One of my life goals is to be a “prayer warrior.” On paper, I solemnly wrote this goal, as well as others, after becoming a Christian at the age of 19. It’s a goal that’s dear to me. Recently I was encouraged to better organize my prayer life, when I heard the story of a real prayer warrior and Godly mom. According to this woman’s son, who wrote honoring her shortly after her death, this Godly woman was accustomed to praying for literally everyone she knew on a weekly basis. While going through some of her belongings after her death, he found his mom’s prayer journal, and was struck by the faithfulness and endurance of her prayers. If someone had shared a request with her, she would pray daily for that request until given leave to stop or the prayer was answered. Someone had shared with him that, referring to something they’d asked her to pray about some time ago, she wondered if it would be alright if she were to move that request from her daily to her weekly list. At her funeral, virtually every person in attendance was listed personally by name on her prayer list.
How did she do it? The first of the things we can learn from this Godly prayer warrior was that she was faithful in praying for requests daily, so she must have had a set and dedicated prayer time. Also, her son noted that, in her prayer journal, she divided her long list equally among the days of the week. She seems to have kept an organized record of requests and answers, as well.
My prayer organization has a long ways to go–I’m not in this Godly woman’s league yet–but here are some of the ways I’m attempting to be more organized and faithful in this area, some of which are based on her example. (If you have found a way which really works well for you to record prayer requests and answers, please let me know.) I realize that this post may be a little intimidating, but please realize that you can implement as much, or little, of this as you can handle. The way I think of it in my own life is, if I follow this even partially, I’m praying more regularly in each of these areas and I am able to blanket these areas in a “cover of prayer.” I never completely follow this prayer schedule, and parts of it are still “under construction,” (as I am), but the goal is always before me and makes me a more disciplined pray-er as I aim towards the goal of becoming a “prayer warrior.”
First, I divided up “everyone I know” (or at least everyone I intend to pray for on a regular basis) into the weekdays. Our church printed up a cardstock bookmark with each family listed next to a number 1-31, in order to facilitate praying for them. I keep this bookmark in my Bible, and during our Family Devotions, I try to remember to look at it and pray for the family or families according to the day. During my personal prayer time, I can look at this or our church’s directory and so I only had to write down those names not associated with our church, according to the first letter of their last name. I pray for them according to this schedule: Monday: Last names beginning with A-E, Tuesday: F-J, Wednesday: K-O, Thursday: P-T, Friday: U-Z.
I pray a lot for our teaching Elders: the men who lead our church, and their families. But, lest I slip in this area, on the day of the week (Monday, Wednesday and Thursday) that relates to the first letter of their last name, I have a time slot written down to spend time praying for them and their families.
Besides praying weekly for all the families in our church, I would like to focus on one family each week of the year. (This is a Prayer Goal for 2010.) Some ideas for making this more personal are: Ask the “Featured Family” for specific prayer requests; put their picture on the fridge or in a prominent place as a reminder to pray for them throughout the day; invite them over for dinner to get to know them better, if they live near enough; send an encouraging card or note to let them know that they’re going to be prayed for during the upcoming week, or that you’ve been praying for them that week.
Next, there are eight missionaries that we are especially interested in, supporting and/or praying for and I have assigned a day of the week to each of them. On two days of the week there are two missionaries to pray for, but they’re grouped together either because they are related by family–we pray for one missionary who’s a retired widow and then, also, her daughter and her family, who are carrying on the work–or they’re related by the focus of their mission work: (two of the missionaries work specifically with pregnancy resource centers, so I pray for them on the same day, even though one is in Israel and one is in Minnesota. (Speaking of which, the PRC in St. Cloud, MN is having a Pie Auction tonight at 7:00 p.m.! Many of our church’s moms and daughters contributed pies for this event, which will benefit the Pregnancy Resource Center. Please pray for this event, and attend, if you live in the area!)
Next, I pray for the salvation of our neighbors, family and friends. There are eight neighbors who we know and are praying for, who I’ve divided up on the days between Monday and Friday. On Sunday, when I have an extended time for prayer, I pray for our unsaved family and other friends.
One day I realized that there are 50 states in America and 52 weeks in the year, and that this fact would make it easy to pray for my country in a more focused way throughout the year. There are many ways you can do this. I chose to pray alphabetically through the list, but you could also pray by region, or if you prefer, you could pray for 2 states per day, thereby praying through the whole country every month. On the back of the bookmark I spoke of earlier, I have written all 50 states, alphabetically. Praying for the states might encourage you, as an individual, or as Homeschooling families, to study more about each state. I usually pray for the leaders: governor, mayors, senators, etc., for their salvation, for wisdom, that they’ll receive Godly counsel and that they will make decisions that will be according to God’s will. If I know of specific issues in their state, of course I pray for those, too. And I pray that the decisions and laws which they make will allow Christians under their authority to “lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” (1 Timothy 2:2)
I have yet to institute a schedule of praying for the countries of the world on a regular basis, but you can do this alphabetically, or by region of the world, or by people groups or by religion–there are many ways to do this, and also, this would be a great Homeschooling project. We prayed for many of the countries one year as we studied World Geography, by studying and finding out about the people in each country we were praying for, studying them alphabetically within regions of the world, and using Operation World (www.operationworld.org) as a jumping-off point. Go to this link www.infoplease.com/countries.html (*click “skip the ads” to go back to the country’s info once a country is selected), for more information about each country, including what its flag looks like, a map of the country, its geography, history, population, president, and facts, figures and articles.
Each week I also pray for these specific areas: Sunday, I pray for widows and orphans (James 1:27); Monday, the National Government and Tuesday, our State Government (1 Timothy 2:1-2); Wednesday, Missions around the world; Thursday, Our Church; Friday, Persecuted Christians around the world.
So, I made a chart to help me keep track of who and what to pray for each day. I haven’t figured out how to paste an Excel or Word Document into my blog, so I’ll do this a different way. This is how it looks:
- Sunday: Pray for 1 missionary; Salvation of family and friends; Widows and Orphans; the State and Family of the Week; and (optional) Country of the Week.
- Monday: Pray for people with Last Names A-E; the salvation of 2 neighbors; one missionary; one Elder; the National Government; the State and Family of the Week; and (optional) Country of the Week.
- Tuesday: Pray for people with Last Names F-J; 2 missionaries; Salvation of 1 neighbor; the State Government; the State and Family of the Week; and (optional) Country of the Week.
- Wednesday: Pray for people with Last Names K-O; 1 missionary; 1 Elder; Salvation of 2 Neighbors; World Missions; the State and Family of the Week; and (optional) Country of the Week.
- Thursday: Pray for people with Last Names P-T; 2 missionaries; 1 Elder; Salvation of 2 Neighbors; Our Church; the State and Family of the Week; and (optional) Country of the Week.
- Friday: Pray for people with Last Names U-Z; 1 missionary; Salvation of 1 Neighbor; The Persecuted Church; the State and Family of the Week; and (optional) Country of the Week.
- Saturday: Catch up and pray for other requests and things the Lord lays on your heart.
You may also wish to fast and pray one or more days a week for a more concentrated time of prayer on these and other things which are near and dear to the Lord’s, and your, heart.