Have you ever started a prayer when suddenly you discover that your mind has wandered to your to-do list, or worst yet, you actually dozed off?
That was me several years ago (it still happens occasionally too!). I remember specifically asking the Lord, “Please help me stay focused as I pray.” And that’s how my prayer journal began. Over the years, my prayer journal has evolved several times. I’ve tried different methods and have landed on what works for me.
I hope the three methods below will serve to help you become more purposeful in your daily prayer time.
1. Write In A Blank Prayer Journal
You can purchase a blank journal at most retail stores. I have even used a school composition notebook. Here are a few ways I have used my journal:
Step One: Record Daily Prayer Focus On Inside Front Cover
When I first get my brand new prayer journal, I open the front cover and write out the names of people that I pray for daily. It’s usually about 15 people. I got this idea from a book written by my Pastor. http://www.amazon.com/The-World-Smaller-Than-Think/dp/0984036407
Then I write out the days of the week. Beside each day, I write a “prayer focus.”
Here’s an example of the what I write in the inside front cover:
Daily People to pray for: Scott, Kevin, Chad, Charity, Sean and family, Stacy and family…
Daily Prayer Focus:
Sunday—Leadership: World leaders, country, state, city, my local church and household.
Monday— Immediate family
Wednesday—Neighbors and the lost
Step Two: The Lord’s Prayer Model
Each daily prayer written in the journal is modeled after the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. It looks something like this:
Praise and worship: I praise You, Lord for this new day and for my health.
Asking for God’s will: I ask for Your will with Grandma’s failing health.
Forgiveness: Forgive me for losing my temper with my son yesterday.
Petitions/requests: Guide my husband through his job interview.
Today’s prayer focus: (mentioned above from front cover)
I write short, simple sentences and fill in the rest as I speak with the Lord. I don’t worry about spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Record answered prayers: Thank you Lord! Scott got the job!
Step Three: Free Writing
Next I simply jot down what’s on my heart. It could be a poem, song or from time to time, this is where I allow myself to vent about a particular issue that is weighing on me. Here’s a few examples from the Psalms to look up: Psalm 64:1, Psalm 22, Psalm 13.
All prayers are written simply and in a conversational style.
2. Use A Binder And Printable
Although I prefer to use a blank journal myself, I found a few great FREE printable options that I think are wonderful. All you need to do is buy a three ring binder, then print out your choice of printable downloads (or make your own) and record your prayers of course!
3. Use Technology
Get An App
I discovered a free version called Pocket Pro Free Lite. It holds prayers by categories, dates and tracks answered and unanswered prayers. There are several apps available, but I like this one best.
Make A Spreadsheet
This may work well for office executives (or home office) if used as part of a morning quiet time routine.
Use Your Phone Reminders
I set my phone alarm to go off at certain times during the day to remind me to stop and pray. I also utilize the calendar to remind me to pray for someone who’s having surgery, or a test etc.
Remember that prayer is a conversation with our Heavenly Father. There is no perfect method. Keeping a prayer journal is what I use in the mornings to keep my mind focused, serve as a record, and to give me structure and discipline.
My prayer is that you may find a few ideas here to enhance and expand your own daily prayer time. The goal is more prayer.