Saturday, August 18, 2007

My Prayer Journal

The prayer journal idea sounds complex, but really, it's not at all. I started out using the ACTS acronym, which I got from a workshop a few years ago. I like it, but I felt like I was more concerned with following the pattern than speaking my heart. Not so good when your goal is spiritual fellowship.

I have a plain notebook, nothing special, although it does have grid paper rather than regular lines. I don't have a real reason for the grid paper; I just like it better. The prayer requests are separated under four headings:
  • Spiritual
  • Health
  • Work
  • The Rest (lol, really! I never said this was a proper, publishing house-worthy prayer journal.)
Nothing is completely set in stone, and I use it as a list more than anything else. Mostly, I use the categories when I make notes during the day, if I hear of a prayer that was answered or find out that someone else has requested prayer. And I do jot things down here and there during the day quite often.

Most people are assigned into categories, but I put a little description out beside it anyway, just to give me a little focus. Examples:
  • Dad -- heart, stomach, medicines
  • [Friend's son] -- family ties, friendship, Walk
  • [Friend's husband] -- new job, sustenance work until career position, encouragement
  • [Skeeter] -- deadlines, contractors, patience
It just gives me a little something to go on when I'm there, and I don't have to blank out and think, "Now what was it . . . ."

I use one sheet of paper for each day, and I rewrite it every day, doing my prayer as I go. It makes it easier for me to stay focused because I'm doing something that's tangible at the same time. Before I started the journal, my prayers wandered all over the place, just because I couldn't remember half of the things when I needed to remember them.

Generally, the left side of the page is taken up with various prayer requests, so I put my praises on the right side. Most of the time they're simple things, like Spyder getting 100% on his math, or being able to visit with a friend, but I try to have at least as many praises as requests. I think it's especially important to acknowledge the good as well as ask for help with the bad. Otherwise, I feel like my prayers sound as if I have a bad case of the gimmes, rather like the teen who will only talk to Dad when she needs something.

A prayer journal can be done many different ways, but it will only be helpful if you find the formula that works for you. I stumbled upon my method because of my wandering mind and love of lists. :)


PEZmama said...

"Love graph paper just like me."

Add that to the list of "Reasons why Noodle just might be my long lost twin." It's a growing list, you know.

Okay, now about the journal, can you clarify for me? You write stuff down during the day to pray for, then you rewrite it as you are praying? Is that how you do it?

Also, I like the idea of having more praises than requests.

Noodle said...

Yes, that's exactly it. I start the day with the journal, and I use it to jot notes during the day (if I have need). The next morning, I rewrite the previous day, leaving off the ones I don't need to pray for again (or move to the praise column), and adding the new ones.

It's just like doing a big outline, then moving things around as necessary on a daily basis.