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Special Prayer Notebook

Keep a prayer notebook when you go into your prayer time. It's easier to manage than prayer lists, and provides a more efficient record of your prayer vigils.

On one side of the page write down all the things you want to bring before God, and on the other side the things God may say to you, or any specific answers to prayer you may have been given.

At first I thought his idea much too mechanical to be of lasting spiritual benefit, but when I began to put it into practice I found it helped to deepen my relationship with God in a way that is impossible to describe.

We all know of occasions when something pops into our mind that we know we ought to bring before God in our personal prayer times.

But unless we make a note of it in our prayer notebook there and then we may find that when we come to pray, the matter has slipped our minds.

A prayer notebook would have captured that fleeting thought or idea and recorded it so that we would not have been forgotten.

Similarly, when we hear of a prayer that has been answered, unless it is recorded there and then we may find ourselves forgetting the issue in our personal prayer time and thus make no special point of expressing our praise and gratitude to God for the answered prayer.

It goes without saying that a prayer notebook, such as this, should be carried with you everywhere you go. Then whenever a matter of prayer concern comes to your attention, making a note of it there and then makes it a matter of permanent record.

You might prefer to trust your memory but, in my experience, I have found the words of Confucius to be wise and powerful: 'The faintest ink is better than the finest memory.' If you develop the art of listening to God which I described earlier there will be occasions in your prayer time when God will speak directly to you.

Write it down in your prayer notebook. Later you may want to recollect what it was God said to you and if it is not written down the words of God may be lost in vague indefiniteness.

A pastor sharing this idea some years ago at a church where he was invited to speak on the subject of 'Building an effective prayer life.

During the discussion time, at the end of the talk, several people expressed the view that whilst the idea of a notebook was fine for some Christians, those who were well organized for example, it might be extremely inhibiting for those who were inclined to be more extrovert and outgoing.

'For example' said one man 'I often get carried away in my prayer times and soar in the heavenlies with Christ. If I was to pull myself back to earth to consult a notebook I am afraid my prayer times would become extremely desultory and unappealing.

'I sympathized with his point of view because whilst aids and techniques are useful they must never become so binding that they restrict our personalities and thus reduce our effectiveness in prayer.

Some time later he received a letter from the man concerned, saying that, although the idea he had presented about the prayer notebook had not appealed to him, he became increasingly intrigued by the idea and had adopted it into his prayer life.

This is what he wrote: 'I rejected the point you made about the prayer notebook, but I see now that I did so because deep down I was afraid of anything that demanded discipline in my life.

God spoke to me about this and, as I began to discipline myself to record specific prayer requests, specific answers, and the things God said to me, I found that instead of losing the sense of spontaneity in prayer, which is part and parcel of my make-up, it has enabled me to have a more effective prayer life than ever before.

The floods of prayer now have a channel to run down and I know the channel is growing deeper and deeper every day.' Glory to God.

Wandering Thoughts and how to outmanoeuvre them



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