Praying is hard. It is a discipline that takes time and conscious effort, not to mention commitment, to develop. However, one of the things that will make prayer much easier is having a prayer list. Here are nine reasons you should have a prayer list.
1. A prayer list will help you pray with integrityWe’ve seen that a sign of fake prayer is praying meaningless words. If you find yourself praying the same things over and over, a prayer list can take some of the hard work out of it. With each item on your prayer list, there is probably something specific that you want to present to the Lord about that item. If it is a person, perhaps there is something for which they’ve asked you to pray. If not, you could ask them how you can pray for them. Even if they give a generic answer, you can ask clarifying questions to help you get specific. If you can’t get as particular as you would like, pray for them, and then ask how things are and tell them you’ve been praying for them. They might be more willing to give information later on. As you read through the Bible, you can extend the requests based on your reading, fine tuning what you pray so that it is more aligned to what the word of God says. Something that the Lord convicts you about is often a good thing to pray for yourself and others. A prayer list will help you pray with integrity by giving you specific things to pray for so that you don’t use meaningless words.
2. It will help you keep promises to pray for peoplePraying for people is a way to be a blessing to them. But it’s easy to forget. Have you ever had a conversation with someone in which you ended the discussion by offering to pray for them, and then you go away and forget? I have. The Lord convicted me about this, and now I make it a habit to either pray with them then and there or to put them on my prayer list so that I can pray for them regularly. Having a prayer list ensures that I keep my promises to pray for people.
3. It will help you pray meaningfully for people and thingsMeaningful prayer is related to praying with integrity, but in this case, a prayer list adds meaning because not only are you avoiding meaningless repetition, you’re also praying for real needs. If you use a prayer list, you have to maintain the prayer list. Keeping a prayer list requires that we check with people, to ensure that what we are praying is still relevant (the Lord may have answered!). Following up like this communicates to people that you care for them, and as you interact with others and their needs and what the Word of God says about their needs, you’ll develop much more meaning in your prayer time. All thanks to your prayer list.
A prayer lists adds meaning to your prayer because you’re praying for real needs.
4. A prayer list will help you encourage peopleSpeaking of praying for the needs of others, by putting them on a list and then following up, you communicate to people that their needs are important to you and your interaction will be an encouragement to them. Praying also opens opportunities for you to minister to others in other ways, and perhaps to discussions about areas of their lives in which they need help.
5. It will help you keep your commitment to be a praying personMany people make a commitment at the beginning of the new year to pray more. Few achieve it without a clear plan. A prayer list is an excellent way to keep that commitment because having the list provides a little accountability. It is great to resolve to pray more, and we must put aside the time for prayer, but if you do these things and don’t have something to pray for, it will be very hard to maintain that commitment to pray.
6. A prayer list will help you pray consistentlyOne of the struggles, when we come to pray, is what to pray for. With a prayer list, you won’t have this problem, since there will always be a list of needs to pray through. Not only this, but you will be able to revisit different needs on a regular basis. There are some things you’ll want to pray for every day (specific areas of weakness, family members) and there will be other things that you’ll want to pray for several times a week or once every few weeks. A prayer list will keep you pray with consistency because items that you have on the list will keep coming up on their schedule. Even if your routine is interrupted and some major life event happens, when you re-establish your prayer time, the list keeps bringing you back to pray because you know the needs and your daily interactions with others remind you of the items on your prayer list. You can’t pray for everything every day, but you can still be persistent in prayer.
A prayer list requires that you deal with the corruption in your own heart evidenced in your resistance to prayer
7. A prayer list will help you to be others centeredPrayer is a way to serve others, and as we serve others, our attitude toward others changes. As you pray for others, your concern and love for them will grow, especially as you grow your involvement with them. It isn’t magical, but if you want to change your heart toward someone, committing yourself to praying that the Lord will bless them and give them joy in Him is a great way to grow your love for them. The more you include others in your prayer list, the less you will find yourself praying for your own wants and needs, and this helps you grow in your desire and ability to serve others.
8. It will help you grow in holinessBecause we all continue to struggle with the flesh every day, we need all the help we can get to grow in holiness. Because a prayer list helps you stay consistent, it will require that you deal with the corruption in your own heart evidenced in your resistance to prayer. Therefore, as you confront your heart’s resistance to prayer and confess it to the Lord, you’ll grow in holiness. We also need to pray for our growth in holiness. Our list should include the roles that we have (father, mother, husband, wife, church member, etc.). A list helps us think about how we can grow in these roles, and this will help us bring our spiritual needs to the Lord. Doing this helps us to consciously develop our obedience to the Lord because praying through our roles helps us assess our strengths and weaknesses in these.
9. It will help you become more thankfulWe are commanded to be thankful (Col 3:15) because it is the will of God that His people are thankful (1 Thess 5:18). Each time we pray, it should include thanksgiving. Your prayer list is a great place to keep a list of things for which to thank the Lord. If you keep a thankfulness list, why not combine it with your prayer list? If you don’t keep a list of things to be thankful, can I encourage you to start? Include in this list mundane things and recognize that every good gift is from the Lord.
Your prayer list is a great place to keep a list of things for which to thank the Lord.These are 9 reasons that I’ve found motivate me to keep and maintain a prayer list. I’m still growing in my own prayer life, but having a prayer list has been a great advantage in my own development, and I’m sure it will be helpful to you too.