As I’ve been exploring how to improve my prayer life this year, I’ve developed a prayer binder that has been immensely helpful to me. I’ve said it before, and it bears repeating: no system of prayer or prayer tool will produce a vibrant prayer life. A deeper prayer life will only develop if you get on your knees and pray. There have been months when, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I have been disciplined to get my hiney out of bed and USE the prayer binder in actual prayer. And there have been months when the prayer binder has gone unopened. It does very little good in that case. I hope these ideas might encourage you and inspire you to find a system that will facilitate a more vibrant and disciplined prayer life . . . just remember that this is a means, not the end.
In the past, I’ve used a spiral notebook to record prayers, leaving a couple of blank lines below each request to record the answer. It worked okay, but there were some requests that were answered fairly quickly, and others that were long-term requests. So I would have to start on page one and flip through the entire notebook to find the “active” prayer requests. It also did not incorporate the elements of praise, confession and thanksgiving.
So earlier this year, I switched to a prayer binder.
Those are my goals for 2010 in the front. Inside, I have a few hymns:
And these nifty tabs – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Intercession.
And finally, a section to make notes about prayers or hymns that are meaningful to me in my prayer life. (Most of these notes come from The Valley of Vision. And yes, it drives me nuts that I apparently forgot how to spell “hymns” when writing on this tab.)
By the time I’ve gone through the entire binder, God and I have spent a nice bit of time together. It keeps me focused and on track, rather than offering a rote “Get me through this day, and please keep us healthy” and heading for the shower.
I’m going to address each these sections in their own post. But I will suggest one small, but important, aspect of my prayer binder to you. At the front of my intercession section, I have a weekly prayer list. I developed this list of people to pray for on each day of the week by listing all the individuals and groups I wanted to pray for over the course of the week, and then assigning each one to the day of the week. I left Sunday open for focused time on the rest of my intercession section, which lists short-term and long-term needs. Here’s a sample of what a weekly prayer list might look like:Share