Each button has a link to a helpful resource. I use all the formats at various times end even combine them.
1. SPIRITUAL CIRCLE JOURNALING
This kind of journaling is done with bullet points in designated prayer areas/prayer circles. These areas run through all the other formats, so we must cover it first. The CIRCLE KEY describes in detail the JOURNALING PROMPTS.
With 4 talking circles and 5 listening/noticing circles, there is not a blank, intimidating, white page to fill up. In the "on-the-go" version there is 8 circles and then a space at the bottom for the 9th area (Lesson Learned).
Many people use the the BLANK WHITE PAGES above the circles (or between circle journal spreads in the "on-the-go" version) for journaling overflow, sermon notes, rewriting a passage of scripture and digging into it, jotting down study notes or favorite sentences/quotes, and for doodling and getting creative. Some never use that space at all.
You can use colored pens and highlighters or just use a plain black pen. Some like to jazz things up with stickers or washi tape. Whatever works for you and makes this spiritual practice fun!
The format, with the same placement of prayer areas, makes for faster journaling and the ability to jump in and out of circles if you are ADD. If you get interrupted, and have to step away, just jump right back into any circle. The format also helps you see repeated messages, connect the dots of what God is doing, focuses your time with God, and leads to a more meaningful and fruitful quiet time.
2. LONGHAND JOURNALING
This kind of journaling is written much like a letter. It is wonderful and is something people often do at a retreat when there is more time to sink deep with God. People often say they use longhand journaling when they have a big decision to make and are seeking God fervently for guidance.
The letters with circles around them are only there only for teaching purposes. It visually illustrates how we flow in and out of the 9 prayer areas in no particular order while journaling, just as a conversation with a friend flows.
Writers tend to like this way of journaling and don't mind the blank white page. Non-writers like the idea of journaling, but dislike how long it takes, and thus often avoid longhand journaling even though they love its benefits.
Dear God, I need your help with this big decision. You have always helped guide my path. I am afraid my wants might be getting in the way of your will. Can you please clearly direct my next steps?.....
3. SIDEBAR JOURNALING
This kind of journaling is done in the margins of your Bible, devotional, or Bible Study and the 9 prayer areas are written with the code circled next to it.
You may already be a margin journaler and not even know it! When you move beyond just answering a question like a student, with the correct answer, and move into life application and pouring out your heart to Jesus, that moves it into the spiritual practice of journaling.
The INSPIRE Bible by Tyndale is a great one for coloring scripture in the margins. The memorable image of the verse in color and big print makes it so much easier for visual learners to retain the wisdom and hide that scripture in their hearts.
The devotional featured in my sample is from "The Devotional for Women" by Rhonda Harrington Kelley and Dorothy Kelley Patterson. This 365-day resource is short, but packs a powerful punch! I am never disappointed. It is my go-to on days I don't have as much time to spend with God. But it may be out of print.
For a link to one of my favorite, beautiful devotionals by artist and author Ruth Chou Simons, that has space for margin journaling, click the resource below. Those who love gorgeous images alongside wise words and scripture will love this book!
4. SPIRITUAL ART JOURNALING
This kind of journaling is done with a verse, pictures, words, stickers, markers, paints, colored pencils, washi tape, and clipped pictures. The images have significance that solidify the message and helps us remember and retain the learning just by having the visual come to mind. If you have a magazine and can clip an image, you can do this kind of journaling.
Any blank white paper works, just make sure it is thicker so things don't bleed through. Gluing two pieces of paper with a glue stick in your journal works too. This image is one of my custom covers and that page is heavy stock for this reason. Search "spiritual art journaling images" or "Bible journaling" online for tons of inspiration.
Give it a try just once! Get together with a friend or mentor and share your art. Talk through what it means to you. There is another layer of processing that happens when we speak something out loud to a caring and wise Christian friend. God may use them to speak words of wisdom or counsel.
EX: The washboard represents things being hard. Blessings can still be found even if we are walking through a valley. The marbles are the good things (although they might be small) we can find in each day if we look for them. The fog in the valley can make the path feel dark, unknown, and scary, but we must keep walking forward. We will be OK with Jesus beside us. God doesn't want us to worry, but to lean on Him in the dark. He will make everything beautiful in its time.
BONUS: TOPICAL JOURNALING
This kind of journaling is done with fun craft supplies too, but it is more simple in nature because it's just a pretty list of important things around a topic, scripture passage, teaching, or sermon vs. overly personal content like the previous example.
It makes it easy to go back and read those main points when you need them. The repetition of writing it again drives the key messages home. I use the white blank page above the circles in my Spiritual Circle Journal for times I want to do this kind of journaling.
EX: This is a list of things learned during a mentoring session to help overcome worry. When afraid, or if worry tries to grip me, I go back and reread this topical page and it helps so much.