A few years ago, my friend and spiritual big sister, Jani Ortlund, showed me how she made her prayer notebook. Being the big nerd that I am, I could hardly wait to make my own. (Just because you grow up doesn’t mean you have to outgrow your love of school supplies.)
By that time I had spent years observing Jani’s walk with the Lord, and I knew that when she said she would pray for someone, she meant it. I saw God move through her prayers, and when she prayed out loud, there was power in those prayers. I wanted to learn to pray like that!
My prayer notebook has been a helpful tool for me; it helps me pray with purpose and track God’s faithful answers to my prayers. There’s nothing magic about having a prayer notebook. It doesn’t pray for me. I still need to spend time every day reading God’s Word. My notebook is kind of like Google Calendar; it’s simply a tool to help me keep track of important things.
Would you like to make one? Here’s one way to do it.
- Get a one-inch three-ring binder.
- Get a set of plastic notebook dividers (eight tabs). I like the kind that has pockets so I can insert papers I collect about prayer. Label the tabs as follows: Daily, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday.
- In the very front of your notebook, add a page for each of these categories: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Blessing, Interceding. I simply use a piece of notebook paper with a handwritten heading. As I come across prayers in Scripture that exemplify these things, I write down the prayer and the reference on the appropriate page. This helps me learn how to pray God’s Word and see what kind of prayers move the heart of God. (Sometimes God says NO to the person praying, and I pay attention to those prayers, too!)
- Decide on seven prayer categories, one for every day of the week, and keep specific requests in the appropriate sections.
My sections break down like this:
Daily—my husband and children.
Sunday—my church and its leaders.
Monday—our sons’ teachers, schools, and academic/social lives.
Wednesday—various social justice issues (like the recent kidnappings in Nigeria). Bombay Teen Challenge is dear to me, so I pray for them and the fight against human trafficking on Wednesdays.
Thursday—my unbelieving friends and family members—that they would come to know Christ.
Friday—our extended family members.
Saturday—my care group and community group at church.
- Put notebook paper in each section so you can jot down needs as they come to your attention or as others ask you to pray. (I often make a note of requests on my phone and transfer them to my notebook during my next quiet time.)
- You may want a page at the beginning of your notebook with sample prayers (I get mine from this book) or a list of the attributes of God. The attributes help me remember how big God is and how much I need Him! This is part of my “adoration.” The sample prayers help me grow in prayer much like reading good literature helps you grow as a writer or listening to great music helps you grow as a musician.
That’s it! Now you’re ready to go. I keep the notebook with my Bible so I always have it handy.
Do you have a prayer notebook or journal? How do you keep track of your prayers and of God’s faithfulness to you? We’d love to hear all about it!
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