Friday, March 13, 2009

Praying with Purpose

I don't know about you, but I find that there are times where my prayer life is lacking in direction and intentionality. I'll be there in my morning prayer time, and I feel as though I have nothing to pray about - which is ridiculous, because there is SO MUCH to pray about. Because I'm an administrative type girl, I've found a handy way to keep myself focused in prayer.

It all starts with a calendar and a list (are you really surprised that I make a list?). I begin by making a general list of the things/people I want to be praying for regularly. My list is something like this: kids, marriage, ministry, unsaved friends/family, church leaders, government leaders, and so on. I make sure to leave lots of space under each of those topics.

Next, I add details to the list - specifics for each of those general things. For example, under kids I would list: spiritual growth/salvation, health, integrity, future spouse/marriage, spiritual gifts, areas of struggle. Under marriage: protection, growth, passion, that I would be the wife God wants me to be, areas of struggle for either of us, unity (in general things and in parenting), finances, etc. Under ministry: each area of women's ministry (there are six or so), each leader of those areas, their marriages and families, their teams, areas of struggle, etc.

Then I set my big list and my calendar side-by-side to look for a handy way to plug everything in (it seems that my list is about the right length to fill a two-month schedule). The first thing I want to plug in is that which I know I want to be praying for daily - my marriage and my kids. The kids are easy, because there's five of them - Braeden on Mondays, Abbey on Tuesdays, Megan on Wednesdays, Shea on Thursdays, Malakai on Fridays. Then I assign a "theme" to each week based on the list of prayer topics under the heading of kids (so each day of that week I will pray for the assigned child on that topic).

For help in focusing my prayers for our marriage, I'll often take topics from "The Power of a Praying Wife" and plug one into each week. As well, I will take the list of topics and spend a day or week on them, depending how I feel led to plug them in on my calendar. There are a lot of great books on building a strong marriage that provide topics (and even daily tasks) that I use to help direct my prayers in this area.

I also know that I need to be praying for ministry regularly. I find that the easiest way to remember is to plug each ministry area in on the day of the week it occurs - so, Monday night Bible study on Mondays. Over the month, I'll typically assign one Monday to pray for the attendees, one Monday to pray for the leader and her marriage, one Monday to pray for her team, and the last Monday to pray generally and however I feel led.

And to round off my prayer calendar, I add in the remaining items from my list. I try to take one day of the week to pray for unsaved friends and family. Our pastor once suggested that we focus our prayers intently on three people we want to see saved, so every other week (usually on Fridays) I spend time just praying for the same three people - there has been one person on that list for years now. The alternate weeks, I just let my heart and mind run through everyone I think of, tossing names and prayers to God for all of them. I try to plunk in one or two days in a month for each of the other topics, such as church leaders, political leaders, and anything else on my list.

I pop my two months of prayer calendar in a duotang, and set it in my "quiet spot" alongside my Bible and whichever Bible study book I'm working on.

I know this method won't be for everyone. There are some people who would feel restricted, stilted, and frustrated by so much order in how they pray and who they pray for. But if you're like me, and without a list of "to dos" you wander aimlessly doing nothing, a prayer calendar might be just what you need to keep your prayer life on track.

In fact, I find this method to be so handy, that I'll probably link back to it next week for Works for Me Wednesday!

Have a blessed weekend, friends!


  1. I love this. I am a list person, because without list people can see how scatterbrained I can be. There are 500 thing vying for my attension all the time. So, I often leave out some very important people to pray for. Thank you for the idea!

  2. these are great tips. I keep a prayer journal - this is my third now - and my prayer life has greatly been impacted because of it!

  3. I blogged about this last summer too! I have to have a list to pray, not so that I can just check off one more thing, but so that I will intentionally pray for things that get pushed to the "back burner" for more pressing needs.

    I've also gotten much better about praying in the moment. Not just telling people I will pray for them, but doing it right then and there! Adding them to my list helps me to remember to follow up too! Thanks for sharing, I love how you break it down by "theme" for the week!

  4. Sounds GREAT! I use a ring of notecards - color coded of course :) They are easy to carry around with me and add to them adn great to look back on!

    Hope this works out for you - we Type A's....


I am so glad you stopped by! My hope is that we can engage in a conversation together. I love to reply to your comments, but I need your help to make that happen.

If you have a blogger profile, would you consider editing your profile to "show my email address?" Then, when I receive your comment in my email inbox, I can reply directly to you.

Alternately, you can check the box "email follow up comments to..." so that I can reply to you right here. (You will also receive other readers' comments using this method.)

I'm excited to get to know you better!