Keeping a prayer book can give your prayer life a generous spark.
People pray every day. Christian and non-Christian, we all say the words, “Please God…” throughout our days. Often, we pray without even thinking about it. We lift up requests about our job, our kids, and over our meals. We pray for a good day at work, a good grade on that exam, and for that light to stay green. We also throw in a, “Thank you, God” for good measure. You know, those quick little prayers that allow us to put a star in the box that we prayed today.
Then when someone asks you about your prayer life, you smile, give the thumbs up, and say it is thriving. But when asked about which ones have been answered, we give a clueless look, and the answer is always the same, “I dunno.” A good way to remember our God answers us, is to write it down. A prayer book reminds us of prayers over the years.
Why Keep a Prayer Book?
A prayer book is basically a journal – a place where you record what is on your heart. This will aid you when you sit down and talk with God. There are many reasons some choose to document their heavenly requests. Here are just a few:
- It keeps us accountable. One of the biggest struggles with prayer is actually doing it. We all have the desire to be in communication with the Almighty; to have his ear for a moment. But the business of life, or so we say, keeps us from those quiet moments with the Lord. Committing to keeping a prayer book gives you a means of accountability.
- It reminds us what to pray. How many times have you told someone, “Yes, I will pray for you,” then later that day, we have completely forgot what they asked us to remember? A prayer journal is a way to keep notes and to look back and honor your friend’s request.
- It reminds us God is faithful. Not only should you record your needs, you should write about when they are answered. Regardless of if you received a ‘Yes,’ ‘No,’ or ‘Wait.’ As you progress through the years, you can be reminded of how faithful God is, and you can see how His answers have impacted your life. It is encouraging to see in your own writing all God has done for you.
- It helps us to understand God. We can ask to win the lottery all we want. We can pray through a loved one suffering. But when it comes down to it, prayer is about us asking God for something. We want to be wealthy. We want to hold on to our ailing loved one. We want. We want. We want. Keeping a prayer book helps us align our desires to God’s desire for us. It helps us see the difference between needs and wants.
What Should I Include in My Prayer Book?
What is most important, is honesty with God. Do not put a request on the shelf because you may feel it is selfish or that God does not care about it. God cares about the little things. According to Matthew 6:26, he feeds the birds of the air. So, we should not worry about the small things. Yet, we still should bring those needs before the Lord. Prayer reveals our dependence on Him.
Even the disciples struggled with praying. Jesus himself gives them, and us, a model as guidance. Matthew records:
“Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” – Matthew 6:9-13
Your prayer book should include Prayers of:
- Reverence – Give God his due. Remember who you are speaking to.
- Thank God for who he is.
- Praise Him for the answers he gives.
- Acceptance – Understand that God is going to answer according to His Will.
- Ask for help in accepting the answer He is giving or has given us.
- Thank Him for knowing what is best.
- Needs – The needs of yours, and those you are interceding for.
- The things we need for daily life.
- The needs of others that we are praying for.
- To understand the difference between needs and wants.
- Thank him for what you have that may not be a need.
- Forgiveness – Remember, if we have unrepented sins, God may withhold answers.
- Repent the sin in your life.
- Ask for revelation of sin unknowingly committed.
- Grace – If we are unforgiving toward someone, God may withhold answers.
- The ability to know how to deal with someone we struggle with.
- The ability to forgive when we are wronged.
- Guidance – Daily guidance in our decision making.
- To know what His Will is and to act accordingly.
- How you can contribute to the world around you: church, community, the world.
- To understand His leading and to accept His direction.
- Protection – The ability to be vigilant for our vulnerabilities.
- For the understanding that there are powers working against us.
- For our leaders: church, community, country, and world.
- That He will help us to stay focused on Him.
- Acknowledgment – Acknowledge that He is ultimately in control of it all.
- Reminders that God gets the glory in everything.
- We are acknowledging we cannot do what we do without Him.
Prayer is about intent, not about the ritual itself. God warns us about being flowery and boastful with our words in Luke 18:9-14. If we approach God as if he owes us something, we can expect no answer to any of them. But when we pray with humility and reverence, they will be cherished by the Lord. A prayer book helps us remain humble because when we write something out, we often see how selfish it sounds.
Finally, a prayer book can give us personal evidence of spiritual growth. We witness our maturity as a Christian by learning to value what is essential in life. We gain an understanding of who God is. James 6 speaks of God meeting the needs of those who are committed to prayer. His passage culminates in verse 16, “… The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man, avails much.” Keeping a detailed prayer journal will help you on your road to be an effective, fervent prayer warrior.