This is where I must confess that although journaling has many great benefits to a person's spiritual life and is recommended as a spiritual discipline by so many people ... but, alas, I am not a great "journal-er".
I don't know if it is because of my awful penmanship (thus making it difficult to go back and read much of what I wrote anyway) or if it is the emotional vulnerability and patience that it takes, both of which I am not the greatest at (I mean, I can't believe how slow it is writing by hand!?).
But for many, journaling is a key ingredient and supplement that can help unlock great opportunities in a one's walk with God. Here are some potential benefits of keeping a journal regularly:
A journal can become a diary that reveals to us our spiritual progress and can keep us focused on our goals and convictions, otherwise we can just be aimlessly running our Christian race (c.f. 1 Cor 9:24-27).
Keeping a journal and also give you a mental and emotional jumpstart for your Bible study every morning as you can build on thoughts, themes, convictions, and stirrings from the Spirit that you might otherwise forget or not remember clearly … we all know how fallible our memories are.
A journal becomes a sort keepsake, a way for you to chronicle your own life and walk with God to be able to share with others. Journaling can help in creating and preserving a sort of spiritual heritage, I know many people who have bookshelves full of their own personal journals (again, I am not one of those people).
Journaling can help us in self understanding and evaluation (c.f. Rom 12:3).
It can help us in meditation (a concept and spiritual practice that is completely foreign or misunderstood/misconstrued to most Western Christians).
Keeping a journal can help in the difficult and vulnerable expression of thoughts and feelings to the Lord.
No one will keep a record of their inward groans, fears, sins, experiences, providences and aspirations unless they are convinced of the value of the practice for his or her own spiritual progress. It was this very conviction which made it a common place practice in earlier times, but in the modern Western 21st-century culture of technology, the Internet, and tweeting ... this art form is rapidly dying.
"Journaling was commonplace in earlier times, but in the modern culture of technology this art form is rapidly dying."
There is no correct way to journal, whether it is digital through voice dictation, or with an old-fashioned quill and ink well, no one can experience the value of journaling without doing it first. As with all spiritual disciplines, journaling requires persistence through the dry times as the novelty of journaling wears off.
Remember, the goal of becoming more like Jesus should be the main reason for beginning any spiritual discipline, including journaling.
For more resources on journaling see:
Spiritual Disciplines For The Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney
Be Still My Soul by Sam Laing
How To Keep A Spiritual Journal by Ronald Klug