I would say that there are at least five ways that we can pray to God: Listening for God’s voice, praying for others, asking for forgiveness, making personal requests and praising and thanking God. And while each of us should strive to include all these elements in our prayer lives, it’s so easy for us to get sidetracked in one type of prayer or another. That’s how the prayer list can be so helpful.
As a spiritual discipline of humbling yourself before God, before you say or ask for anything else, try writing down your sins as you pray. Ask God to forgive you for these sins, ask God to help you not commit these sins again, and thank God for the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
How often do you say, “I’ll pray for you,” and then forget to actually pray? If you have a working prayer list, you can add that name to your list right then. You can keep a list of your own requests as well. The profound benefit of writing down your requests is not just so you’ll remember them when you pray, but so you can look back and see how they have been answered.
When you practice listening, you can use your prayer list to write down your questions for God. God speaks to us all the time, and having a list of things for which to listen can be quite helpful.
Rev. Laura Hutchinson, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
List encourages deliberate, purposeful prayer
I have a practice of writing down the prayers and scriptures I want to remember on colorful index cards and posting them in places I frequently look.
Try posting your prayers inside the refrigerator (not on the outside door with all your other stuff). Post on your bathroom mirror, in your purse or billfold, and on your dashboard. Do this for 30 days and you’ll see your prayer life bolster.
Using a prayer list means that I have assessed my life or assessed someone else’s life and determined the greatest need and desire. Once the prayer need is identified I can focus on it with great intensity, which helps me to have a deliberate and purposeful prayer time.
When my prayers are answered it creates trust in God and dispels doubt. When I see what God has done from my list, I am encouraged that he will keep answering my prayers even when I disagree with his answer.
Having a prayer list is the best way to be strategic about what I want to pray for and helps me see clearly God’s power. It is good practice to always line your prayer language up with the word of God and you will see your prayer life bolster.
Alberta McCrory, Gaines Chapel AME Church, Anniston