Prayer Lists: A Journey
Maybe I’m unique, but having a prayer list has proven to be a challenging journey for me over the years. I’ve wrestled with paper lists, electronic lists, reminders, no-lists and just from memory, etc etc. I’ve downloaded all the great prayer apps for my phone looking for the perfect app or system – guess what…the perfect app doesn’t exist. Stepping into full time ministry, and being the pastor over prayer ministries has again been a growing season as the number of things I pray for has substantially increased which is an incredible blessing and exciting but also pushed me to clarify how I manage and be productive and honoring with a prayer list.
Here is how I manage my prayer list:
First and most importantly if someone wants you to pray for something – pray for it NOW instead of writing it down. If someone asks you to pray for something there is NO better time than in that moment to pray for it. This shocks people sometimes, but WHY WAIT?
For requests that I should be praying for regularly, or for things I’m praying for frequently I have to keep a written list. Paper lists don’t work for me because I tend to find time to pray for things at different places and times and I want my list with me all the time. Don’t assume that you have to mark out an hour every morning as your only time to pray (although that’s a great time!) – go through your prayer list during the day, review it before you jump in your car for a drive so you can pray while you are driving instead of listening to the radio (with your eyes open), review it when you are waiting in line for something.
I use an electronic task management system (an app called 2do). In that system I also store my prayer lists in multiple categories. My categories currently are:
Wednesday Group – a group of guys that meet on Wednesdays to share life together.
Family – self explanatory, but all of the requests for my entire family.
Vineyard – This is for church specific prayer requests. For example, leaders, members needing prayer, etc.
Project WARM – Another ministry we run in downtown South Bend.
Personal – Requests I’m praying for related to me
Home Group – Items I’m praying for related to our home group.
Because I’ve grouped the requests it is easy to review in context and update the notes for the request. Once that prayer is answered I write down as much detail as I can recall and mark it complete. I keep those completed requests and search them later to remind myself of all of the prayer requests that God answered and how. Most any todo app has the same functionality, and the benefit of using a todo app is you can also use it for all of your other tasks.
For 2016 I’ll be challenging myself to memorize as much as my ongoing prayer list as possible.