I thought about it and I couldn’t remember.
I’m a person who writes everything down, recognizing the busyness of my brain and the relief that comes from not needing to remember every little detail of my life. My planner is a prized possession, containing all my schedules, assignments, deadlines, appointments, birthdays, errands, and everyday to-do lists. I find that making these notes and lists frees up some of my mental space for other things, and then I can always refer back to my notes for things that I need to remember. I have a set of notecards and scrap paper on my desk for similar purposes, as well as a notebook in my car just in case I find myself needing to write something down while driving around town (when I’m stopped, of course!).
During a recent time in prayer, I remembered that I had told someone that I would pray for them. I tried and tried to remember who it was, or what their situation was, and I simply could not come up with the name. I felt dismayed at my inability to remember, but I prayed for the person anyway, trusting that God would know who the prayer was for. This tactic works when needed, thanks to God’s omnipotence, but I felt distraught when I recognized my lack of intentionality in sticking to my promise of praying for this person.
I find that as a Christian, I often tell people, “I will pray for you,” or “I will keep you in my prayers.” Interacting with others allows me glimpses into their lives, including their triumphs and their struggles. I offer support and encouragement where I can, and usually end with one of these promises of prayer, whether they uphold a faith belief or not, adding them to my long mental list of people and causes to pray for. In doing this, I find that it’s hard to keep track of all of my intentions and make sure that I spend time praying for each one properly, and I will honestly admit that I have failed to live up to some of my commitments.
I decided that I no longer wanted to fall short on my promises of prayer, so I decided to make a change. I write everything else down in my planner or on scraps of paper, but for some reason I had yet to do this with my prayers! I pulled out a bright green notebook about the size of my hand, opened it up to the first page, and began to write each of my prayer intentions and the names of people to whom I have promised prayers. During that same day, I carried the little journal with me and added intentions as they came up, quickly filling a few pages.
A friend shared a struggle with me, so I wrote her name in the book. The news presented disheartening reports, so I inscribed the name of my country on the next available line. A family member felt sick, so their name went in the journal. I wrote my own name in there too, for good measure (I need all the prayers I can get!).
That night, when it came time in my prayer to offer up my intentions, I held my little green notebook and slowly read each inscription line by line, saying, “Lord, hear my prayer.” Deliberate follow-through of prayer felt so much more meaningful than my generic requests, and I ensured that none of my intentions went forgotten. I felt God’s presence wrap around me and a peace that I know comes only from Him. This simple change completely revolutionized the way that I aim to approach supplication from now on.
I plan to carry this little journal with me at all times, so that when people ask for prayers, I can immediately add them to my list and bring their names to prayer with me, making sure I stick with my commitment.
“I’ll pray for you,” is not just a way to wrap up a conversation or offer a bit of comfort. That phrase is a commitment to call upon the Creator of the Universe for the sake of another person. It is a vow of humble service and trust that the Lord will provide in the way that He knows best, beyond our human understanding. Prayer is our most powerful tool, and we must make the best use of it that we can!
It’s easy to make excuses for the things we fall short on, or to settle for just average. However, Heaven is not a place for mediocrity, and we cannot afford to be wishy-washy. We must stick to our commitments, whatever they may be. By continually reflecting on ourselves, finding the places we need to grow, and praying diligently, we can move closer towards eternity.
So let me know your intentions, and I will add them to my little green journal. I’ll keep you in my prayers!
In Joy, Monica
I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone. This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:1, 3-4