Here are a few basic steps in having an effective daily devotion along with journaling tips.
The following method is called the SOAP method.
Scripture – Having a Bible reading plan ensures that you will read the whole Word of God and not just sections of Scripture that you feel like reading. There are several Bible reading plans available online or you can create your own. I coordinate my reading plan with different Bible studies that I will be participating in throughout the year. Record a passage from your reading plan that you would like to focus on for the day.
Observation – What does the text say? Write down important words (repeated words, characters, adjectives, lists, etc.). Summarizing the Scripture or passage is also something to include in your journal. Simply write down the basic and the obvious.
Application – Scripture is full of timeless truths that apply to the people in the context of the passage as well as today. The first step in applying the passage is to identify this principle. Then write it in your journal. Now comes the part that can hit a little too close to home. How does this principle apply to your specifically today, this week, or this month? Write down specific actions or changes that your need to make.
Prayer – Close your time with prayer. Write down specific praises and requests. Make sure your praise God for who He is as well as what He has done. Look back at previous prayer journals as a testimony as to what God is going and to develop a persistent prayer life.