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:
- 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):
- The card functions as a snapshot of the person’s life, so use short phrases to describe what you want.
- 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.
- I put the Word to work by writing a Scripture verse on the card that expresses my desire for that particular person or situation.
- 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.
- I usually don’t write down answers. They are obvious to me since I see the card almost every day.
- I will sometimes date a prayer request with the month and year.
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