Prayer: A Private Devotion (+A Free Prayer Journal)

Prayer warrior. Hold that word in your head for a minute and think about what comes to mind.

Likely, someone from your local church came to mind. Someone eloquent. Probably someone who conveys deep empathy and emotion when they speak. Someone bold. Someone willing to speak out loud when others hold back.

That person, the person who came in your mind, they have a gift for public prayer. And it is a gift we all benefit from. However, prayer warriors aren’t the ones boldly proclaiming in front of the entire Body of Christ but often, the ones on the knees in private devotion, unbeknownst to any but their God.

Can we dispel the myth that to be a prayer warrior, you have to be a public speaker? Because it’s simply not true.

There are instructions given for the proclamation of the Gospel, for public encouragement in the Word of God, and there are instructions given on prayer. They are all different instructions.

“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.” -Matthew 6:6, ESV

Prayer is an intimate, private conversation you share with your God. It is not a public display but a quiet moment in humility. Your words, they don’t need to be perfect. You did not need eloquence and you certainly don’t need an audience. Because when it is quiet, your audience of One, the One who knows each hair on your head and moment, unrecognized by anyone else, when your heartbeat it first beat and filled your veins with life-sustaining blood, knows you are there.

He doesn’t need dramatic words because He is the Word. 

Prayer isn’t to acquaint God with what’s happening in our lives, it’s to remind yourself that God is desperately involved in each moment of our existence.

But yet, we do not pray as we ought. My heart is pulled to bringing trivial things before God. I pray for the weather, to avoid awkward situations, to be rewarded for my procrastination with something going smoother than I anticipated. I would, in a weak moment, say this was because God cared about every moment of my life but, if we were sitting on my couch drinking coffee and I was being truly honest, I would confess that it’s simply fear.

Because, at the end of the day, I prefer thinking about the weather over examining my heart and realizing, I need help loving. I would rather pray for someone out there, some “other” in need then recognize my desperate need for the Holy Spirit to help me do the hard work of controlling my sharp tongue.

But even in the moments when my prayers fall short, God is merciful.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. – Romans 8:26-27, ESV

Because when we fall on our knees humbly before God, God Himself prays on our behalf when we don’t know how to pray or pray with the limitations of human perspective. God is wise and merciful. He is too good to allow us to wallow in our human perspective but graces us with intercession through His Holy Spirit on our behalf.

Prayer is important. It matters to God even when, especially when, it is unseen by others.

It is hard for us to see the value in anything unseen but the prophet Daniel recognized the importance of private prayer. He was even willing to risk his life for private prayer. Despite laws, he continued to quietly humble himself, kneeling before the Lord.

He didn’t care what others thought. Daniel went away quietly to pray. When others appeared to have him killed for violating the law against praying to the true God, he continued to quietly pray before the Lord.

He went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God. – Daniel 6:10-11, ESV

Daniel’s private prayer time became public knowledge when he was thrown into a den of lions for his decision to serve God above an earthly king. But God’s deliverance of His privately devoted servant brought such glory to His name. He became known throughout the entire kingdom as the true, living God.

When we fail to see the what God is doing through our prayers, when we wonder if these hidden moments matter, we need to stop and humble our hearts before God. He is working in these hidden moments on our behalf and, even in our failure, He is interceding and praying for us. When we don’t know how to pray, when our words fall short, the Living Word sustains us and carries our prayers.

As we continue this series, I will be sharing some resources and tips for developing a vibrant prayer life. From prayer beads to prayer journals, there are an abundance of ways Christians have developed practices to focus their prayer life. For today, sign-up for The Thin Place email list below and get access to a free, printable prayer journal from The Thin Place Resource Library.




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Leave a Reply

  1. Courtney Buechle says

    This is amazing a such a great thing to remember. I always find myself trying to come up with the right words to pray like somehow that will make a difference on if he hears or not. Your post was exactly what I needed.

  2. Lindsay says

    It is easy to pray about our needs and wants, but God wants so much more from us. The Spirit is nudging me daily to work on my selfish nature. I need to be in prayer more, thank you for the reminder that we can all be prayer warriors.

  3. Tangela says

    I loved reading this! I felt a sense of comfort. I often have a hard time praying. Either I’m not praying enough (as I should) or I feel my words aren’t good enough (for some reason when I pray, I feel like my words are empty). This causes me to push back from praying sometimes. I always hear that prayer is a conversation between myself and God and I get that but oftentimes, it’s hard for me to talk to Him. As an introvert, I find it difficult to express myself verbally. I don’t know maybe I could try writing out my prayers.

  4. Linda says

    Often times we have the best intentions to have a consistent prayer time and then we allow “other” things to take over like feeling we are not good enough at it. This reminder of what being a prayer warrior is all about, a sweet and gentle reminder that Father God just wants to spend quality time with us.

  5. Donna Richard Miller says

    I want to grow stronger in my prayer life! I love praying God’s Word rather than my own weak, short sighted words. Praying Scriptures has helped my prayers to become more powerful and filled with God’s will. Which Scriptures promise that if we pray His will, He will answer! Love your prayer journal resource also! Thank you for creating that for us! Blessings sweet sister! ❤

  6. Kristin Cook says

    Prayer is something I really struggle with. It used to be something that I did ALL THE TIME, but now, I put it off. It’s not that I am anti prayer, or that I don’t want to talk to God, but rather, I just need to get back in the habit.

  7. Angel says

    I love this. Prayer is such an integral part of my life. It’s truly a privilege to be a warrior and intercede for others. I love keeping prayer notes so that I can see how God answered too.

  8. Rebecca rice says

    I still can’t get over how beautiful your pictures always are! This is a great post and I am definitely going to start looking in to enhancing my daily prayer devotions!

  9. Julie Plagens says

    I love that you are talking about prayer. It is a discipline yet when we do it, it is so rewarding. I don’t think people realize how powerful prayer is. It alone has changed the course of my kids lives and mine and my husbands.

  10. EWilber34 says

    Beautiful article! Also, appreciate your free prayer journal templates! I’ve found that with everything, there needs practice! When, I first went to adoration, I couldn’t sit and be quiet and listen! I think sometimes we forget to listen, quiet our heart and mind, to listen and obey! Even, in the midst of the quiet, you learn to hear His voice and He prepares your heart to be sensitive to His heart and needs too and that is when we start to make His desires, our desires of the heart! I’ve kept a prayer journal for my future husband for the last 15 yrs and I learned through praying and journaling that my desired are brought together with His image for me and who I have relationships with, who I need to encourage and support, who I need to separate myself from, etc. listening and learning Christ, as He was my spouse will ultimately teach me to have an intimate and eternal relationship with Jesus.

    • TheThinPlace says

      Shaba, I’m so glad <3 Thank you for taking the time to comment. I hope this encourages your prayer life.

  11. Diane Ferreira says

    This was great!! I love keeping a prayer journal! There was a time a little over a year ago that I started praying for something. A LOT of seemingly bad stuff started happening (or so we thought it was bad at the time) and turns out the outcome of it all was what I had started praying for a few months before. Without that prayer journal to remind me of that, I may have missed what God had been doing through all those tough months! It was absolutely the best thing that could have happened to us and I may have missed exactly what He was putting in place! While I thought things were falling apart, He was really putting lots of pieces together!

    • TheThinPlace says

      It is so crazy how prone to forgetfulness we are! Prayer journals are certainly one way to combat that! Thank you for sharing your story!

  12. Michelle Huddleston says

    I have found that using my journal helps me pray. I also like looking back through them and seeing how God answered them. Sometimes there will be dates written in them when He did answer! Thanks for the encouragement to see the prayer warrior within myself!!

  13. Jen EnochJen E. says

    I love this topic so much! it’s one that I’ve found myself coming back to often over the last year or so. I absolutely agree that the prayer in our quiet space and with our genuine words are what make us warriors. I’ve been reading R.A. Torrey “how to pray” (it’s a small book, but so impactful, that I’m reading and re-reading) it’s helped me to really get a grasp on the importance of prayer. Thanks for sharing encouraging truth.

  14. Sarah Jean says

    Yes! It is my desire to become a prayer warrior this year. Whether in front of others, or – hopefully more often – alone in my home on my knees.

  15. Marya Mesa says

    I’ve been trying to be more intentional about prayer. I like to use the Offices and 5 word prayers because I tend to go flat. I have a set of prayer beads but haven’t really started using them yet.

  16. Di says

    Love that reminder that God is desperately involved in our lives! Prayer is our way to acknowledge His presence in our daily grit.

  17. Jess says

    This was a great article and made me want to dedicate more time to my prayer life and journaling because I know my prayers have been answered before!