Tools for Prayer

"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication." (Ephesians 6:17-18a, ESV)

How is that Quiet Time going?  As you establish these basic disciplines of time in the word balanced with time in prayer, you'll be way ahead of many who go to the mission field!  But what about keeping on top of our ever-growing prayer lists?  How do we keep praying for everyone we know without becoming overwhelmed to the point of giving up?  That's the biggest challenge most of us face in our prayer life.  There just isn't enough time in a day to pray for every need facing us and those we love.

Veteran Navigator missionary, Roy Robertson was trained early on to keep a set of prayer lists in order to keep things manageable and stay faithful in prayer.  He called these lists the Temporary Prayer List, Permanent Prayer List and Daily Prayer List.  A set of blank lists is available for download, if you find them useful.

Many of the requests we pray have definite, clear answers.  That's where the Temporary Prayer List comes in.  For example, a friend needs a job:  We begin praying for him, recording the date we begin and the request in the left-hand column of the List.  We pray until he lands work, then we record the date of the answer and rejoice with our friend before God.  We no longer need to pray for that need, because it is answered.  As time goes by and we look back over our Temporary Prayer List, we find the answer column filling up.  What a great encouragement as we realize God is listening to us and answering our prayers.  Each answer is also an item of thanksgiving to God that we can review in our conversations with Him.  Think of how our faith is strengthened as we are reminded of these "Ebenezers."

But not everything we desire to pray for is so cut and dried.  That's where the Permanent and Daily Prayer Lists come in.  Normally, time does not permit us to pray for every person and need we know of.  So the Permanent Prayer List ensures that we pray for all our long-term concerns at least once a week.  It is divided into weekdays on one side and categories across the top.  (These categories are only suggestions; feel free to modify them to suit your needs.)  Use it to record a person’s name or a general prayer need in each block.  (If there is a specific need, for which you will see a definite answer, remember to record that in your Temporary Prayer List.)  For example, under Family you might write your father’s name for prayer on Monday, your mother’s name for Tuesday, etc. Then on Monday, pray for all people or needs listed under that day for each category.

However, there are some people or things we feel once a week just won’t do.  How about our spouse or children?  Or maybe we're not content praying for our parents once a week.  What about a long-term request such as for growth in a certain area or character quality?  There may be lots of signs along the way that we're maturing in that area, but chances are we won't finish praying for those things until we reach Heaven.  These things we would record in a Daily Prayer List and remember them every day.  Again, clearly defined, one-off needs would be listed in the Temporary Prayer List.

I pray these tools help you remain constant in prayer for the saints.  A healthy prayer life combined with a strong intake and disciplined practice of the Word will make you a formidable force in God's Kingdom.


Courtesy of Roy Robertson and Training Evangelistic Leadership