I posted several articles on some ideas about outlines for prayer lists, topics to include, etc. But what I wanted to talk about to day is how I’ve adjusted my prayer list over the years to become more efficient and inclusive.
First of all, don’t be afraid to be organized. I remember people telling me that they don’t have a list, they just let God tell them what and who to pray for. Well, that’s not His job. Sure He’ll burden you with things that you should add, but the content of your daily pray is something you need to compile and maintain.
That being said, do be sensitive to what God wants you to add or take off your prayer list. I remember hearing some missionaries speak in Sunday School and the next day I added them to my prayer list. But when I got to their names I had this odd, unsettled feeling. I took that as a message from God that I shouldn’t include them to the list of missionaries I was praying for. About a month or two later I read on social media how these particular missionaries had been spreading division among missionaries, telling lies and exaggerating problems to try to ruin the reputation of other missionaries. I was relieved I didn’t have them on my prayer list, and understood why the Holy Spirit urged me to remove them.
I had an outline many years ago that followed some of the more common prayer-list outlines, but through the years my list has changed and adjusted to my particular requests. As of now it consists of three main parts, but those parts don’t really have any theme.
I should mention here that I have my prayer list emailed to me each day through another site I own at https://Somebody.NeedsYourPrayers.com. I have several items I’ve added there that trigger the email. I designed the site so prayer requests must be renewed every 14 days to remain active. That’s to prevent old requests from remaining on the site, long past when they are still actual requests. But in addition to the entries that I’ve subscribed to, I also have a personal list that is sent along with the requests I’ve subscribed to.
While there are several people who have signed up for the site, currently I’m the only active member, and my prayer list is the only one being sent. It’s open to everyone and free, but I guess my method hasn’t appealed to people.
A while back I had my prayer list written out and used that so my prayers would be consistent, but I noticed that I tended to go through them, eventually, by rote, and not really focus on the request. To solve this I changed the list from a word for word list to acronyms.
For example, instead of, “Wisdom to know what I need to do today, and the strength to do it” the entry is “w2khmwintd…stdi”. What this does is forces me to remember what that stands for (and yes, I have it written out in a file in case I forget, which happens with newer requests, sometimes) which means that it makes me remember, think about and focus on the actual request and not just repeat the words without thinking.
Another thing I began to do a few years back was to insert the word “please” as often as possible. I found that as I was praying, the words seemed to begin to feel more like commands rather than requests. I don’t want to ever think I have the right to command God to do anything. My prayers are requests from a humble servant. So, the word “please,” helps me remember that. Instead of “Lord, give me wisdom,” I pray, “Lord, please give me wisdom.”
As bad as it may feel to do so, trimming your prayer list is also important. Eventually, as you add things, your prayer list can become long. There’s a point in which the length can make you dread prayer time. We are human. We are weak, and pretending we aren’t doesn’t solve that problem. Keep the length of your prayer list within the bounds of what you can handle. If nothing else, then at least split the list between two or more lists and schedule short prayer times at different times during the day.
Remember, prayer is between you and God. It’s not there for you to do some “humble bragging” in front of others. Personally, I avoid public prayer if at all possible, because of that very reason. But, that’s just me. Voice your needs, worries, desires, problems and praise to God daily to help you remember you are His servant and child and just as He is always there for you, you need to always be there for His will and His plans.
Danny Carlton is a freelance web developer that has created dozens of ministry sites on the internet, including this blog. To see a list of is ministry site visit https://dannycarlton.org/#ministry.