Spiritual Practice

Devotional Journaling

Ciona Rouse

In high school I started waking up early in the morning to do my daily devotions before school. The Upper Room had just begun publishing devozine, so I started each day by grabbing my devozine, my green journal, and a pen and then running about a half-mile to my church’s garden. There I would sit—just God and me—and sort through my life in prayer and devotion . . . and journaling.

Ciona dz_MG_5858There are many approaches to devotional journaling. This is how I journaled in the garden with my devozine:

  • First, I read any scriptures highlighted in the devo for that day.
  • Then I read the meditation and listened for a key point that really stood out to me.
  • Next, I would write in my journal a sentence about the key point, which would serve as my “take-away” from the day’s devo.
  • If the day’s topic really spoke to me, I would spend some time writing about what I learned from the day’s meditation and scripture—just a few short paragraphs describing how I related to the writer or naming a few things I’d like to change or do differently as a result of reading the devo.


These morning devotions were formative moments in my life. During this time, I stopped relying on my parents’ faith stories and started to develop one of my own. I began to learn how to communicate with God and to develop spiritual disciplines on my own, which prepared me for the time when I would no longer have my Sunday school class or my youth group to hold me accountable.

I am so grateful that during this time I have a record of my thoughts and prayers as I journeyed through devozine in the garden each morning.

Ciona hugs journal IMG_4326edOther ideas for devotional journaling:

> After reading the scripture and meditation, write a prayer in your journal in response to what you read.

> At the end of each weekly theme in devozine, write your own mini-devo in response to the meditations in that theme.

> Occasionally, commit to be or do or try something new as a result of the time you have spent with God and with devozine. Then spend the next week journaling about your new commitment.


For more journaling ideas, check out Ciona’s article “My Journal, My Friend.”


Ciona Rouse writes and journals in Nashville, Tennessee.

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