I find it helpful on many levels to keep a prayer journal. There are several ways to do this, from a simple notebook to a calendar, to an actual journal. I’ve kept different kinds at different periods of my journey, so I’ll share some ideas here. I’d love to hear other ideas as well.
- Basic Journal– using a diary, journal or even a notebook, simply write down your prayer concerns each day.
- Weekly Focus Journal–This type of journal breaks down into a prayer focus for each day of the week– for example:
- Sunday: Praise and worship/Thanksgiving
- Monday: Workplace
- Tuesday: Government and community
- Wednesday: Family/Home
- Thursday: Personal growth
- Friday: World focus/Missions
- Saturday: Church/ministry
- Use focus points that work for where your heart is–maybe you want a day to pray for your friends and neighbors, and another whole day to pray for our nation and world; another day for school, or another area that has your heart.
- Daily Focus Journal– Each day has a special focus. I use birthdays and anniversaries for people I know; I also list countries, cities, and communities for each day of the year, and finally, I leave a space for immediate concerns and praise-worthy items.
If you are keeping a journal, it will be better if you:
- Keep it handy– keep a small journal in your purse or at your desk or bedside table.
- Keep it current– if you are using it daily, make notes– even small ones– as you use it.
- Leave room for answers! Don’t write on both sides of a page– periodically go back and write in answers– you will be amazed to see how God has worked (sometimes dramatically, sometimes quietly and in ways you could not have imagined) through your prayers.
- Go back and read your journal–Check to see if you are incorporating all four of the elements of prayer listed on the Proactive Prayer Points page. They won’t always be in balance each day, but if you find that you are consistently missing an element–it may be time to change things up!
For a global focus– begin praying for countries and people groups of the world. Some helpful resources to learn more include:
- Google or other search engines for specific groups of people or regions, especially those that are in the news.
- Wikipedia– for short intros to various countries
- Your local library for atlases, globes, books and more!
For a community focus, try the following:
- Go through a local phone book to pray for local church groups, businesses, services, and governmental agencies in your area
- Find out the names of local authorities– mayors, council members, chief of police, fire marshal, local teachers, school board members, business owners. Don’t stop there– make contact, get to know them and how you can help them through prayer, volunteering, and/or lending an ear
- If you have neighbors you don’t know– introduce yourself. You might make some new friends while you’re at it
- As you watch the local news or read through the local paper, pause and lift up people in prayer– victims of accidents or fires or crime, local leaders who are working to make changes in your community (regardless of whether those changes benefit you), new or growing (or struggling) businesses, community-wide efforts to create (or disrupt) unity and peace. Pray for wisdom to know how you might get involved or help beyond praying!