Prayer journals. Every book I've ever read about prayer says you should have one. And yet very few of us actually take the time to organize a prayer journal and even fewer of us follow through on actually using it. There's something overwhelming and intimidating about the whole process.
My lovely and very-organized friend Pam says you should have one. One day she told me a story. Shortly after her father's very unexpected death, she and her mother were sorting through his things and they found his most recent prayer journal. “My father was always the kind of man who would agree to pray for something and then come back and check in with you later to see how that specific situation was going. He'd never offer to pray and then just forget about it,” she said. “What a comfort it was after he was gone to be able to see that he had been praying very specifically for me and my friends.”
I want to be that kind of woman. The kind of woman who says, “Yes, I will pray about that” and then remembers to actually pray!”
The kind of woman who says, “Yes, I will pray about that” and then remembers to check in later with the person being prayed for to find out how things are going.
I can't tell you how many times I've gotten myself a blank book and started a prayer journal. I write my first request across the top of the page. Then I write the next request below it. Then the next request below that. It's a good start.
But there are two problems with my system. The first problem is that my prayer journal sits on my nightstand. So when I'm out and about and someone asks me to pray for them, it isn't handy to write the request down in my prayer journal. Having a prayer journal in a traditional book form, for me, does not solve the problem of forgetting to pray for specific requests. The second problem is that God never answers my prayers in the order I ask them. So as my page fills up I'm on the third or fourth page of my journal, but there are still unanswered requests from the first page. I want to check the requests off. It's enough to drive the perfectionist in me around the bend. (Hmmm… Maybe God is trying to tell me not to be such a perfectionist?)
I definitely needed a better way to organize a prayer journal. My solution? Simple! 4×6 index cards!
How I Organize a Prayer Journal With Index Cards
With this system, each request and each person I'm praying for is on a separate index card. I keep some pre-punched index cards with me in my purse and near my computer so that when I get a prayer request I can quickly and easily write it down. Then, as soon as I am able, I add the card to my index card organizer.
This particular index card organizer is divided into 4 sections. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to organize your prayers, but here's what I do:
Some of my favorite prayer-verses that are in the encouragement section right now are:
For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. – 1 Peter 3:12
If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me – Psalm 66:18
Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:13
Don't be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God – Philippians 4:6
I also keep some extra blank cards in the back so they will be handy when I need them.
(Need more than 4 categories? Simply purchase an extra organizer and put them on bigger binder rings.)
Each card is large enough that I can make notes as appropriate. When the prayer is answered and it's not something I need to pray about anymore, I make sure to write down the date and how the prayer was answered. Then I simply move the card into an index box. Later I have a box full of answered prayers to review when I need encouragement!
How To Make Your Own Prayer Journal With Index Cards
- Gather your supplies. At a minimum you'll need an index card organizer, 4″x6″ index cards and 2″ binder rings. It's also nice to have a label maker to label the dividers and a 2-hole adjustable hole punch. Here are my personal recommendations:
2Label the dividers: Family, People, Issues, Encouragement (or choose your own categories).
2. The index card holder comes with some cards and small rings. Remove the small rings and replace them with larger ones. You're going to need it!
2. Label the dividers: Family, People, Issues, Encouragement.
3. The index card organizer comes with small binder rings. Replace them with larger 2″ binder rings. (Trust me, you'll need it!)
3. Use the 2 hole punch to punch holes in extra index cards. Place the cards in your purse, in your car, in your Bible…. anywhere that would be handy when people ask you to pray for something.
4. As prayers are answered, remove the card from your booklet and place it in a small index card file box. Review the cards in the box regularly for enouragement!
Now that you have an efficient way to organize a prayer journal, you're well on your way to becoming a mighty prayer warrior! Do you have other tips for organizing prayer requests? Tell me about them in the comments!