I’ve been using a prayer list to keep my prayer times productive. Here are some of the blessings I’ve discovered after keeping to it almost every evening. These benefits are for anyone who wants a better prayer life!
A prayer list …
Keeps my mind focused and not wandering. My mind can still wander, it’s true, but the prayer list in my hand pulls me right back to the task. I’m not as distracted with other things clamoring for my attention as I was without a list.
Helps me persevere in prayer. Jesus’ instruction to ask, seek, and knock, and other sayings on prayer, are easier to do with a list on hand. How can you not continue, since the request is before your eyes again and again?
Repeated prayer over the same personal issues reminds me of what the Spirit wants me to work on. How do I grow if I forget the issue God had pointed out to me for change? Some of my prayers deal with issues the Lord spoke to me about in the Word, ministry, or other book or stray conversation that I need to deal with. At 57 years old, there is still much room for improvement and transformation in me.
Praying over the same things over time can bring glory to God. Again, a sizable chunk of my prayer list covers personal issues that I need to deal with. After praying over these issues over a period of time, I can feel the negative effects less and less, and that prompts me to give God the glory for His deliverance. Of course, this happens with all answered prayers on the list.
Important issues are not forgotten — no longer prayed for one day and forgotten the next. Some issues are just too important to forget. Do you forget to pray for your family, pastor, or job?
A list helps me jump right into prayer. “I don’t know what to talk about” becomes a thing of the past. These are requests you have accumulated over time, so they are personal and will engage you quickly.
Continued, heartfelt prayer expresses faith in God’s promises. If you believe in God’s promises for prayer, why not pray? A dedicated time of prayer says, “I believe God hears me and answers prayer” like nothing else will.
Done properly, burdens prayed for results in peace and confidence — because I actually left the worry in His hands. Honestly, sometimes we think that our constant worrying is productive, that we are helping things along; we are doing our part to help God or remind Him that we are really invested in this. In reality, our anxieties are proof that we haven’t left the crisis in God’s hands yet. Our distress is proof that we can’t handle it on our own, and we need to release it into more capable hands.
Continual, heartfelt prayer indicates a healthy relationship with God. “We’re not on talking terms right now” sounds like a relationship in jeopardy. So why wouldn’t it be true with our relationship with God? God helps us understand how to walk with Him by the lessons learned from the relationships around us. If you know how to maintain a positive relationship with that person, then you know the principles that help build a relationship with God.
Continued intercessory prayer builds up love and compassion for others. Praying for someone again and again creates a bond with the person. Our words of care build a heart of care.
Intercessory prayers for others sometimes helps me see my situation in a new perspective, that I am more blessed than I thought. When we see that our situation is not as bad as that cancer patient or the pastor jailed in China, we see how tame our personal issues really are. We are frequently not as bad off as they are, and this can lead to appreciation and gratitude.
Continued prayer against evil can stir me up to take a firm stand against that evil. Our words change our hearts and minds. When we repeatedly take a stand against something in prayer, the Lord strengthens our own heart in the same area, and we stand with Him against the injustice.
Repeated prayer helps us to be faithful. When we pray, we are serving the Lord in a special capacity. It is a spiritual work; there is nothing in it for the flesh to profit from. So we strengthen the spirit and deny the flesh as we give God’s work our undivided attention.
Praying for others just shows obedience to His command to pray. God has told us to pray. With a prayer list, we use reasonable means to facilitate the task. It shows that we are taking responsibility to pray and engaging our minds to do what works for us.
Changes me. I pray that I’ll be a better father and husband. Then my wife or someone will show me my shortcomings in those areas. That’s an answer to prayer, so I don’t fight it or go into denial, but repent. I pray that my job continues to prosper. The executives call me in and tell me where my work has been unsatisfactory. That’s an answer to prayer, so I repent. I pray that I may be more like Jesus. The Lord points out my shortcomings so that I may work with Him to answer the prayer. If you pray for any area in which you are involved, be ready for personal repentance — the Lord will work on you as well as others. Having a humble heart will go a long way toward answered prayer.
The Lord responds to certain prayers with more insight into how to pray for them. So prayer becomes a conversation. I have received insights regarding the things I’ve prayed for. Certainly, I’ve received much insight into how important a prayer list is! This list came to mind during one prayer session, then was edited for the web over a couple more days. This came from my desire for the Lord to teach me how to pray. God is good!
Answer in the comments if you would like some tips for keeping a prayer list.