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Write … in a Prayer Notebook?

August 10, 2010

With more information to process than ever before, people are scrambling to write down what is vital to life. For you it may be a menu, appointments, lesson plans, or chores; if we want to track it, we write it down. What are you tracking?

God established a pattern of writing what matters. Since we matter to Him, He engraved us on His hands. Isaiah 49:16 In Proverbs 3:1-3 we read that His teaching, love, and faithfulness should not be forgotten, so we need to write them on the tablet of our hearts.Β  Do you hear the theme of writing not to forget? It’s just so …. “human” to forget. We are not only forgetful, but we are easily distracted, and easily rerouted.Β  God Himself shows us the value of writing down what matters:

  • writing down “our days” ~ Psalm 139:16 I can’t wait to see this Book!
  • writing down our names in heaven ~ Luke 10:20/Phil. 4:3 I want to be sure I’m IN this Book!
  • writing down His truth to bring us life ~ John 20:31 I’m so glad He thought of this!
  • writing down what fills our lives & history ~ Daniel 10:21 This one probably has a long reservation list in heaven!

In pursuing the work of prayer, we can take a cue from the God’s pattern and write down what matters most. By having a Prayer Notebook with tools to strengthen our communication and to track the content of our communication, we overcome some pitfalls that cause us to bail out on practicing prayer. The notebook style isn’t important, but using a prayer tool makes a difference. Each year I buy the cheapest planner Wal-Mart has to offer, and I record valuable contact info, dates I don’t want to miss, names of people I need to keep, and then the daily stuff of life as it happens. I write everything what matters most, and it is an invaluable tool to me. It completely changes how productive, reliable, and at peace I am. Let me suggest some tools and some content to include in a Prayer Notebook:

  • Content: A section for worship/praise, confession, thanksgiving, and requests. You may include a space to journal. Cards to respond to God’s leading.
  • Tools: Scripture about each focus area, a list of the names of God (use them), “triggers” (photos, cards, bulletins,etc)

My friend Cindy shared an overview of her Prayer Notebook last week, giving invaluable ideas & pictures. Sandra shared yesterday about Prayer Cards. This coming Friday I’ll share several graphic organizers as options for tools to include in your Prayer Notebook.

So what do you write in? A planner? A journal? A lesson plan book? A scrapbook? There’s a lot of information to remember and manage. If we were God, we could write it all on our hand. πŸ˜‰ Tracking our prayer lives in a Prayer Notebook helps us stay focused, recall reasons to give thanks, and stay consistent.

What do you use to help you make your prayer time prime time?

25 Comments leave one →
  1. August 10, 2010 7:36 am

    Thank you Julie for this very practical tool. I am inspired to put together my own notebook!

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      August 10, 2010 9:24 am

      When I think of the wall in front of your desk, it’s like a prayer notebook wall.

  2. August 10, 2010 8:25 am

    In the past, I’ve used an inexpensive journal to record my quiet times and prayer times with God. (Currently, I’m just using a spiral bound notebook.) I record the Scriptures I read each day, my reflections and observations, my prayers, etc.

    I love to go back and read my journals – seeing how God has moved across the pages of my life. I find that writing out my prayers (even ones I’m praying that someone else has written) makes it personal to me and I have to think about the words more – it helps me to focus on what I’m saying to God. I like to keep all my journal/notebooks, and I hope someday that I can share parts of them with my children, showing them that God is faithful!

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      August 10, 2010 9:26 am

      Yes, Ashley, what a beautiful gift to pass on to your children someday. That may give us a glimpse into how God thinks of passing on His Word to us. I find that using an inexpensive journal actually helps me to “take it with me” and make it more a part of my regular life. Example today … going to the lake for a picnic and going to take my journal. I like having it “mobile” so I use it often.

  3. August 10, 2010 8:43 am

    LOVE this, Julie! You are so practical! I love taking the tools we already use and making them a part of our spiritual discipline … great insight. And I love the reminder that God writes the important things down. Beautiful.

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      August 10, 2010 9:27 am

      Love to think of God as a writer!

  4. August 10, 2010 8:48 am

    Julie, thanks for the reminder. At one time, I used a prayer journal and have gotten away from it. But you are so right, we as humans, just can’t contain all the “stuff” we have to juggle, and it’s hard for me to keep all my prayer request in my head at any given moment. I am encouraged to go back to my prayer journaling. I can’t wait to see your options for tools to use.

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      August 10, 2010 9:28 am

      I hope the tools will be helpful for you as you get started again. It really does help me in keeping track of all that “stuff” that I want to remember. A little confession … turning 40 was one of those times of life when I was really motivated to use my journal more. It’s a great help to remembering. πŸ™‚

  5. Robin permalink
    August 10, 2010 8:52 am

    Ashley, I noticed you said ‘even the prayers that someone else has written’. I like to do that – but sometimes I feel like I’m cheating. I love the Valley of Vision prayer book. What are everyone’s thoughts are using other’s prayers as our own?

    • August 10, 2010 9:10 am

      I LOVE the Book of Common Prayer! But I also love using what the biblical writers prayed and making it my own. (More on that Wed & Thur this week!)

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      August 10, 2010 9:31 am

      I haven’t used a lot of other people’s prayers, but when I do, it helps me to be able to meditate on the truths applied in conversation with the Lord. People say things differently than I would, and so reading through/praying through their prayers helps me to think of what and how I’m praying in new ways. Definitely keep in mind Teri Lynne’s tip about biblical prayers to make them our own … I really do enjoy using the words of scripture in my prayers. I really believe it adds power and gives me peace and confidence. Tomorrow and Thursday will be great insights for doing that.

  6. August 10, 2010 9:19 am

    I have small journals that I use for my prayer time and that I take notes in during sermons. I have over 20 of them from over the years and I love to go back and see answered prayer, ways God orchestrated things and lessons learned. A prayer journal is a wonderful communication tool for my moments with Jesus..

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      August 10, 2010 9:24 am

      What a beautiful collection to have, like a “memorial” of how God has taught you His truth and been active in your life! I love that Melissa.

  7. August 10, 2010 11:26 am

    Julie ~ I LOVE this!! Most of the time, I revert to using a note book, but sometimes I switch it up and journal through my prayers and Bible reading times.

    I love how you connected the writing model the Lord gives us throughout Scripture. Awesome reason to write what’s important…and our prayer life is very important.

  8. August 10, 2010 12:08 pm

    Love the verses you pointed out on God writing! I use a sketch pad and my favorite sharpie pens for my prayer journal. It does feel good to write down our thoughts.

  9. Angela permalink
    August 10, 2010 4:30 pm

    I want to keep a prayer notebook/spiritual journal, but I have the hardest time getting started. Do you have any practical tips for that first blank page?

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      August 11, 2010 5:20 pm

      That’s such a good question. That terrible first page. πŸ™‚ Yes, I have 2 ideas.  First, on Friday there will be some organizers presented in a post here at the Dig, and I would encourage you to take the Letter option, print it out, write it, and read it out loud. Then paste it into a simple spiral notebook. That will be your beginning.  My high school Gov’t teacher always said, “The hardest part of anything is the start.”

      Secondly, I would suggest you start with a single page of blessings and burdens.  Begin by addressing the Lord as in a letter, and use the name most personal for you.  I like to use “Dear Father” best.  Then tell Him your hopes for beginning to journal your conversations with Him, and ask for His help to use it for your growth and greater intimacy with Him.  Write it like a letter to a dear friend. Then make a bulleted list of recent blessings and current burdens.  Try for about 5 of the top ones that come to mind for each. Then write your closing to the Lord.  Before you finish, touch each one of those blessings and burdens and verbally speak it out in prayer to the Lord.  The next day, jot down a scripture next to a few – promises for God’s thoughts for that blessing/burden.  As progress is made or provided, make note of that in the margin, too.

      You might find a graphic organizer this Friday that really appeals to you, but this 2nd suggestion is a great way to begin.  Then next week, write a new letter.  Your prayer journal (and your more intimate walk with the Lord) will have begun!  I’m so excited for how God will bless you as you respond to how the Holy Spirit is planting this desire in your heart.  Let us know how it’s going and if we can help!

      Blessings, Julie

      Julie Sanders

  10. August 10, 2010 5:43 pm

    I have a terrible memory and often find that I beat myself up when I realize that I didn’t lift something up in prayer, and think to myself, “why didn’t I pray about that?”. I recently started writing topics down in a notebook and have found it really helps me stay consistent in praying for things that I need to DAILY lift before the Lord. I also record here things that I have researched that I don’t know how to pray about. For instance, praying for a prodigal. I filled an entire page writing scriptural prayers about that subject alone! This has really been very helpful for me and I am hoping to fine tune it very soon.

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      August 10, 2010 9:50 pm

      Great example of how to use a prayer notebook.  It sounds like yours just grew beautifully out of your desire to pray more faithfully.  What a great testimony!

      Julie Sanders

  11. August 10, 2010 5:56 pm

    I enjoyed reading this post. My first thought when commenting is to write “I am awful about journaling”; however, I am realizing that it’s not quite true. I carry a hardcover spiral in my purse. I write scriptures, thoughts, God’s commands, promises, etc. I record things that fill me with his presence. I am going to add prayers.

    I look forward to the next series of posts. Thanks!

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      August 11, 2010 5:21 pm

      It sounds like you are already off to a great start! And what a good idea to carry it in your purse. I have lots of napkins and scraps of paper with truths and prayers I want to remember from the events of my days. πŸ™‚ I bring home the scribbles to transfer to a better place. Blessings as you expand the treasures you write.

      Julie Sanders

  12. August 10, 2010 11:05 pm

    I write my prayers in a little note-book. It not only helps me to prayer specific prayers, but also keeps record on God’s faithfulness when the prayers I prayed were answered in His time πŸ™‚


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