The Importance of Having a Devotion Journal (And How I Created My Own)

Originally published Monday, 30 January 2012.

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been sharing some resources and inspiration to encourage some of you who read my blog to make daily time spent with the Lord and his word a priority.

First, I talked about why I think making time for the Lord is the most important resolution we can make. I shared about my goals for the year regarding my Bible reading plan and my fondness for the reading plan that I used last year.

Then I shared reviews of the study Bibles that get the most use in my house, and some tips for choosing a study Bible of your own.

Now we're rounding the bend...

Because once you have a plan for reading your Bible in place and whatever Bible you want to use, the next most important item in my experience for getting the most out of my daily time with the Lord is having a devotion journal.

That's the place where I can take notes on what I'm reading, record prayer requests and answers, journal out my day and keep track of anything else that comes to mind while I'm sitting at the Lord's feet.

While I've used the same Bible study for almost a decade, that has not been the case with the devotion journal I've used, as it's taken on a myriad of incarnations. (I wrote more about a bunch of my past attempts here.)

But I think I've finally found one that really works for me. One that takes the best of all the worlds of all the different kinds of tried—from notebooks to binders—and melds them into one.

It's a devotion journal that I made myself, and no doubt that it shows that it's obviously handmade.

But I love the versatility of it, that I can switch pages around and group them together as I wish, like a binder. But I can also lay it flat and write on the backs of pages smoothly like a spiralbound notebook.

Those little things probably sound ridiculously picky. But they were significant enough that they would affect how much I'd make use of it. And since I want to really know the Scriptures, I've decided that if I’m going to be picky about something, I want it to be about something as important as this.

Which is why I got the inspiration to blend the best of both worlds and build my own devotion journal, which you can add pages to, divide up easy as pie, and scribble flatly on both sides of the paper. Oh, joy.

Here’s how I created my own.

You’ll need:

  • 2 pieces of sturdy cardboard or plastic to use for the cover (consider repurposing cereal cut to size)
  • Hole punch
  • 3 binding rings (find in an office-supply store, near the paperclips or online here)
  • Filler paper, with 3-holes punched along the side
  • Dividers or tabs

Get started:

1. Cut cardboard roughly larger than an 8.5x11 piece of paper. The cardboard pieces will serve as the front and back cover for the journal, so if you want to decorate them, you should probably do that first. Once you’re ready, punch 3 holes along the left side of both pieces, using a piece of the filler paper as your guide to space the holes apart.

2. Open one binding ring and thread the back cover onto it so that the inside of the cover is facing up. Then thread a handful of paper on top of that. Finally, add the top cover, and close the binding ring. Repeat with the two other rings, threading them through one hole at a time. This is the most basic form of the journal.

3. If you want to divide the journal into sections (such as into prayers, reflective journaling, what you’re reading in the Bible, sermon notes, etc.), determine roughly how many pages you want to allot to each section and slide a divider in. (If you want some ideas for the different sections to include, you can read my previous post about when I created my prayer binder. I am using the same kind of section system here.)

When you finish a section or the paper gets too bulky, you can easily transfer the older sheets into a permanent binder if you want to hold on to them for future reference.

4. You’re done! Now go on and journal to your heart’s content, with a handcrafted journal that combines the best of both worlds.

Carmen writes the blog, Life Blessons, which provides an intimate look into her life as a twentysomething woman as she details her experiences learning how to live out her faith, enjoy the simple things in life and be the woman God created to her to be. Along the way, she shares the blessings and lessons that are a part of this journey, the things she likes to call her "blessons."

Feel free to read more at her blog, Life Blessons.

Related Posts from Life Blessons
Embracing What My Prayer Time Looks Like in Different Seasons
How a 3-ring binder has changed the way I pray