the world hated him first…and He reminds them that the Advocate will be with them, and they are to testify on behalf of the Spirit, as the Spirit testifies of Him.

John 16 — Back to “these things” that Jesus told them to keep them from stumbling:  I believe He was talking about all the things he had told them in the previous chapters…the things that we summed up by looking back to chapters 13-15 (or the whole of the book of John, if you’ve decided to do it right).  His words of encouragement, comfort, and warning will keep them from stumbling when they are thrown out of the synagogue, or when those who truly believe they are following God will kill them.  He reminds them that the reason He is telling them now, is so that they remember His words when these persecutions occur, because He will not be present to remind them.  He gives more instruction on the coming presence of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate and the work He will accomplish, before He bewilders the still clueless disciples with more talk of their coming sorrow and pain at His departure, but offers them peace because even though in the world they will face persecution, He reminds them that He has overcome the world.

So…that is the “summing up” of chapters 13-16 to set the context for Jesus’ prayer for His disciples in  chapter 17.

After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father…” — We’ve already developed context to what we are about to learn…now, we see Him look up to heaven, and address His Father…just like He taught the disciples to do when they pray.  (“Say, “our Father, who is in heaven...”)

the hour has come; – what hour?  This one…the one that Jesus, has been warning the disciples, and preparing them for is here.  He knows at this point that the time of his suffering and death is close at hand, and recognizes it in prayer to His Father.  There is something about verbalizing knowledge that brings clarity and acceptance to a situation.  We can “know” something in an abstract way, but when we can verbalize it, it becomes concrete and real.  I see that here.

glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, — Here it is.  The first request in Jesus’ prayer is that He will be glorified, so that He may bring glory to the Father.

since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. — Recognizing that He has authority over all people given to Him, He prays to give eternal life to all who are given to Him by the Father.

And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. —  Jesus defines his term, “eternal life”.  I don’t know if it’s proper exegesis here, but I like to think He wasn’t just talking about life everlasting with Him in heaven, but also for the abundant life that He said in John 10:10 He came to give us while we are here on earth.

I’ve read and studied this passage too many times to remember and count, but until beginning this study, I  had never noticed that Jesus refers to Himself in the third person in the first three verses, and then switches to the first person for the remainder of His prayer.  Maybe it’s just me, but while reading this passage over numerous times, and meditating on it after I shut off the computer and close my eyes, it’s plain as day, and hard for a grammar nerd to easily dismiss.  I keep thinking about the past four chapters where Jesus has talked about sending the Holy Spirit who will testify of Him, and wonder if there is a connection to Jesus’ referral to Himself in the third person.  Could this be our first glimpse of the Holy Spirit doing just that…testifying of Him?  Are we witnessing a Holy Trinity Conference of sorts, where Jesus, who is in God, and God in Him…with the Spirit bearing witness of Him and His work, all praying together?  I don’t know, but I do find it fascinating…and very thought provoking.

Here are links to commentaries on these verses, in case you are interested:

John Rittenbaugh from Forerunner commentary on John 17:3

Ray Stedman on The Longest Prayer

Make My Life a Prayer — Text Reference

John Chapter 17:

After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you,  since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.  And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do.  So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.  “I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.  Now they know that everything you have given me is from you;  for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours.  10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.

12 While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled.  13 But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves.  14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.  15 I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.  16 They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.  18 As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.  19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.

20 “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word,  21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one,  23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.  24 Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.  25 “Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”


Luke Chapter 11:1-9

He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name.
    Your kingdom come.
    Give us each day our daily bread.
    And forgive us our sins,
        for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
    And do not bring us to the time of trial.”

Perseverance in Prayer

And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.

“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”


Luke 18:1-8

And he told them a parable, to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor regarded man; and there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Vindicate me against my adversary.’ For a while he refused; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will vindicate her, or she will wear me out by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?”


Matthew chapter 6:5-15

Concerning Prayer

“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.[b]

“When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“Pray then in this way:

Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name.
10     Your kingdom come.
    Your will be done,
        on earth as it is in heaven.
11     Give us this day our daily bread.[c]
12     And forgive us our debts,
        as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13     And do not bring us to the time of trial,[d]
        but rescue us from the evil one.[e]

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; 15 but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Make My Life a Prayer – Introduction

Hello!  Welcome to “Make My Life a Prayer”, my first ever virtual retreat here at New Things.  Pour yourself a tall glass of your favorite beverage and relax with me for a minute…we’ve got a full weekend ahead.

This brainchild of hosting a virtual retreat came out of my own need and desire to unplug, pull away to a quiet place and meet with God.  Since I had a good block of time on my hands with my youngest away for the month, I thought it would be neat to put together a mini-series of articles, links, music, and prayers for ladies to get lost in for a day or two…or three.  I had no idea where the Lord would lead, or the amazing things He was eager to show me while working on the study portions.

I’ll post what I have learned from my personal study of what Ray Stedman calls “the longest prayer”, our Lord’s prayer for us in John chapter 17, as well as the prayer that is called “The Lord’s Prayer” or the “Our Father”.  I will refer to this prayer as  “the Disciples’ Prayer” since it is an account of our Lord teaching His disciples to pray, and has become a model prayer for us, His disciples now.  There is a separate blog post with both texts for your convenience.

I even have a craft project in the works that you can join me in completing, if you like.  I’m compiling a prayer book, composed of some of the “God whispers” I heard while studying through the selected texts.  You can make one too so you’ll have a place to record prayers to memorize, or verses that are special that you wish to memorize or remember, and a list of requests that you may have purposed to pray for.

Bob Hostetler

I picked up two three packs of mini composition notebooks at Walmart for $0.88 so I could share with my nephew and nieces.  These are a good size to pop in a purse or even a pocket to access when I have extra time on my hands or find myself waiting for the next thing.  Other crafty supplies that I am using for my book are scissors, glue stick, sharpie markers and colored pencils.  You can get as fancy as you want to, your own creative mind is the limit.

Keith Green’s “Make My Life a Prayer” has become my heart cry as I study…and I can hear his lyrics echo when I read through the texts I’ve chosen for this series.  It is my own prayer springing from a desire to bring glory to God as Jesus did, and that He would glorify Himself through me while I strive to walk in faith and obey what He asks me to do.

Will you join me in prayer for the Lord to use this weekend to touch lives and draw people to Himself.  Also, read through the links I’ve provided below to stimulate your mind and heart to better understand prayer. If you find one that is part of a series, don’t stop with the one I’ve linked to, click around and read them all…there is some really good stuff that will (hopefully) get you thinking about what prayer is, what it’s for, who it benefits (and how), and ways that we can spur one another on to becoming effective pray-ers.  Finally, please, if you are following along, introduce yourself in the comments and share your insights on prayer and what God has shown you or is saying to you on your own journey.  If you have access to articles and resources on prayer that you’d like to share, by all means, please do.  We are here for one another, and we all have something to contribute.  I would love to see this weekend be one of sweet Christian fellowship that benefits all of us.


  1. Pray
  2. Read
  3. Comment/Share


Let’s get started!!!

What is Prayer? — USCCB article on prayer.

We Pray Because—Check out Saintly Sages’ excellent posts on the reasons we pray.  You will not be disappointed, it is THAT good.

How Not to Pray—ctk blog has an excellent example of how not to pray.

How to Develop a Prayer Life that Transforms

Praying for our husbands — Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ very well done litany of Scriptures to pray God’s will over our husbands.  Really, this guide is so good, you could use it to pray for anyone, but it is specifically applicable to husbands.

Praying for our children  —  This list compiled by Bob Hostetler is a similar format to Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ list above.  There is a month of Scriptures provided for us to pray God’s Word over our kids.