To this end, also we pray for you always that our God will count you worthy of your calling and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power (2 Thessalonians 1:11, NASB1995).
I recently read a statistic indicating that 95 percent of believers use some type of calendar (paper or electronic) to keep their schedule, while only five percent write down their prayers.
We keep events on a calendar because we don’t want to forget something. We should write down our prayer requests for the same reason. If we tell someone, “I will pray for you,” we should pray and not forget.
Forgetting was the reason that I started keeping prayer lists.
When I was in my early 20s, our ministry had several hundred high school and college-age attendees, and they needed lots of prayers! Lots of prayers! One morning I had been praying, and at the end of my prayers, I didn’t have peace.
I kept thinking, “I know there is someone or something else that needs prayers.”
My mind then jumped on my obsessive treadmill. I tried to remember but just became more anxious. An hour later, I gave up and asked, “God, what can I do about this? I have more anxiety at the end of my prayers than at the beginning.”
God’s simple answer: “Keep prayer lists!”
HHHHMMMHHM. Sometimes the Spirit doesn’t have to say a lot. There isn’t a need for intricate advice or deep theology. Many of the best words that I have heard from God have been simple and to the point …
Keep Prayer Lists!
I began keeping prayer lists. I found that lists restored my peace in praying.
I listed all the people needing prayer (and their requests). I listed my specific requests about all topics. I had all those who were sick or struggling on a list. I had notes about the needs of my ministry.
My obsessive nature calmed down. I knew that if I couldn’t remember a request that it would show up eventually on one of my lists.
I found prayer lists so helpful that I couldn’t stop making them. I developed these lists:
1. Those with emergency needs
2. Elders and leaders of the ministry
3. My family members (a list for everyone)
4. People who had asked me to pray for them
5. World events, including world peace!
6. Missions and missionaries
7. Upcoming mission trips
8. Church financial needs
9. Personal and family financial needs
10. People that I was discipling
11. For specific individuals to be saved
… and on and on – about 26 prayer lists.
My obsessive nature returned with a vengeance!!!
But I still had peace. One prayer list prayed per day, and I could keep track of prayers and answers for hundreds of requests.
Please don’t jump on my obsessive treadmill, but I think we all should keep prayer lists.
Try keeping four lists:
4. Kingdom (church, missions, etc.)
Many of my requests develop through faithful praying over and over. Some requests need a breakthrough, some requests require increased revelation, some requests will grow in urgency or be revealed to have bad motives, and some requests will be quickly answered.
My success in praying through the years would have been impossible without lists.
Okay, stop. Be still and listen. What do you hear the Spirit saying?
Keep prayer lists!