Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Prayer Journal

"Pray without ceasing." ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:17
I am definitely guilty of this!  But most of the time it's a recited blessing or selfish one-liners:
"Help me be patient with this toddler!"
"How do I lovingly tell my husband 'I told you so!'?"
"Get me home safely!"
I discovered my long lost prayer journal during my recent quest for organization.  And boy has it been lost - 3 years lost!  I am so ashamed!  My prayer life can stand improvement.

I desire a more intentional prayer life, but it would take me hours to pray for everything that needs praying for - the reason I organized a prayer journal.  I wish I could give credit to whoever gave me the idea.

A) My prayer journal is one of those petite 3 ring binders with loose leaf paper in it.  On the inside front cover is handwritten the format for an intentional prayer:
Let's consult Mr. Webster (paraphrased by me) for a few definitions here:

  • Adoration - the act of worship, honoring
  • Confession - disclosure of sin for the purpose of reconciliation; "a written or oral acknowledgment of guilt by a party accused of an offense"
  • Thanksgiving - expression of gratitude; acknowledgment of goodness
  • Supplication - a humble and earnest request
  •      Petition - a [personal] request
  •      Intercession - a request for someone else
  • Surrender - "to yield to the power, control, or possession of another...;" "to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another;" "to give (oneself) up into the power of another especially as a prisoner;" to give (oneself) over to something (as an influence)"
  • Listening - to pay attention; to be alert; give consideration
B) There are 8 divisions:
The weekly details, described below, can be rearranged as it fits your routine and schedule.

  1. Scripture
  2. books
  3. my family
  4. missionaries
  5. people and their prayer requests
  6. lost people
  7. my own needs and concerns
  1. my church, my pastor, my fellow believers, my Sunday School class, those with whom I'm  involved in spiritual ministries
  2. other churches, other believers (effective in bringing people into the kingdom; their growth as disciples; boldness in witness; development as leaders), those who live in restricted countries
  3. revival, spiritual awakening
  1. unreached/lost
  1. national concerns (people, situations, and places)
  2. government leaders (people of character, sensitive to righteousness, good decisions, who do not know Jesus)
  1. those who cross my path randomly
  1. people of other nations (leaders, missionaries, fellow believers)
  2. Lord, call more laborers (may each one hear and obey Your call)
  3. mission strategists, decision makers responsible for world evangelism
  1. family
  1. neighbors
C) Tucked in the front inside flap I find 3x5 index cards with Scripture verses written on them for memorization purposes, prayer request printouts from church and Bible study groups, and a blank Thank You card.

I used to be involved with the Baptist Student Union at Campbell University.  They had groups called outreach teams.  We would spend the weekend with a youth group at a particular church, ministering to them through song, Bible study, games, skits.....  The team would stay with host families.  Since my prayer journal accompanied me wherever I went, I kept a Thank You card inside to leave with my host family.

D) Stuck in the clear pocket insert at the back was a poem, quoted at the end, that I learned while studying at the Focus on the Family Institute.

While typing all these details out, I realized how legalistic this may sound to someone without OCD or without high organizational needs or without time constraints.  (Sometimes I wish I didn't crave lists and binders and filing cabinets and file folders and organizing trays and labels and . . . .)  This surely is not intended to make prayer time rigid, but to purpose it.  To allow communion and sharing between God and His children.  To bring wholeness to that "pray without ceasing."

Excuse me while I go converse with my Father!

O Christ, my life, possess me utterly.
Take me, and make a little Christ of me.
If I am anything but thy Father's son,
'Tis something not yet from the darkness won.
O give me light to live with open eyes.
O give me life to hope above all skies.
Give me thy spirit to haunt the Father with my cries.
George McDonald, Diary of an Old Soul (adapted)

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