Three Reasons To Keep Prayer Lists

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests (Ephesians 6:18, NIV).

I’ve maintained prayer lists for close to 50 years.

A friend once challenged me about the need for prayer lists. I think his words were, “Isn’t it legalistic and laborious to maintain all your lists? I find more freedom just praying what’s on my mind in the morning.”

I’m still his friend, but I can list hundreds of answered prayers, and he can’t.  

Through the years, my faith has been built by amazing answers to specific prayers — sometimes asked years before — and I noted the answers later because I listed the requests.

I was able to say, “Wow, that prayer was asked in 2016, and it was answered in 2022.”  

Can my prayer listless friend, or even you, without prayer lists, remember a single prayer request from 2016?

I’ve found three benefits of keeping prayer lists:

  1. I remember the request.

A type of prayer noted in the Bible is intercession (1 Timothy 2:1). This type of prayer means coming continually before the Lord with a request until it’s answered, or we have peace if it’s not being answered.

The most significant factor of long-term intercession is remembering the request.

Long-term asking builds faith and insight into how God works and answers prayers.

  1. We are good stewards with our requests.

I believe that God gives prayer burdens as our assignments. Like our unique calling and spiritual gifts, God’s Spirit reveals His will to us so that we can work with Him in our prayers.

We get to be co-workers with God, but only if we are faithful stewards of our prayer requests. Maintaining a prayer list enables us to agree with God for His intended purposes.

  1. God reveals His will to us through prayer lists.

I never wanted to travel or be a short-term missionary. But God answered so many prayers for financing these trips that I couldn’t deny the trips were His will.

Before my first trip, my wife and I, with limited resources and paying tuition for two children in a Christian school, thought the Lord wanted us to travel to Russia. 

A trip that would cost about $4,000.  

I wrote on my prayer list, “God, if you want us to go, please provide $4,000.” Within the week, someone gave us the money. The same provision happened for about 20 trips before I (as a slow learner realized that God always finances His will.

Now, I’ve traveled on close to 100 mission trips, and God has given the money every time. In this area of praying, I have a 100 percent track record.

Let’s remember . . . 

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16). 

Our prayers align us with God’s will and power, especially when we keep and learn from our prayer lists!

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