Sunday, April 26, 2015

Recording Prayers for Others

Many years ago I attended a program given by a group of women at the church I attended. Part of the evening involved making a small, 4" x 4", booklet to record the names of persons for whom we prayed. We decorated the front of the construction paper book with flower stickers, protecting the cover by a layer of contact paper.

Finally having a means to organize my prayer life, I could discard the small pieces of paper where I wrote joys and concerns for those about whom I cared.

On the first few pages, I wrote the names of family and friends, praying for them daily, as well as myself. Leaving a space between each name allowed me to add  thoughts about each one. Further into the book I added people whose needs or celebrations arose over time or whose circumstances were short-term. World events and leaders also found a spot on the pages.

Having a little book to keep close to my Bible greatly assisted the consistency of my prayer life, gave me a diary or record, and showed ways that God entered a person's life.

Although long ago I "outgrew" the little green book I made in 1981, I've always used paper and pencil to record prayer.

When Sarah and Anna left home, I wanted to record daily needs and joys they shared with me while they attended college and eventually secured jobs. Keeping a log of their prayer requests helped me stay connected with what was happening in their lives.

The beginning of each new year was a meaningful time for me to chronicle my prayers for these dear children. Using an index card for each daughter, I wrote the year and their initials on the first line, and began the series of dates and recorded entries on the left.

Most of the time, I wrote a few words each day based on what they shared with me during a phone conversation or text. Occasionally during the year, I ask them how they want me to pray.

When they return home following their Christmas visit to Indiana, I compile all of the index cards, which by the end of the year can number ten or eleven. I write a letter affirming who they are as young women making a difference in the world professionally, proclaiming my love for them, and offering encouragement in the new year. I fold the letter around the cards, enclose five dollars for coffee, their favorite treat, and mail in early January.

Caring for people through prayer helps me feel connected to them in times of joy and during moments when life is difficult. Recording how I pray for people keeps my prayer life organized and reminds me of a group of dear church ladies who decades ago guided me.