I’ve said it before ….I live a blessed life because even before I was born, I was surrounded by people who have spent hours and hours on their knees interceding to the Father on my behalf. I was the ‘oops’ child. I’ll spare you the details, but my parents took steps to make sure that there would not be a third child added to their family. My mom went to the doctor because she had not felt well for a while, and had a deep fear that she would hear the words, “You have cancer.” Instead, she heard another scary phrase, “Good news, it’s not cancer…you’re pregnant.”
Yep…that unplanned, unexpected little baby was me. My parents were in their mid twenties and my dad was in the ministry full-time and working odd jobs just to put food on the table for his family of four. My older sister was approaching yet another heart surgery, and the thought of a third child must have overwhelmed them.
But I don’t even have to ask what my parents did. In fact I have never asked them. I know what they did. And my dear grandmother, Ma-Ma. I wish she were alive for me to ask her just what she prayed in her quiet time the morning after she got the news that Virginia was expecting her third child.
I am confident that there were thousands of prayers sent heavenward on my behalf even before I came into the world…(three weeks late and weighing in at 10 pounds 4 ounces…my poor mom!)
I have sat through seminary classes on prayer. I have probably heard hundreds of sermons on prayer. And I have had many Bible study discussions on how to pray.
The truth is…..I could easily give you a theological argument as to why you should pray diligently every day. I could write about when to pray. Always (Luke 18:1). Continually (1 Thess. 5:17). All occasions (Eph. 6:18).
I could write about where to pray. In church (Psalm 111:1). In private (Matt. 6:6). In the open (Acts 21:5). On your bed (Psalm 149:5). Everywhere (1 Timothy 2:8).
I could give you Biblical examples of people who had a disciplined prayer life. David. The writer of Psalm 119. Daniel. Isaac. Peter. And our ultimate example, Jesus.
Instead I decided to approach this on a more personal level. In all honesty, even though I had great examples of prayer warriors in my own life, I spent a lot of years struggling to pray. Studying the Bible came naturally for me. I am a student. I love to learn new things. I have always savored every new thing I can learn from God’s word. But I truly struggled to learn to sit and pray.
I have decided to approach this post from two angles: (1) the importance of prayer being a scheduled part of your day and (2) the importance of prayer being as natural and as common as breathing. In my life I have seen the value of having both a discipline time of prayer set aside each day and a mind that is trained to turn to prayer throughout the day so that I naturally turn to prayer instead of worry.
I will write on those two things next week. But for now I promised to open up my prayer notebook to you. Now, let me add a disclaimer….just because this method works for me does not mean that it will be the best way for you to organize your own disciplined prayer life.
Also, I debated even showing it on the blog. The last thing I want is for someone to feel overwhelmed. I do not want to give the impression that you must have a prayer notebook to have a fervent prayer life. I need the notebook to keep me connected in my prayer life, but that does not mean you do. Without my prayer notebook, prayers that I want to pray do not get prayed as often as I desire to pray them.
I should also tell you that this notebook has literally been in the works since I was 17 years old. And as I said before…I haven’t even given my hubby an all-access pass to it. Sometimes the prayers I write are very raw. There is a box in my garage of notebooks, binders, loose-leaf papers that contain my prayers over the years.
If you are new in your journey with the Lord, or if you are just learning the importance of a disciplined prayer life….please don’t be overwhelmed. Take baby steps to spending more time in prayer with the Lord. Simply writing a paragraph prayer out each day is a great place to begin learning to pray.
Okay, I’ve stalled long enough….enjoy!
at different times in my life, I have chosen to keep track of my prayers in different ways. tried to go digital… that wasn’t for me. in the past year I have kept my prayers in this notebook…I’d really like to get a ‘cuter’ binder with smaller rings, but this one was free thanks to my box of ‘teaching supplies’ that I held onto after I ‘retired’ from teaching. . . so I’m making it work for now :)!
Let me be honest here….my hubby hasn’t written me a lot of notes in our ten years of marriage. But the ones he has written me are treasures. Three of my favorites, I keep visible in my notebook. Quick daily reminders of the blessing I have in him.
Each week I pray for different things each day….otherwise I seem to overlook something I really want to pray for but forget! It has helped me to assign certain prayer concerns to days of the week. Sunday=prayers for myself ; Monday= pray for the concerns of the week; Tuesday=prayers for Joe; Wednesday= prayers for my kids; Thursday=prayers for my extended family; Friday= prayers for my friends; Saturday=prayers for my church & other groups I am involved with
Under Home, I keep my family budget, menu plans, my prayers for myself, Joe and my kids
Under Church, I keep a list of the staff members of my church and the names of their children, events and ministries at the church I want to pray about, and the prayer concerns of people in my church that have asked me to pray for them.
Under Friends I keep a list of friends from all seasons of my life. Each week I pray for their marriages, their kids, and any other prayer concerns I have for them.
Under Family, I keep a list of extended family members and the prayers I have for them.
Under personal study, I keep blank paper to record any thoughts that I want to handwrite as I study and pray. Most of my writing these days takes place on a computer…because of the hand condition I have I can no longer write extensively with my hand…though I used to fill pages of journals with handwritten bible study notes and prayers.
I really had a few more pictures I was going to post but I will save them for next week. . . I’ll show you a glimpse into the prayers I pray for myself and for my dear hubby (because Lord knows we’ve needed a lot of prayer in our decade together) and discuss how knowing Scripture to pray can help you turn from worry to prayer!