Keeping a prayer journal
I’m a list-maker by nature. The problem is that those lists are sometimes on napkins, tiny pieces of paper or Post-its, which means I occasionally find important notes – like the ones that list my prayer requests – crumpled up in my purse.
So clearly I needed one central place to track gratitude and concerns. But what I also needed was something that would prompt me to think of what I might do in addition to praying for people.
In what way could I offer friendship? In what way could I be an answer to prayer?
I took a small Moleskin notebook and started writing out a standard form.
What was the prayer request?
Did it require a card? A meal? A gift? An old-fashioned telephone call?
I try to take care of written correspondence on Sunday afternoons — birthday cards, pictures to Mama, thank you notes — so I added reviewing this new prayer journal to my routine.
And I thought I was brilliant until I realized I spent a lot of time with my prayer journal on Sundays, but very little through the rest of the week. Every now and then I’d pull it out of my bag and jot down notes about a friend’s illness or family member who was mourning, but it certainly wasn’t serving as a daily reminder.
I needed that list in a place I’d bump into it several times a day. For me, that meant my planner, the place that holds everything my memory can’t.
I use an electronic planner for work and a paper planner for home and freelance writing, so I can clip my list in either place. Each time I check the time of an appointment or the date an assignment is due, I see that Marcia’s young friend is still recovering from her car accident and Danny, with his great talents, needs a suitable job. That Kathy’s mom struggles with dementia and Linda is heading to Africa to bring home her little boy.
In the moment it takes to type in my password or gather my notebook for the next meeting, I’ve said a simple prayer. I’ve thanked God for blessings and brought the needs of myself and others before him.
My system still isn’t perfect, but my hope is that I’ll get better and better at reaching out to people and up to God.
If you’d like a free prayer journal page to print out and use, visit www.SimplyFaithful.com.
Marketta Gregory is a former religion reporter who now shares her own journey of faith with readers. She lives in Rochester, New York, with her husband, their three young boys and one very vocal Pomeranian. To contact Gregory, email email@example.com or write to her at P.O. Box 12923, Rochester, NY 14612. You can also visit the Simply Faithful page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter at @MarkettaGregory.