Saturday, November 11, 2006

Actually using my prayer journal -- a daily blessing!





I’ve done a number of posts about my prayer journal -- guidelines for making one, how it’s put together, and how to make a prayer journal kit as a gift -- but I thought it was high time to actually write a post as to how the prayer journal works on a daily basis.

Before I begin, I'd like to say a word about prayer requests. A number of people have asked me how I deal with the short-term, more urgent prayer requests which we get at church, from friends, or via our church’s prayer chain (email or phone). They felt these requests would be hard to keep track of on an ongoing basis in a prayer journal. And they’re right. I don’t put these sorts of requests in my prayer journal.

If I get a request for someone at church, I usually write it down in the notebook I keep with me for sermon notes. That’s usually enough to keep that request in my memory for when I pray for that person during the week. When it’s answered, I can cross it out. If I get a request via phone or email, I’ll jot it on a post-it note. When the prayer is answered, I toss the paper.

The prayer requests I keep in my prayer journal are long-term ones. For example, for my grown children I pray for things like this:
• Closeness to God
• Spiritual growth
• Wisdom for parenting
• Wisdom for marriage
• Wise use of finances
• Wise use of time
• Use of spiritual gifts and talents... etc.

Now, as to actually using my prayer journal on a daily basis. The first section I come to is Adoration -- where I have a number of pages concerning the attributes of God. So I turn to the attribute for the day -- I keep a marker in this section so I praise God for a different attribute each day. As I praise Him for, say, His omniscience, I can also thank Him for the fact that He knows all about me and every circumstance of my life. I find that praising God for His attributes first sets the tone for my prayer time.

Next, I come to Agreeing -- that is, agreeing with God about my sin. In this section I have a number of pages concerning character flaws and sin issues in my life. Again, I keep a marker in this section so I pray concerning a different problem each day. This makes a huge difference in my life, because these issues don’t slip off my radar screen. I am praying about them on a regular basis. Also in this section, I have a section called Health and Energy -- detailing the daily need for eating healthfully, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, etc. Again, since these are areas where I am prone to get lazy, it makes sense to have them here where I can pray about them every day.

Next, I come to Asking. Within this section, I start by praying through the requests for Every Day. These would be ongoing, long-term requests for my husband, children/spouses, grandchildren, parents and close friends.

Next, I pray through the requests I have allotted to different days of the week. On Monday, for example, I pray for missionaries. Again, the requests I pray for missionaries are not short-term urgent requests (although I do pray for those needs at other times) but are ongoing, long-term things like protection, boldness, opportunities to witness, fluency in language, times of refreshment, etc. Each day I also pray for a portion of our church family. And this is where those prayer requests I get at church or via the prayer chain come into play. As I pray for, say, Sue Jones (made-up name) I remember that Sue is having a biopsy next week, and pray about that.

So that is pretty much my prayer time in a nutshell. I have found that my prayer time is so much more effective and so much more of a blessing to me as I use my prayer journal. I hope that those who are making their own journals or those who receive them as gifts will find them as helpful as I have found mine to be.

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:59 PM

    Good Morning Mrs T.
    You have answered some of my questions in this post about the daily workings of using my prayer journal. I was praying each day all the attributes of God, all my character flaws....I thought to myself the other day, that I needed to break this down to daily or something!
    In your health and energy section did you also write scriptures for those areas of your life? How did you do that section, I am just curious.
    I am so blessed by this journal and as you have said before, it is a work in progress. Working on the attributes of God and looking up scriptures on my character flaws was like doing mini Bible studies.
    The day I worked on "the tongue" something happened that brought back all those scripures and instead of lashing back to this person..I kept control on my words and kept a calm. The next day I worked on...Am Easliy Irritated page. (: That one hit home when you mentioned it in a post. I knew right away it was one I needed for my journal as well. Thanks again, Mrs T. for sharing this wonderful tool.
    Blesings, Patty

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  2. Hi Patty,

    I don't have the time right now to go into detail about my health & energy section, but I will try and respond to your comment in a little more detail tomorrow. I do have scriptures in that section too. Some of the pages are only scripture, others have prayers, prayer requests, and motivational thoughts.

    Yes, isn't it like doing mini Bible studies to work on the attributes of God and one's character flaws? I found that too. I am so excited for you that you were able to keep calm when in a difficult situation because of your study of "the tongue."

    I'm so happy you are finding your prayer journal as much of a tool as I do. I love having it be a work in progress... I'll be sad if I ever actually "finish" it!

    God bless,
    Mrs.T

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  3. Thank you for sharing these steps. I found it very insightful.

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  4. Rona,

    I am glad you found this insightful. It sure has been helpful to me.

    Patty,

    I've just posted the info for my health & energy section. I am so happy others are benefiting from my prayer journal. I love this tool and am so thrilled others can use it too.

    God bless,
    Mrs.T

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