“I’ll be praying for you, brother.” How many times do we say that and not mean it? We say it habitually, like “How ya doing?” But we don’t really care. It’s only casual talk.
Prayer is essential for believers. Unfortunately, it has been reduced to casual talk. Truth be told, we should be saturated in prayer—praying without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). We need to pray for others, and we need others to pray for us. Christians need prayer like my mother’s pork chops need sauce. Without it, the Christian life is not the same.
There are two reasons we don’t take prayer seriously. First, we don’t remember to pray. Second, we don’t know what to pray. Third, we lack the joy of praying. (The third one was free.)
I want to suggest an easy way to overcome the first two reasons and resolve the third—a simple prayer schedule. I’m not a fan of prayer journals—they rob me of my manhood. I use technology—it retains my geekhood.
My prayer schedule is in Apple Notes on my iPhone. It’s accessible and quick. I can tap it up like John Wayne draws in a gunfight. Then when I save, it is synchronized to my desktop computer, laptop computer, and my imaginary iPad Air.
So, in conversation with someone at church, I’ll whip out my phone and get to typing—after politely telling them, “Let me get this down so I can pray for it.” This always excites the person. “Finally, someone who really cares.” Give it a try. You’ll see.
Over time, you’ll receive many prayer requests, but don’t be overwhelmed. Here are five practices to keep your prayer life—and ultimately your love for others—consistently growing.
Write Your Prayer Requests
I have to say it for those who skipped everything above. Jot down your prayer requests immediately to help you remember and keep track. Life’s distractions can cause you to forget that you’ve agreed to pray for someone.
Group Your Prayer Requests
In this fallen world, prayer requests are numerous. You will likely have so many that one day is not enough time to pray. For this reason, I group my prayer requests into days, then into categories. Mondays are reserved for marriages—including my own. Tuesdays are for ministry team members. Wednesdays are for worship service and church leaders. Group your prayer requests to make sense to you.
Keep Your Prayer Requests
This was already mentioned, but needs an echo. Keep your prayer requests with you. Keep them on your phone, in your pocket, in your purse or wallet. At any moment, you might need to whip them out and pray. Or, you might need to manage the list by adding, removing, or updating requests.
Pray Your Prayer Requests
Be sure to pray! Hopefully, grouping and segmenting prayer requests will make your prayer time enjoyable and less a chore. Pray often. It’s best to pray the same time each day, especially in the morning before your activities begin.
Check Your Prayer Requests
Finally, with prayer requests always in reach, you’ll be reminded of people for whom you are praying. Ask them for updates. Ultimately, this has many benefits.
- It will stir up affection for others.
- It will stir up affection toward you.
- It will build faith in God.
A consistent and sincere prayer life will do wonders in your circle of friends and ministry, ultimately putting God’s glory on display and unifying the body of Christ.
How do you cultivate a consistent and sincere prayer life?