prayerscapes - creative journeys in worship and prayer

creative prayer journeys

Our creative blog, words, music, films and imagery are to serve you...our heart is to bring hope into suffering, light into dark places, and inspiration to release God's love like a wave of restoration into a broken world.

Neil and Julie

Neil & Julie

How To Hear From God

Dramatic sSunset in mountains

We all need vision. We all need to be able to look forwards and feel hope arise in our hearts. So if you are in a place where your vision has faded a little, where you are not sure of the next steps, or if you are finding it hard to look forward with certainty and hope, I stand alongside you today and seek to help you in bringing about change and renewal. Life is multifaceted, it is complex! We live in the beauty of God’s intention for us but also the fall of the world. For some of us, we are seeking God for a specific area of our lives but for others there may be a significant reason for a general loss of vision. This can occur for many different reasons such as illness, grief, disappointment, hurt, conflict, confusion and doubt. These are all vision suppressors. So how do we pray to God at these times? How can we move to a place where there is revelation, renewal and change? I thought I would share with you a three-step creative exercise that I find useful in these times. Hopefully this will help you to hear from God for your life as well.

1. Firstly, it’s important to be really honest before God. Come to him just as you are, you need not pretend to be anything. Find a time where you can be self-aware and God-aware, a peaceful moment in the home, a long walk or a drive in the car. Be truthful and admit to yourself and your heavenly Father how you feel! Talk to Him about the areas of your life you need new vision in.  Allow the Holy Spirit to help you unpack your feelings, your uncertainties, and your options. Take your time, be gentle and kind to yourself. It might be a while before you can search out what you are really facing or asking for direction in. One helpful way to record these feelings is to draw out a big question mark, then write how you feel, your confusion, the possible different pathways or just the words ”I need to hear you!” on the inside. This helps to frame our reality not in stone but as a question. I find this opens the door to the possibility of revelation and of change, and new vision.

2. The second thing to do is to draw a dream cloud, then write or draw in there a picture of where you hope your life could be. God works with us and through us, not despite of us or by force. We are taught to pray Abba Father, and like any dad would, God wants us to dream! However, also like any father would, he wants our dreams to move, evolve and change, so that they come alive with His kingdom heart. He wants our dreams to be real and achievable, so that we find contentment and peace. Sometimes we hold onto an ideal in our minds and will not let go! We allow ourselves to compare our lives to a dream ideal, always falling short. It’s only human to measure our lives in this way. However, we are taught by Jesus “do not worry about tomorrow”(Matthew 6:34). We are taught to take each day as it comes. The truth is God can give us vision wherever we are, whatever the landscape looks like, whatever the time or season is in our lives, and whatever obstacles lie before us.

3. Lastly, write in multi-colour! You have a chance to dream afresh at this moment in your life, so lay out your question mark, and your dream cloud. Now take some coloured pens, pencils or paint and get ready to put down afresh your Fathers’ insights! In this moment listen to your heart and thank God for your life! Listen to the sounds around you and thank God for the place you are in today. Now dwell upon all that you hold, every aspect of your life and commit these things to God. The truth is that our dreams are the vehicle for God’s dreams! So, begin to write in colour this time for your hopes in work, in relationships, in finances, in leisure time and in ministry. For those who have been robbed of vision by a life storm this might be hard, so just begin by writing in colour one thing that might be a small hope for tomorrow, even if it’s just a nap! Or maybe it’s just a moment to relax, watch telly, a hug, or a new novel to enjoy. It’s OK to both start small and it’s also OK to go big! Get a promotion, fall in love, feel well! Now ask God what he would want for you……sense his peace, let yourself see what God sees. See your life illuminated by hope and possibility!

I must confess, I’ve not always been able to do this when in a dark place. Just wait it out…. give yourself grace…. then the moment you feel things clear a little have a go at waiting on God in this way. We are children of the living God. He will lead us through our lives and through death into new life so don’t allow vision to leave you for too long. Come as you are to the Creator of the universe and ask for renewal. I often pray ahead and ask that when I am near to the end of my earthly life, that I would be given a vision for my life in heaven. I imagine there will be all kinds of new colours to paint and new instruments to hear, and so many wonderful things to turn my hand to!

So to sum up, try these three steps out. Begin by being honest with God and try writing a question mark and making a note of how you feel and anything that you find confusing at the moment. Then draw a dream cloud and write in it what you are dreaming for. Finally, change your pen and write around this cloud in multi-colour the different things that you are hoping for.

Do feel free to comment below on your experiences on hearing from God. We would love to read them and for you to share them with this community here. Don’t forget to subscribe to us if you haven’t yet, and until next time, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

The Serenity Prayer Meaning

The Serenity Prayer

This week we’re going to be looking at one of the most famous and inspiring prayers of the 20th Century – “The Serenity Prayer”, and I’m going to be exploring what the full version of this prayer means and how we can use it in our lives. Often known by its first line “God grant me the serenity”, this inspirational writing has guided so many on their journey towards drinking in the peace of Christ. In an age full of self-help, mindfulness and searching for inner peace, these words carry a message that has resonated with many, particularly those who are caught in addictions or who are in a difficult place in life , especially through the work of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). There are of course some very practical ways to feel at peace. For example, the tranquility of a restful day, the practice of meditation, the comfort of a massage, aromatherapy or exercise, or the wisdom of self-care. Yet this prayer poem highlights the gift of peace given to us by the Holy Spirit. And this is a special peace that is only found in Him.

  • To begin with, let’s think about the meaning of first words “Grant me”. God is the source, the very beginning of peace and the giver of peace. This peace is granted to us by the sacrifice, death and resurrection of Jesus. So the words “Grant me” preface the other lines here, “grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change”! I see it as the “wall of the fall”, for we are all fallen, and this causes a huge barrier in our lives. I can’t change my age, I can’t change my family set up, I can’t change my physical body, my humanity, my humanness! But God can grant us the serenity we need to handle these things. This is an endless process of confession to God of the feelings around this “wall of the fall”, and an endless outpouring of the Holy Spirit who brings love, peace, joy and hope into our souls!
  • Secondly, we find that the third line also has the prefix of “grant me” the courage to change the things I can! The Holy Spirit gives us the “keys of change and renewal”. I can change, how I feel about my age…. I can change my family relationships and dynamics…I can change my feelings about my physical body and care for it well and I can change my human responses. How? By constantly walking with Jesus, allowing the Holy Spirit to lead, to renew and to restore. And then “grant me” the wisdom to know the difference between those things I can’t change and those that I can! This is also a gift of the Spirit. It’s about stepping in time with the Spirit and being prompted by the Spirit to pray. Sometimes we can start accepting things that God would want us to change, and other times we can seek change in an area that requires deep acceptance. In an ever-changing confusing world, it is often hard to see these things, which is why we need the Holy Spirit to guide us.
  • Thirdly, let’s focus on that word “time”, living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time. This line carries an important meaning for us in an age of career ambitions and achievements and with increasing leisure time and medical science extending life expectancy. Look for a moment at your watch or clock and just watch those hands turn. Allow God to highlight your time concerns. “Grant me” is the gift we receive so that we are really pausing, really resting, really allowing peace to reign! We rest in the timeless connection to heaven. It is only by connecting with eternity that we master time rather than being overwhelmed with “saving time”, “holding back time”, making sure that I’m “not wasting time”! You see as children of the living God we have an eternal purpose, a destiny and a home where time is not relevant…. only the present which continues…. so again, the words prefacing this prayer “grant me” leads us to receive the ability to live with “time”. it’s a gift!
  • And finally, Jesus came to earth and walked here. God Incarnate through the rubbish of anger, hate, bloodshed, abuse, robbery, sickness and pain. Yet he had the “wonder of heaven” in his heart! How did he endure the pain, the shame, the suffering? Was it not the knowledge of eternity that he carried, knowing the love of the Father and the presence of this divine love in His life? This is what carried him onwards! And so again the words “Grant me”, suggest we will need help from the Holy Spirit to accept hardships as the pathway to peace, taking as he did this sinful world as it is, not as we would have it and trusting that he will make all things right. So again, “Grant me”, “the love I need to walk through the rubbish”. What we need is the love of the Father, His divine gift of love and vision. It is imparted to us through the Holy Spirit into our very souls, so that we might be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with him forever and ever in the next.

When we call out deep within for God’s help with these four areas of the serenity prayer, the Holy Spirit living within us will be our help! It is a moment by moment prayer, powerful in every way because we are not alone, Jesus is with us by the power of his Holy Spirit. That is good news!

We have a short meditation on the Serenity prayer which you can watch below. Do subscribe to Prayerscapes if you are enjoying these reflections on prayer, and until next time, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

The Serenity Prayer (full version)

(attributed to Reinhold Neibuhr)

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;

Enjoying one moment at a time;

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

Taking, as He did, this sinful world

As it is, not as I would have it;

Trusting that He will make all things right

If I surrender to His Will;

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life

And supremely happy with Him

Forever and ever in the next.


How to lead an opening prayer in church

Praying Hands and Bible

Today I’m going to give you three pointers to help you when leading others in prayer. In many ways when leading a meeting it is more about who you are than what you say! This is not just true for meetings but for every time we congregate with others for a shared purpose. Here are some tips for opening a meeting with prayer:

  • God is constant, he is always present by his Holy Spirit, always gracious, always wise, loving and holy. We are the ones that change! It is imperative that we are truly present, that as we open a meeting in prayer, we are not ahead of ourselves focusing on outcomes, or behind ourselves worrying about past concerns. Whether it is a church meeting, a small group gathering, a trustee’s group, a Sunday school or family meeting…… be present. Try to pause, breathe, look around you, take in the moment before praying. This is a new moment to us and to God, be aware of that freshness and allow the presence of God to still your heart.
  • Secondly prepare if you have the time! Bring something creative. It doesn’t matter how small this is. Bringing something physical can really help others to focus on God and engage in the meeting. Visuals are a good idea. For example, it could be as simple as bringing a glass of water, then praying that this meeting would be “full of God’s presence”, that we would come “thirsty for unity”, or that we “would find God refreshing our hearts and minds in this time”.  You might like to wait on God and see if a picture comes to mind, and then describe what you see to help inspire others in prayer. Or you could print out an image ( is a great resource for copyright free images). Sometimes I bring some tranquil instrumental music to play in the background – this can help to still people’s hearts and focus on God. Or if you play an instrument consider leading a short worship song. Other creative options might be to find a poem to read (or ask someone else to read it) that inspires prayer, or even consider giving a short testimony about something God has done in your life recently. This could lead seamlessly into a prayer of thanks for everything that God is doing among us.
  • Thirdly you need to be aware of the qualities of unity and humility. These need to be evident in any prayer before you begin a meeting. God is always present with us by his Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:20), but we need to be open and present to Him. It is always good to practice coming before God ahead of opening a meeting. Come before him to confess any resentment, to admit any insecurities, to lay down your agenda and allow the Holy Spirit to cover and lead you. A people group will follow in the footsteps of their leader. If you have ill feelings that are festering underneath the surface these things may well effect the people you are leading. Sometimes we need to open in prayer in a very honest and real way. Remember that God works through the vulnerable and the weak. Take time out before you lead to come honestly before God and pour out your sins to Him. Come to Him and receive His forgiveness and love.

So here’s a summary of these three thoughts – be present, allow God to still your heart and soul before you pray. Secondly, be prepared. Consider coming with something creative that will inspire people as they pray. And thirdly, be humble. God blesses the humble in spirit, it’s in the Beatitudes! (Matthew 5:5)

The most important thought I want to leave with you is this. Remember that you are unique and your relationship with God is unique. Therefore, what you bring when you open a meeting will be unique. Don’t try to be anybody else! Relax and just be you and let the Holy Spirit move through the unique you that you are. And until next time, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

p.s. If you need written prayers to say when opening a meeting, you may find this page useful.

Praying when Life is Desperate

Pen and ink painting by Julie Palmer of hooded figure

Today I want to ask a tough question. What happens when life throws us a curved ball and we find we can’t cope anymore? How do we find God, how do we connect with him, when life is desperate?

Firstly, if you are in this place my heart goes out to you. I truly believe that our heavenly Father responds directly to the distress of his children, so in an instant God is with you. He will understand by his Holy Spirit that your distress has frozen your responses, he does not need you to pray, but if you find the strength to cry out to him, he longs to listen. It breaks his heart to see you in such trauma, so much so that he has already covered and restored that very hurt, through the death and resurrection of his son Jesus. Always try to remember that God is outside our time frame, he sees the beginning and the end, he sees your future and inheritance in Christ and your place in eternity.

I can think of a few times in my life when I believe God has literally carried me through moments of extreme brokenness and suffering. He has, I believe, at these times held me together and taken all my weight upon himself to carry me. You may ask “how do I know Jesus carried me”?  because I am here writing this today. The Holy Spirit is at work in us, around us and ahead of us so no matter how dark life feels. The Lord of love, truth and hope is with us. I’m going to share with you three times in my life when I know this to have been true.

  • The first was a time of trauma suffered as a child. I did not pray, no one else knew to pray, so I just reacted and responded in a disjointed frozen way which became embedded in my soul.  Yet I can testify that the Holy Spirit led me through many dark times and placed so many people ahead of me that I eventually engaged in counselling and found freedom in my thirties. God uses us all to lead others through such darkness into light. I am so thankful for the faithfulness of those who helped me through this journey.
  • The second time was at the birth of my first child. Things were not going well for me or the baby during the labour and my husband and I were too distressed to pray. The Holy Spirit woke an old friend of mine at that precise time who did not know I was in labour and told her to pray. She prayed that I would have the strength to deliver the baby. I did, and he was OK, much to the surprise of the doctors and nurses.
  • Lastly, I had suffered a complication after childbirth that meant many years of pain, three procedures and one operation. I was anticipating a second operation hoping for healing, when I was prayed for by a gentle elderly lady at a church meeting and was healed instantly. I have had no pain for many years. I give this testimony tentatively as for six years I was prayed for but wasn’t healed. I know many of you will find yourselves in a similar place, but I can see the ways in which God saw me through that dark time. He will carry you, and we are told we should never stop asking for healing, and I trust you will know this hope.

By the grace of God, I pray that all those in a desperate place can feel loved and cared for by God, by friends and family and by their brothers and sisters in Christ. If you do feel alone in your suffering do seek out someone to speak with. Don’t suffer alone, the church is the very hands and feet of Jesus. Seek out the help you need. I thought I would share the following film “Tomorrow came”. It is my song of testimony that I wrote with my husband. There are times when we feel that tomorrow won’t come for us, but as you watch and draw near to God, as you seek out his people, there is new life and everlasting hope for you. I promise.

Thanks for connecting with us today at Prayerscapes. Do you have any encouraging stories of finding God in dark times? If so, please do write them down below. We’d love to hear them. And until next time, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

How to Bless A House

beautiful home

How can I pray for my home? Perhaps you have just moved into a new property and want to give this new chapter of your life to God, or home life is currently very stressful and you would appreciate some ideas on how to pray into this.

Our homes are significant places of sanctuary and shelter, growth and provision! Praying for our homes is not just about the physical bricks, mortar, clay or wood, but about the relationships, peace, comfort, adventure and community that happen within them. I thought I would give you three creative ideas of ways in which I have prayed for the homes I have lived in. Hopefully these might inspire your own prayers:-

  1. Gathering together with friends, family or church community to pray around your new home is a great idea! This is the first and most obvious thing to do – try to do this soon after you have moved in. It might be it’s your first home adventure, a new home brought about by growth or change, or a new season that sparks a change of location or downsizing in later years. You can download a resource sheet on how to hold a house gathering blessing by clicking here. To begin with, ask those who are living in the new home to share their vision for this place. Ask them about their hopes and dreams for it and any concerns or anxieties they or their family may have about the move. The top priority is always to be real and vulnerable.  I suggest if there are number of you then lay a sheet of paper in each room, split into two or three groups and move around the house praying in God’s provision and presence into each room you encounter. The paper can be used to write specific blessings and to note scriptures or pictures that God gives you. It is always lovely to have prayers written down to look back on at later times. Then gather together at the end, share the prayer sheets with the group and pray into anything that has come out of this as you feel led.
  2. The second way of praying is by using oil or water to anoint various parts of the new home. This way of praying is often used when the homeowners are going through a hard situation or time. It could be a neighbourly dispute, trauma in the home, the homeowner experiencing fear or nightmares, or family conflict. A suggestion for this type of prayer is to take some oil and then move around the house praying and making the sign of the cross on the doorways and windows and the entrances and exits. As you enter each room ask the Holy Spirit how you should pray. You could place a visual blessing. For example, stand a picture in the room, or a vase of flowers or a blessing that is written up on the wall, or even written down and stored like a treasure in a secret place. A lovely idea if you are renovating a home is to tuck written blessings and messages of blessing into little places like under floorboards, or to write blessings on the walls beneath wallpaper. You are blessing the fabric of the building and leaving blessings for others to discover in future generations! The truth is that we stand on holy ground as children of the living God. Our homes will be blessed and our boundaries will be protected as we welcome the reign and love of God into these places.
  3. The third way of praying is helpful if your life is quite transient due to studies, jobs, family or finances. Sometimes “home” is in multiple places and we need to carry God’s blessing freely from place to place. I went through times like this as a student. Here it can help to have a “house blessing prayer” that is spoken out, and then placed within each residence, be it a hotel room, digs, lodgings, guest homes or in different countries or locations. Try to develop a routine of carrying this prayer with you and laying it faithfully out as a blessing every time you lay your head down.

So that’s it! There are three ways that you can bless the place that you live – invite others round to share and pray for your new home, take some oil and bless the room and have a prayer written out in a visible place.

It’s great to share these thoughts with you – maybe you have some creative ways of praying for your dwelling? If so, please do leave them in the comments below and share them with the world. If you haven’t already, do take a moment to subscribe to Prayerscapes, and until next time, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

How to pray at night – bedtime prayers

Woman peacefully asleep on bed

Today I’m going to be sharing with you three things that I find really helpful to remember when I pray at bedtime.

Personally, I always try and pray to my Abba Father at night. I guess it evokes that security and protection you can feel as a child drifting off to sleep. I’d like to say that there is routine and consistency in the prayers I pray before bed. However, I have many ways I use depending on how things are for me. So here I’m going to share three different ways that I pray before sleep and you can pick and choose the ones that work for you. Our Abba Father won’t mind!

  • I have found that writing a prayer journal at this time of day can be a great way of connecting with God. I don’t date it like a diary or keep to a page a day! I guess if you are the kind of organised person you might want to do this. I find that as I pray this way, God then leads my heart. Sometimes a scripture or word comes into my mind that releases me, other times I allow God to remind my heart of others who need my prayer. Prayer journals are a lovely way to see the many ways God answers as you look back on them. We have a blog and video that you can watch on how to keep a prayer journals – follow this link to find out more.
  • The second way that I pray at bedtime is by praying as I drift off to sleep. There is a risk here as once the light is off and you snuggle down sleep might overtake you! When I pray this way, I tend to find that my prayers reflect my needs. If I have lots of worries, I won’t get to sleep early anyway. To be honest I think I generally pray this way when I am tired, exhausted or feeling overwhelmed. Much of this time is just spent allowing feelings to surface, asking for God to help in these areas and sometimes a little tear or two falls as well. Remember that in these times releasing your emotions is not a negative thing. It’s healthy for you, and the Holy Spirit will minister to you. He is our comforter! Just remember to keep being completely open to God. Give him your concerns, your hopes, your fears, and your dreams. God hears you and will respond to your prayers.
  • Lastly, for some reason or other I sometimes find I can’t pray. If this is so, I imagine myself falling asleep in God’s hands, curled up safe and secure. He holds all of me, His love enfolds me. This is enough in very broken times. Sometimes when we are feeling down or shameful we feel we can’t possibly connect with God. But this is a lie. God always wants to take time to embrace and love us, regardless of what has happened or how we are feeling.
Parent cradling infant - original artwork in pastels by Julie Palmer
“Held” – download a higher resolution version by clicking here

So in summary, remember these three ideas before bedtime – try keeping a prayer journal, or try starting one, it’s a great way of connecting with our living God. Try just pouring out your heart to God as you drift off to sleep. And if life is especially hard, just remind yourself that you are always in God’s care, regardless of how you feel, or what you have done or not done. God loves you! We might not always be able to talk to God, but God is always there for us.

We also have a short creative prayer video meditation that you can use before going to bed – click here to watch this. Do you have any ways of praying at night that you’d like to share with us? Do write them down below. And until next time, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

How to Receive God’s Peace

Small Boat on a wild sea

This week I’m going to be looking at God’s peace. What is it and how do we receive it?

Peace is as a gift from God; we hear about peace in bible as the ‘Peace that surpasses all understanding’ and as a blessing exchanged by the early Christians as ‘peace be with you’. So, as humans we can rest assured that when our bodies, minds and spirits are feeling disturbed, anxious or fearful, that God can impart peace by his Holy Spirit into our very souls.

I am going to take you through a step by step visualisation process that can be done individually, in pastoral care or within a small group situation.  Peace comes through being real with ourselves. Only when we acknowledge the storm can the Holy Spirit move to calm it.

  • Firstly, find a quiet moment to focus, and imagine yourself in a small boat, quite alone. How do you feel? What is the sea of your life like around you? I find visual pictures helpful. For me at the moment I feel unsteady in my boat. I know I carry underlying tension that makes it hard to relax. Sometimes it only takes just one area of our lives to become rocky for us to feel this way. My boat feels unstable. For me difficulties with my family and relationships are rocking my boat. For you if you feel unsteady it could be health issues, financial worries, loss or grief. Or perhaps it is disappointment or regret?
Little Boat on the sea
“Little Boat” –download a higher resolution version here
  • Staying with this picture, in that still or turbulent sea, place Jesus into your boat. Jesus is by your side. Sitting beside you is the author of life, the creator of heaven and earth, the Holy One, the Redeemer. Journeying with you is the one who loved you so much that he faced a horrific death yet conquered over that darkness and rose to life.  Feel His presence, the love and light He carries and allow Him to lead your thoughts and heart. Where is the still water? This still water might be the care of friends and family, or it might be the blessing of a focus like hobbies, passions and interests. These are Gods’ good gifts! To find peace sometimes we need to allow Jesus to hoist up our sails and to gently lead us into the harbour. In the roughest times we all need help to engage with rest and sleep, a hot bath, a comforting drink, the beauty of flowers or a sunset! I believe that the Holy Spirit works with us in a holistic way. He helps us engage with the gift of peace.
  • Now look at the cargo in the boat. What are you carrying? It could be precious cargo, children perhaps? Or a charitable work? Or perhaps a role or responsibility? Look further, is there any cargo weighing your boat down? Is there anything you don’t need to carry? In my little boat I do see precious cargo – children, passions and callings, roles and responsibilities. However, if I am honest, I see a great big sack of guilt! I’m going to give Jesus this guilt. You see it keeps arriving back in my boat! And as I pass it into the hand of the Lord it becomes lightweight dust. It’s nothing to Jesus! Why? Because he has conquered my guilt! He has paid the price for my mistakes and failings. Is there anything that you need to give him? Fear of the future? Shame from the past? Hurt that feels as fresh as the day you bore the pain? Disappointment that suffocates your aspirations and dreams? Name it and give it to Him. See it turn to dust……
Sailing boat in stormy waters
“Voyage” – download a higher resolution version here
  • Next, what do you need from Jesus to hoist your sails and move into that more peaceful harbour? There is always a harbour, no matter how turbulent our sea, how damaged the boat is or how frightened we feel! Jesus promises us peace in all places and at all times. What is the sail that will carry you? What does the wind of God’s Spirit need to blow on to propel you into that haven of God’s peace? On my sail I see the words “keep trusting in God’s love”. I allow Jesus to lift this sail high and I breathe in those words. For you it might be words of comfort such as “I am with you”, “you are chosen”, or a request such as  “I need you healing touch, release me from this depression”. It could be so many things. Where will your small boat sail to? Where is your harbour? Breathe in the love of God, allow hope to fill your sails.
Boat in still waters
“Harbour” – download a higher resolution version here
  • Lastly, imagine the boat now in the harbour. Create a picture of this in your mind. I cannot promise that you won’t once again feel the storm, the unsteadiness and fear. However, I can testify that the harbour of God’s peace will always be there. If you pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you back into this haven he will. Because God’s love is deeper and wider and more powerful than we could ever fathom or understand no matter how wild the sea around us.    

4 Tips on How to Start a Prayer Journal

journal with ink pen

Today I’m going to be looking at prayer journals. I’ve found them to be an amazing gift in my journey with God, and I wanted to share with you four ideas for them that I have found useful.

I have always prayed in this way, so my home is filled with a variety of journals. I have kept them all as they are quite precious to me. There really is no right or wrong way to begin a prayer journal. How each of us do this will reflect our character, our Christian heritage and the season we are in. If I flick through the journals I kept before having a family they are much more ordered, well set out and creative than say one I kept when my children were young! But whichever is your way, neat and structured or spontaneous and creative, keeping a prayer journal can enrich and change your life on so many levels, so I really encourage you to start one if you haven’t yet.

I have found that writing brings out two differing facets of my soul when I focus on prayer in this way. Firstly, there is room to be very real and vunerable because it’s a private a place. It’s the sacred space between myself and God. It’s also a place where I find wisdom and insight as the Holy Spirit leads me, or as I meditate on scripture or hear Gods voice or vision for a given situation. I’ve found that writing my prayers down can help me to process experiences and sometimes unpack feelings. It can correct a wrong thinking pattern in me or reveal a new way to pray for a given situation.

So today I want to give you four ideas to help you keep your prayer journal with God.

  • The simplest way to begin is to search for a notebook that is personal to you. It may connect with your life circumstances, remind you of your hopes and dreams or have a colour or image that simply draws your attention. Place your journal somewhere where it will remind you to pray. Perhaps by your bedside or favourite chair? That’s really important as it needs to be somewhere you can see it, so you don’t forget to use it!

Just simply open and write the words “Dear God”……then see what pours out….if you are in a good place it might be thanks, or in a worried place an outpouring of thoughts. If you’re in a busy place a petition for help and peace and if a burdened place a prayer for a loved one. Don’t worry, it’s personal, so relax! Then read it back over in your mind or out loud, then simply end with love from ………. I have often signed mine ‘Grace’, it’s not my name but a pet name just between Abba Father and myself!

  • The second suggestion I have is similar but a more varied form of this, for those of us that either like structure or freedom! In your chosen journal you may choose to develop a structure for yourself. A good way to do this is to begin by a meditation on scripture, then thanksgiving and lastly petition. (Petition is a bit of a religious word which simply means something that you are asking God for). Meditating on scripture gives space for God to speak to us. Here’s a great one:-

“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

That’s a simple verse but also very profound. It really helps me to connect with God.  Then, let your heart move to gratitude. Become aware of the good things that are in your life and write some of those down. These could be answers to prayer, or God’s provision in your life, or the love of friends or family. When you are in this place, then this is a good time to pray for needs and things that you are worried about. Remember to write those down as well. If you are the organised type, you could write them in point form. I tend to just keep writing!

  • If you are more of a creative free spirit, try creating a doodle. E.g a mix of drawings, colours, words and scripture which weave together to become your prayer to God in your own unique way.
  • Lastly, I keep a “Dream Book”. This is an idea that came out of a prophetic word given to me many years ago that I would be a dream machine! This is all about my big dreams for other people, they are often BIG prayers, for friends, family, neighbours etc…. these big dreams have often been things like finding love, conceiving a baby, healing from illness, release from debt. I just write these prayers once. I often read back through the prayers. Many have come true and some I still wait in prayer for!

So, those are four prayer journal ideas which you can try out now. Remember to keep your book visible. Try starting “Dear God” and see what pours out. Or perhaps you are a more organised type of person. Then start with scripture meditation, then thanksgiving, and then pray what is on your heart. Or make your prayers into doodles and colours. And lastly, don’t forget to try the “dream machine”. Dream big for those you love and treasure. Do you have some other ways of keeping journals? Do comment below and let us know your ideas.

I trust that wherever you find yourself in life that you will find ways in which to draw close to your Heavenly Father in prayer. Please do try these ways, give yourself grace in it all. At times I have used prayer journals regularly and wholeheartedly but there have been other seasons in my life where entries have been very intermittent and fragile. If you are in a desperate place, always speak out your feelings not only in prayer but to other brothers and sisters who can pray with you.  If that is hard maybe share your prayer journal with someone you feel safe with. May God richly bless you as you come to him. Don’t forget to let us know your comments and thoughts below, and until next time, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

How to Pray for Friends

Julie Palmer on Prayer

Hi, today we’re going to be looking at different creative ways that we can pray for our friends and loved ones. If you know someone at the moment that is going through a difficult time you might find these tips especially useful.

Praying for friends or loved ones is a powerful way of releasing blessing. The spaces between the children of the living God are sacred. No matter how far I am away from my brother physically I am connected to them spiritually. It is important to remember God is outside of this dimension/time frame/distance, he sees the whole of creation from beginning to end. He is the author of love and when we love, we commune with God and breathe out his kingdom of heaven upon the earth. Our prayers are powerful because the Holy Spirit was released into the world when Jesus rose back to life from death. It’s like the Holy Spirit is everywhere…… the same Spirit. It’s mind blowing and world changing! Through him our prayer is everywhere, moving outside us, inside us and through us!  I say this because sometimes we can feel it is a ‘cop out’ to say ’I’ll pray’! So today I am going to give you four ways and suggestions on how we can pray for our loved ones.

  • The first one is to imagine a circle around your friend, a circle of Gods provision and protection. Then pray into that circle light, love and healing, and speak out your specific prayers for them. Name the circumstances/troubles or dreams for their lives. Then imagine that same circle and pray out of the circle, fear, shame, pain, hurt, rejection, disappointment, disillusionment and name and pray out all the specific things that you know are hard for them to hold. (If you find a visual way helpful you can draw a circle then write things in or out of the circle.) Then just entrust these things to God, you may find that the Holy Spirit helps you to discern and intercede for them in new ways as you pray in this way.
  • The second way I call “target prayers”. Begin by taking a blank sheet of paper and writing down the name of each person you are thinking of praying for. Alongside each name just write a word which sums up what you hope for that person. At times it is helpful to distil our prayer in this way, like hitting the centre of a dartboard, all our faith is aimed at one word! You can even go back over these short prayers daily! Even hourly! I find that this way helps if you have many friends or family who are facing hard times, because sometimes we can be overwhelmed by the needs of others around us.  Remember our prayers intertwine with the prayers of others, with the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit and praying something is always better than praying nothing! God is more than able to work through our prayers no matter how simple they are.
  • The third suggestion is one of open blessing. Imagine your friend in your own mind and your heart and allow the Holy Spirit to give you a song! it might be a song that you sing at church, it might be a song that you remember from childhood, it might be a song from a more contemporary setting or if you’re very creative it might be a few words and melody that you spontaneously sing. Sing it softly, sing it loudly and sing it over and over as you think of that person. You may find you change the tense to create a blessing.  For example, “Jesus, be her centre, be her hope, be her song Jesus”. God has put us in relationship for a reason. We are the body of Christ, and the body works in unison! When one part of that body is poorly the other parts of the body shift and change to accommodate, when one limb has a limp the other parts take more weight. When you are hard of hearing your ability to lip read increases.  It is said that it’s impossible for two parts of the body to feel pain at the same time, and in a similar way thinking of others draws our focus from our own pain. Let’s be aware of each other, pray for one another, look after one another. When we pray, God will answer those prayers and there will be this flow of blessing, love, promise and hope between us as we become brothers and sisters united with our Father in heaven.
  • Lastly there are times when our concern and feelings for someone we love are overwhelming. There are no words, we run deep with feeling but dry in how to pray. I suggest you find something that represents that person, allow the Holy Spirit to lead you…a stone from the beach, a favourite toy, an item like a clock or clothing or a photo. Then use this as your prayer. Sit and lift you heart to God and hold out the object that represents that person. God loves to talk with us but understands sometimes there are no words. When my son was going through a hard time, I found I would start to pray but end up just worrying about him. Prayer stirred up a lot of concerns but left me tired and more confused! So a friend recommended another way. I found a stone. I was drawn to it because it was heavy and an awkward shape to hold. Every time I felt overwhelmed with grief or worry I would pick it up, and hold it before God. I would cry at times, and that’s OK too! Sometimes I would kneel, other times I would feel peace immediately as I presented my prayer to God. Silence in prayer allows our hearts to rest, to have peace. We can take our troubles quietly to the foot of the cross and trust in the redeeming power of Christ!

Some final thoughts

Well I hope that these suggestions are helpful. So here’s these four different ways of praying for your friends again – pray a circle prayer by praying in the good stuff and out the bad. Try praying target prayers. Thirdly, sing a blessing song for them and finally try holding a physical representation of prayer before God. The other thing just to mention is how powerful it can be to let others know we are praying. It could be a card, a gift of flowers, a text, or an offer to visit and pray with them. At times I have even recorded prayers and sent them to others, so they can hear that prayer over and over. So, as we care for friends let’s be creative, encircling them not just in spoken prayer but with prayer gifts, prayer songs, prayer pictures, prayer company!  

Thank you so much for all the comments that you’ve been leaving us about our prayer films. We love to read them. Maybe there are ways which you pray for your friends that I haven’t mentioned? If so, do leave them below. And until next time, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

An Inspirational Blessing Prayer

May The Road Rise Up To Meet You

Hi, having spent many years crafting prayers, songs and films for Prayerscapes, it feels like the right time to open up and get closer to those of you who have always responded to our creative offerings. So, in these short films, we will share with you some of our journey, prayer ideas, inspiration and wisdom we have found as we have sought to reveal the love and light of Christ. If you have not yet subscribed to our Youtube channel do take a moment to do so, as there are many more inspirational videos in the pipeline that we would love you to see and experience.

When we wrote and recorded ‘May The Road Rise Up to Meet You’, we could not have imagined the ways in which it would have been received, used and cherished by others. We’ve been overwhelmed by the emails and messages we’ve had about how this song has touched people, whether it be at baby dedications, or marriages, or as a blessing at funeral of a loved one. All this made me think – why has this simple Celtic Blessing been so powerful in effecting so many people?

I think one of the reasons is that proclaiming this blessing over another is a very powerful and releasing thing! We bless others with the authority that Christ gave us as children. Blessings change, they renew, and they create security and sanctuary. In a world filled with comparison, judgement, jealousy, competition, criticism and envy, it is a wonderfully unexpected thing! This simple prayer is such an inspiring blessing which rolls out like a beautiful and holy land, ahead of loved ones, soft grace soil on which to tread.

My husband wrote this little blessing song for me when my second son was a baby. For those of you who have lived through a similar season, you’ll know it’s messy! At the time I was often walking out very early in the morning with a crying baby, so as not to wake the rest of the household! It was just one of those seasons where I felt vulnerable, I felt ashamed to be pacing the streets in the dark mornings, not to have the answers, not to be the perfect family. I often felt myself welling up with tears as I pushed my baby boy around. I just trudged on as we all do sometimes. I remember I did cry as he sang me the song and its words did hold and keep me through that time.

So, if you are in this hard place, through illness, anxiety, grief, trial or loss, I sing this to you…. allow this little song to lay a soft blessing under your feet. And then go ahead of someone else and lay this blessing for them. It will become for them a lullaby, soothing and gracious. It might be that the Holy Spirit leads you to physically be this blessing to soften someone’s walk with service, understanding or generosity. And why not say the blessing in unexpected ways? Say it behind another, soaking your thoughts and feelings for them in love. Receive this blessing, give this blessing, be this blessing, live this blessing!

Thanks for connecting with us today. And as I said earlier, we’ve lots on new videos coming soon, so if you haven’t already, do subscribe at Youtube, and we look forwards to seeing you real soon in our next film!




Discover an extensive collection of short films to inspire prayer. The films feature popular prayers (such as the Lord's Prayer and the Serenity Prayer) and films for specific times and events such as Christmas and Easter.



Prayerscapes produce music for personal and corporate times of prayer, ministry and worship. The soundtracks interweave dramatic readings of scripture and poetry with filmatic musical underscore and song.



A growing collection of over a 100 contemporary prayers covering topics such as healing, comfort in grief and strength. Also with prayers for use with children in school, and opening and closing prayers for services and events such as bible studies.