Prayer encompasses many things–it is a conversation, a discipline, and a journey. It involves talking to God about every aspect of one’s life, and listening for guidance and assurance from Him in return. It involves seeing Him for who He is and giving praise accordingly.
Often, we take this journey without ever making a plan. We commit to praying at mealtime (grace) or in times of crisis or stress (thoughts and prayers), but we pray without seeing it as a journey of faith.
That’s one reason I started keeping a prayer journal, and why I recommend it to others. I don’t write down what I say for grace, or how long I prayed yesterday compared with today. But I do write out various requests that come up each day. I also write down specific people or situations to lift up ahead of time–like charting a journey–so I have an idea “where I’m headed” in prayer for the day. Each day, I pray for a city, nation, or region of the world–that’s one type of “destination” for my prayers. I also have a list of people who are celebrating birthdays or anniversaries. Not only does this help give a focus to my prayers for this day, but it gives me insight from “where I’ve been” to help me in “where I’m going”.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t pray spontaneous and impulsive prayers. But it means that I have an outlook and a purpose that goes beyond the immediate and personal. God wants to have an intimate and personal time with me in prayer, but God is not exclusive in His love…He wants me to see others, to love others, and to include others in my thoughts, actions, and prayers. Each day, I am challenged to look beyond to see what God has done and is doing around me. And each day, I am challenged (and blessed) to participate in God’s work as I pray intentionally, and follow the “map” for this journey.
No one will have the same map or the same journey, but here are some suggestions if you’d like to start keeping a Prayer Journal:Prayer Journal