edit: I just want to add a quick disclaimer that this post is meant to just be a tool to your already established prayer time that’s led by the Lord. It’s not a post describing in detail about prayer, or the importance of prayer, but I’d love post something like that in the future. This post is a tool for organizing prayer requests and things that are already on your heart to be praying.
A few years ago I realized I really wanted to find a way to “organize” my prayer life. I’m gonna go ahead and apologize now for being so hopelessly type A.
But, you know how when you bump into someone and they say something like, “Oh my gosh, hey, thank you so much for praying for me! This and this has happened and I’m so thankful for your prayers!” And you smile and say praise the Lord as your mind flashes back to that moment last month you said you’d pray for them and utterly forgot? Oh that’s never happened to you? Okay well you can stop here then. Haha, no keep reading– this can still help you !
For that particular situation, I’ve learned to just stop right there and pray with the person at the moment we’re talking about it. But, now I also send myself an email as a reminder to keep praying, and then I add that prayer request to my prayer binder later.
I think of my prayer binder as my portable prayer closet. I’ve never really had an extra closet or space to be able to use specifically for prayer, so I just started keeping all my prayer stuff in a binder so I could take it with me during my devotion time to wherever happens to be quiet in the house at the moment.
I honestly love having it, because it helps me to stay focused and to make sure I’m remembering certain prayer requests. A lot of times, I’m praying in the early morning and I can forget what I was hoping to be praying about. Plus I have mom brain, which is real.
It’s really simple to make one, all you need is a three ring binder, paper and dividers. I also use page protectors because my people like to draw all over my stuff.
Before I tell you how I organize mine, I just want to start off by saying at first, it may seem a little much or overwhelming. Mine started small and I built it over time, so if you want to make one, don’t feel like you have to have all the details together right now. It is something you can start and keep building on. This is what mine looks like, but as you pray about what’s important to keep in yours, it may look much different than mine.
How I organize my prayer binder:
First, I have a Weekly Prayer List that’s labeled with each day of the week. This was the first prayer organizational step I ever took, and for a while it was all that I had in my prayer binder. A pastor’s wife in Mexico shared this tip at a ladies Bible study and since then I make one and update it every year. I used to wonder how people could say that they would pray for this and that and the other thing, I couldn’t figure out how they had all the time or how they could remember. Separating topics and names throughout the week really helps me. I write certain topics or people’s names(for example, if someone asks me for prayer, I don’t write the request, just their name helps me to remember). I also include all my family, many friends, ministry leaders and pastors at my church, missionaries, and local churches.
Some general topics I include: Salvation, The Persecuted Church, Illnesses and Healing, Work, School, and Personal Ministry. In these general topics I just ask God to help jog my thoughts towards people that may need prayer.
The Next Section I have is my Every Day Prayer List.
This section is pretty personal and contains bullet points for things I want to see developed in my life. For example, my list includes:
-Living to please God today
-Loving God with all my heart and others as myself
-Sincere close walk with God for my family
-Opportunities, Boldness and Love in ministering and witnessing
-My children and my husband
I also include a Personal Prayer List for Each of my Kids and Husband
My husband’s list I go through every day. Most of what’s on it I copied from Kay Smith’s book “The Privilege” which is one of my favorites.
Some of the things she suggests to pray are:
-Wisdom what to teach and sensitivity to the needs of the hearers
-Strength in temptation
-Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding of God’s will (Col 1:9)
-Wisdom in parenting and leading our home, blessing on our marriage
-That he would be aware of God’s nearness
On my kids’s lists:
I keep a list of Bible verses that God has put on my heart and pray them for my kids. I normally will write out the verse in a way to personalize it for them.
And then I have some verses that are specific for each kiddo, like for my youngest son, I have 1 Timothy 4:12,”Let no one despise his youth, but may he set an example in speech, conduct, faith and purity”.
I add on to these lists as the verses come up or are put on my heart for each person.
Next I have a yearly prayer list.
This section includes big goals I’d prayerfully like to accomplish this year. Some that made my list this year included starting a blog (check ✔–but still needs prayer) and hopefully getting rid of all our credit cards. I pray for this list once a week, I have it written in on my weekly prayer list, “pray for yearly goals”.
Also on this list I have my verse that I picked for the year. My verse this year is 1 Corinthians 9:26-27
Other things I keep in my binder:
–Important verses or prayer strategies I have in their own section. For example, a couple years ago I did Priscilla Shirer’s “Armor of God” Bible study and it came with prayer cards, I have those in that section. This really comes in handy during hard times to have these verses already together.
–Scrap Paper or Sticky Notes. Without fail, when I’m praying things will pop in my head to do. It may be something God is leading to me do through prayer, like call a certain friend and check on them for example. Sometimes its just a silly thing, like oh yeah its trash day. So, I keep the sticky notes in my binder so I can write these things down so I won’t forget and can fight the temptation to stop and do it right then. Afterwards I have an already started to-do list which you know my type A loves.
–A section with blank paper, in case I want to do some journaling or blog writing.
–General “wish lists”– I started this back when we lived in Mexico. When we first moved we were newly married and started off with a small amount of personal things. People were so sweet when they would come visit and ask what we needed. A lot of times I couldn’t even think of what those things were. So, I started keeping a list when I realized, “Oh we need some tongs” or something like that. I don’t necessarily pray over this list often, because we don’t have major things that we need, but I do have hopes for home organization and things like that. It’s fun to dream and really cool to look back at the end of the year and see God’s provision.
–Something I’m planning to add is a thankfulness list. I do normally just pray what I’m thankful for, but I would love to start keeping a list of answered prayers or things to thank God about.
So, that’s my prayer binder! I love it. But, it’s all really just a guide. It helps me stay on track, but I definitely do veer off because we’re talking about talking to God, He’s alive and responds, His Holy Spirit leads us, and prayer is having a conversation, not just a list of things that we bring to Him. So, the binder isn’t meant to be binding. It’s just a tool that has helped me and I hope some of the ideas can be a blessing to your prayer life as well!