My Indy 500 day blew past like Dale Earnhardt. I looked at the clock. “Oh no! It’s 3:00. I completely missed my daughter’s exam time.”
I’d always promised to pray for her study time and success on final exams. This time, however, I neglected to fulfill this important responsibility.
Have you ever promised to pray for someone’s broken heart or surgery or job interview and then realized later you’d forgotten? We mean well, but our memories sometimes fail.
In my teen years, I often voiced prayer needs to Pam, a mentor. She would respond, “Let’s pray now. I don’t want to forget.” Her statement emphasized the responsibility of receiving a request and the importance of lifting it to our heavenly Father.
The Bible teaches,
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.Colossians 4:2 ESV
Paul commended fervent prayer,
Epaphras … greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.Colossians 4:12 ESV
Do you use memory aides or organizational techniques for important responsibilities like prayer? Methods for remembering the needs we notice can help us honor the privilege of communicating with God on behalf of others.
Methods for remembering the needs we notice can help us honor the privilege of communicating with God on behalf of others. Click To Tweet
I hope you can use or adapt one of the strategies below.
Eight Strategies for Remembering Prayer Requests
1. Listen attentively to requests.
Establish eye contact and listen carefully when someone requests prayer. Ask an appropriate question or repeat the need to enhance your memory. When the ladies in my email prayer group read a request, they often ask a clarifying question and inquire later about results. This practice encourages believers and reflects the love of Christ to those who have not yet met Him
2. Seek God’s help.
Ask the Father to remind you of requests and lead you to an applicable Bible verse to use as a prayer springboard. On busy days, we sometimes hear His whisper in our minds and hearts reminding us of the need to pray.
3. Organize an index card file.
A simple file box with index cards and tabs can categorize requests and provide space for recording answers. Some requests are long-term and may require multiple cards. When I used this method of memory prompts, I enjoyed reviewing the cards in the “Answered Prayer” section which demonstrated God’s faithfulness.
4. Create a prayer journal or notebook.
A small loose-leaf binder can house dividers labeled with days of the week or categories like family, neighbors, church, missionaries, urgent, and government leaders. I currently use this system with a tab for each day of the week. Before the first divider, I added sheets labeled “Week of ___” to which I add Monday’s date and requests specific to that week.
5. Use sticky notes.
For urgent situations or daily reminders, affix colorful sticky notes to the refrigerator, a mirror, computer, key chain, or steering wheel. A friend once wrote a reminder note about praying for our family’s concern and placed it on his office shelves. Each time he sat down at his desk, he saw the note and prayed. Assurance that our need was being lifted to the Lord calmed our hearts.
6. Set a timer or a phone alarm.
When requests are time-specific, use of a timer or phone alarm may help. Today, while concentrating on writing, I’m praying for a friend’s health as she travels with airline delays and for family members on a lengthy road trip. My phone alarms cue me to continue prayer support throughout the day.
7. Design a bookmark.
Record a long-term request on a bookmark. Add an appropriate verse and insert it into a book you’re currently reading. You could write the same verse on an additional bookmark and mail it to the person you’re praying for with an encouraging note.
8. Construct a small table tent.
Write prayer reminders on stiff paper, fold tent-style, and place on the coffee table or beside your spot at the dinner table. Change the location from time to time to ensure the tent catches your eye.
When the minutes in your day fly by with race car speed, perhaps one of these strategies will bring prayer requests to mind. Although communication with God requires no system, reminders can keep us on track. Paul said, “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you” (Colossians 1:3 ESV). What a worthy goal for us!
32 thoughts on “Eight Strategies for Remembering Prayer Requests”
Jeannie, I admit I have done the same thing. We have wonderful motives, but sometimes life gets in the way and prayer requests fall behind. I love your ideas especially the one about listing the answers to prayers. This does help build our faith as we see God working. Thanks for sharing.
I agree, Barbara that reviewing answers to prayer reminds us of God’s faithfulness. God does not condemn us when we forget, and neither should we condemn ourselves. I do think it’s wise to have a helpful prayer plan but depend on the Holy Spirit’s reminders.
I have a friend that has a scrapbook with pictures of all her family and friends. By each picture are her prayers and answers for that person. It is quite incredible. I have started praying with people at the moment they ask or writing a prayer through text if that’s how they ask so I don’t forget. I know when people have prayed with me vs saying they will it feels more powerful.
I’ve never heard of the scrapbook idea, Jennifer. How clever and meaningful. I enjoy praying with friends when they express a need, and I have friends who do that for me. What a blessing. Thank you so much for adding value to our conversation.
I’ve missed praying after promising many times. Great suggestions here for helping us stay true to our word to pray for others!
Thanks for adding to the conversation, Nancy. I, too, have missed commitments to pray many times. I now try to write reminders of time-sensitive requests on my daily to-do list. Of course, I’m sure you’ll agree, we can trust the Holy Spirit more than our own methods.
Jeannie, I agree. We have good intentions; but like most of us, our days are lived at full speed. Thank you for these wonderful strategies to help us remember prayer requests. Number 4 is a great strategy for me to apply to my busy life.
I’m glad you found the strategies helpful, Dawn. We’re thankful no fancy method is required for believers to communicate with the Father, but our memories need prompts sometimes.
I take a notebook to SS and Tuesday Bible Study to write requests to remind me. Other requests I try to remember, but my memory does fail me. It doesn’t mean I don’t care so at times during the day I ask God to bless those that need him with their praises and needs. I know my mind gets too jumbled, and I have to make myself “be still and know” .
Lynn, thank you for sharing your prayer prompts. Taking a notebook church and praying during the day for requests you may have omitted are excellent practices. I appreciate you sharing wise advice.
Love all these ideas Jeannie! I’ve used a combination of several over the years…currently using a journal and phone reminder- set for noon each day, as that’s my usual lunch time, What better way to enjoy lunch than in prayer for others? Days with lunch “dates” I refer to my journal at another time🤗
Urgent requests get sticky notes❣️
Thanks Jeannie for another wonderful post.
I need to implement these strategies! Thank you, Jeannie!
I’ve used various strategies in different seasons of life and found them helpful. Of course, the Holy Spirit is our best memory prompt. Thanks, Lisa.
Wish I could say that every prayer request I get ends with a “Let’s pray now” and then gets added to my Excel-based Daily Prayer List. I can’t. I think we all miss one now and again, and with the advent of “anti-social” media, we don’t always have the luxury of praying in person with someone. We can always take a second and pray that need before we scroll on to the next post. Great tips Ms. Jeannie. Thank you ma’am.
I agree we all miss requests every now and then. We’re human. Your practice of praying for posted needs before reading the next one is an easy way to pray faithfully. I like your idea of a daily list. Thanks for contributing to the conversation, J.D.
Thank you Jeannie. I really like the timer idea. I often let the specific time go by. All are good. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks so much for encouraging words, Jimmie Annette. We all want to pray faithfully and count it an honor God involves us in His work.
This happens to me a lot and I always feel bad when it does. Love the bookmark idea!
Terri, I like the bookmark idea, too. I’m glad you found it helpful. Thanks so much for your comment.
Jeannie, I have tried different ways to help me remember. These are excellent tips.
Thanks for your encouragement, Debbie. I’ve used different strategies in different stages of life. I love reviewing God’s answers.
Traci, your combination of strategies is a great idea. Sticky notes for urgent requests and lunchtime prayer are marvelous practices. Thank you.
These are some excellent practical tips, Jeannie. I have had the same problem, so I try to make a point of stopping and praying as soon as I tell someone I’ll pray. I also rely heavily on my phone alarms to remind me. Thanks!
When we can, stopping to pray as soon as a need surfaces is probably the best way to ensure we remember. Your phone alarm practice is a reliable one, too. Annie, I appreciate your comments so much. I’m thankful you found the tips helpful.
A close friend keeps her prayer list on the refrigerator door and everytime she opens the door, she prays for someone on the list. I have a true story to emphasize your tip on instant prayer. Many years ago, a different friend met an acquaintance on the street who talked briefly and asked for prayer. My friend said he would add this person to his prayer list that night. Before the day was over, my friend learned his acquaintance had died.
The refrigerator door–what a perfect place for reminders. I like the way your friend prays for someone on the list when she opens the door, not the whole list at one time. With her method it’s easy, and she can concentrate on the one or two she’s lifting to the Lord at that time. Your story about a friend whose acquaintance requested prayer is a powerful reminder of the importance of prayer and our faithfulness to pray. Thank you so much for your encouragement and wise comments, Peggy. And welcome to the site. I’m grateful you joined us.
I have struggled with this in the past also. I love and appreciate your suggestions. I also added a prayer app to my phone where I add prayer request when I learn about them.
Yvonne, I wish I’d thought to add a prayer app. I think there are several available. I appreciate your kind words and great suggestion.
I confess–I have agreed to pray for someone, then forgotten my promise. These are wonderful and doable strategies for us. Thank you!
I’ve confessed this too, Katherine. I know God doesn’t condemn us, but like you, I want to be faithful. I’m so glad you found the ideas helpful.
Love these ideas! Thank you so much! Blessings and hugs! 🙂
Melissa, I’m delighted you liked the ideas. Thanks so much for reading and telling me. I like having a way to prompt my memory, but we’re human. I’m glad we have the Holy Spirit’s reminders, too.