For years, I have kept a prayer journal and from time to time would add things I was praying for and cross off things that had been answered. During my daily prayer time, the urgent needs came to my mind first and consumed the time I had to pray, leaving many areas in my life not covered in consistent and regular prayer.
A few months ago, I felt God was leading me to set aside more time to pray and to pray beyond just the urgent needs in my life. I decided to put together a new prayer journal. One that would let me concentrate on a specific area to pray over each day. To get started, I purchased a 3-ring notebook, a package of 8 dividers and a package of lined paper. Here’s how I set mine up:
Front of my journal – a list of God’s attributes. I begin my prayer time by choosing one of God’s attributes and spend a few moments worshipping Him and giving thanks for who He is. When I begin my prayer time with reverence and awe of God and with a vision of who He is, it is difficult to let my circumstances overwhelm me. How I live, think and respond to pressure is changed as I trust Him.
First Divider – Monday: My husband and our marriage
Second Divider – Tuesday: Friends I do life with and others that come across my path
Third Divider – Wednesday: My children (and soon to be grandbaby!)
Fourth Divider – Thursday: Relatives and neighbors
Fifth Divider – Friday: Me – personal needs and desires, spiritual growth, areas I struggle in, etc.
Sixth Divider – Saturday: Praise – a look back on the week, thanking God specifically for what He has done, both the hard things and the blessings.
Seventh Divider – Sunday: Our church, pastors, leaders, ministries, missions, etc.
Eighth Divider: a list of scriptures to read and pray concerning various needs/concerns.
I placed lined paper after each divider. I use the line paper to write down specific prayer requests regarding that day’s prayer topic. I date each prayer request and leave some space by it to include, at a later date, a description of how God answered the prayer request. When it is answered, I write down the date, a note describing the answer and then I highlight the request with a bright color highlighting marker. This is a beautiful visual of God answering prayer and His faithfulness in my life.
I am still discovering wonderful things about using this “new-to-me” prayer journal method, but here is what I am noticing:
- I am not always focusing on praying for only the most urgent needs/concerns at the moment.
- I am covering a wide area of prayer needs.
- My prayer life is stronger and deeper than it has ever been.
- Because I am covering such a wide area of personal interests, I am seeing God answer prayer beyond the urgent in my life.
- Because I am covering such a wide area of personal interest, my heart is more peaceful and still.
- I feel stronger in my faith.
- Because I am expectantly filled with hope for God’s answers, my eyes are seeing more of what He is doing.
- My Saturday praise day is truly a day of worship and my heart is incredibly full.
It is so easy, with all of life’s daily demands, to forget that this world is a battlefield. Day by day…hour by hour…we face a spiritual war and an enemy who is real and wants nothing more than to defeat, steal, kill and destroy our faith. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us “Be alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” This is why we are told in Ephesians 6:10-18 that we are to put on the full armor of God and “pray in the Spirit on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests and with this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying“. (Eph 6:18)
Are you putting on the full armor of God by reading and living out His Word and praying each day? He gives us all we need to stand strong in this life. What have you done today to be equipped to fight and resist the enemy? Are you busy racing through your day, ill-equipped, unprepared or simply not aware of what you are up against or who the real enemy is? Or, are you alert and ready? Are you on your knees fighting like a warrior?