Faith Bible Blog

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Prayer Cards as a Means to Persevere in Prayer

On Sunday at Kaleo, as we looked at Jesus’  teaching on persevering in prayer, and I mentioned my use of prayer cards.  I started using them this year after reading about them in Paul Miller’s excellent book A Praying Life (BTW: get and read this book!).  John asked me to post this here to share it with the rest of the church as well.

I became convinced that I needed some sort of lists if I was really going to persevere in bringing the same requests before God long term.  A small stack of 3×5 cards has many advantages over a big sheet of requests.  I find it less overwhelming to look at just one category at a time.  A stack of 3×5 cards with a clip also travels well in a pocket.

Some people asked on Sunday night for some sample categories.  Mine are:

  • Prayer cards Spiritual Formation – These are areas in my own life where I want God to change my heart.  I pray over specific verses that describe what I’m after
  • Areas of Surrender -On this card I put all the areas of my life that tend to cause me anxiety.  When I pray over this card I am surrendering these areas over to God’s care.  I will sometimes do this flat on my back, arms stretched out with palms up as a physical display of my surrender.  TMI?  🙂
  • Weekly Goals – These are specific things I want the Spirit-empowered discipline to accomplish every week, including: reading, praying through the cards, time with each kid, exercise, etc.
  • My Wife and Kids – each has a separate card with specific requests for each
  • My Parents, Brothers, In-Laws, Nieces and Nephews – listed with specific requests
  • Extended Family – listed with specific request
  • A Few Close Friends – each have their own card
  • Kaleo People – if you ask me to pray for you, you’re on it
  • People I’m Currently Discipling/Counseling – each has their own card
  • Our Church Elders/Pastors – listed with specific needs next to their names
  • Pastors/Writers – listed on one card – some I know personally, others are big names I don’t know personally – if they have had an impact on me they are on here
  • Kaleo Leadership – listed on one card with specific needs next to their names
  • Kaleo – specific things we would like to see God do  with us
  • Work – for patients, clients, office staff and colleagues
  • Kingdom – persecuted church, revival, the poor, human trafficking, church planting, stewardship of the environment, unreached peoples, end to abortion
  • President Obama – for him personally, his family, for wisdom and protection
  • Salvation – a list of people that don’t know Jesus but I’m praying God will save
  • Missions – a list of specific missionaries and missions agencies that God has put on my heart
  • Our Neighbors – listed on one card with specific needs next to their names

Here are Paul Miller’s general guidelines for using his prayer cards (pp. 225-226, A Praying Life):

  1. The card functions as a snapshot of the person’s life, so use short phrases to describe what you want.
  2. When praying, I usually don’t linger over a card for more than a few seconds.  I just pick one or two key areas and pray for them.
  3. I put the Word to work by writing a Scripture verse on the card that expresses my desire for that particular person or situation.
  4. The card doesn’t change much.  Maybe once a year I will add another line.  These are just the ongoing areas of a person’s life that I am praying for.
  5. I usually don’t write down answers.   They are obvious to me since I see the card almost every  day.
  6. I will sometimes date a prayer request with the month and year.

I set Google calendar to send me an email each day that reminds me to get through them at some point each day.

Using cards has really helped me a lot.  The goal is to become the kind of people that keep bringing the same requests before God like Jesus taught us to.   And I majorly stink at this naturally.

It has also been awesome to see how many things God has already done in response to prayer – something I would not have noticed without these cards.

Hope this helps you to pray more each day

Author: Erick Cobb

Erick serves in leadership at Covenant Grace Church, having previously led FBC's college ministry.

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