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!