3. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
4. Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,(KJV: Philippians 1: 3 – 4)
Have you ever considered the prayer list of the apostle Paul? Verses like these are not uncommon in the writings of Paul. Often we will read where Paul expresses both his love, and his prayers for the members of the church he is writing to. In fact I believe if you were to accumulate a list of the men and women that Paul prayed for it would be staggering.
What is even more amazing is that I do not think that Paul just prayed for these churches collectively. I am convinced that Paul prayed for many of these men and women individually. In many of his letters Paul will call out people by name. He will encourage some and correct others. He will mention those that have been faithful and those that have not. This tells me that Paul did not just preach to these people and then forget about them. He knew them, was concerned about them, and certainly prayed for them.
When I think about the prayer list of the apostle I can’t help but wonder how he remembered each of these men and women to pray for them. Paul was a very wise man so maybe he had a photographic memory and therefore the names and needs just came to him. Maybe the Holy Spirit just brought the names to his remembrance allowing him to pray for them. Maybe Paul had a prayer list.
I’m not sure how Paul did it but I am sure how that I have to do it. I do not have a photographic memory. While it is true that the Holy Spirit does bring names to my mind often, allowing me to pray for them, it is also true that I am prone to forgetting to pray for things. Therefore I have developed a simple way that allows me to remember to pray for those I care about. I have prayer list.
I would like to share with you my simple formula for prayer because my guess is that you are like me. You want to pray effectively, but you sometimes forget. You hear a prayer request at church and mean to pray for the need, but a day or two goes by and the request slips from your mind. So here is what I do.
I have created a list of names. I store these names in the Reminders app on my IPhone. The list is divided into two categories. The first is a list of names of family members that I want to pray for. The second is a list of the members of my church. From each of those list I organize the names by groups, most often families. For example: I will pray for an aunt, uncle, their children, and their grandchildren all at the same time. I will pray for a member of the church, their children, and their grandchildren all at the same time.
The reason that I have done it this way is because it allows me to do two things. First, it allows me to remember each person I want to pray for and call them by name. Secondly, it brings that persons face to my mind helping me to remember what their needs are, and what their prayer requests are. As you can imagine, this list can get pretty long, so I have determined to pray for the first list (family) every other day, and the second list (church members) every other day.
I am not writing this to tell you that my way of prayer is better than your way of praying. I am not writing to pat myself on the back. I simply want to encourage each of you to find a way, or method of prayer, and get to it! Any method of prayer is better than no prayer!
So that is how I pray. How about you? What do you do that makes your prayer life more successful?