Prayer Tools: Note cards (Prayer Part IV)

This is my bedside table, complete with my daily devotional tools.

Where's the Bible?
   Glad you asked! It's in the drawer. I use my Kindle for daily Bible reading. I keep three translations on it (NAS95, NKJV, and ESV) so I can easily read in the Old and New Testaments and Psalms simultaneously without messing with bookmarks. Most days I also read from Spurgeon's Morning and Evening devotional.

And what's that blue thing?
   That's my memory card binder. I use the same card system to learn and review passages I use with my boys, but with passages that are particularly pertinent to my life. Reviewing cards just takes a few minutes, and I often squeeze this in while drying my hair in the morning.   (More on Scripture memory here.)

But what's the pink box?
Ah - that is what this post is really about. The pink box holds my set of prayer cards.

For the longest time I'd known that my prayer life was pathetic. I wanted to be praying fervently and consistently for my family, my friends, my church, other people and events. I should be spending consistent, concerted, daily time in prayer, but how could I make it happen? Sometimes I'd try one thing for a while, and then something else. But all too often I'd just make pitiful stabs and feel guilty for not being more intentional. After we started using a simple method to help us with Bible memory review (see this post,) I realized a similar idea could help me to organize my prayer life. There were several things I hope to accomplish.

My ideal prayer plan would:

1. Allow me to come before the Lord regularly to worship Him, seek His face, and ask for His work in the lives of my family, loved ones, church, and others.
Beloved folk - part of my motivation to pray

2. Remind myself of what God says about prayer.

3. Use scripture to guide my prayers.

4. Have flexibility to allow for the realities of life (In other words, I needed something that doesn't get totally messed up when I miss a day.)

5. Be simple, but not just a system that would become a rote chore to be accomplished each day.

6. Have enough variety to keep it fresh  --  while at the same time --

7. Not be so complicated or cumbersome I'd only use it once in a blue moon.

And so about 18 months ago my prayer note card box was born.


- 3x5 index card holder (Find one that you find attractive and will hold up to daily use)

- 31 numbered daily dividers (1-31)

- 3x5 index cards in various colors.
      I made most of mine from card stock and from file folders.
      31 each of four or so colors  (I used orange, manila, yellow, and white)
      12 or so of another color  (I used peach)
      1 each of 5 colors  (I used purple, pink, blue, green, and yellow)

- Bible and pen

I have around 150 cards in my set, but I've built it over time. Starting with far fewer works well.

I began by making cards for each of the most important people in my life. (These cards are like those described by Paul Miller in The Praying Life.) A typical "person" card has requests on one side and scripture on the back. Like these:

The requests are just a snapshot of that person's life, showing various aspects of their life and typically list longer term requests. I don't have to write the shorter term things going on because I can remember those things. But I don't want to lose sight of the spiritual and character issues or other long-term matters. These cards don't change all that frequently, though from time to time I'll jot something new down.

But I wanted to be praying for many other things, so over a bit of time I added more cards, some of which stay put behind their day of the month tab and others which travel as I cycle through them. I'll explain about the traveling and the stationary cards which make up the bulk of my set in the next prayer post.


Crystal Laws said…
Thank you for posting this! I'm looking forward to hearing more. I remember you talking about color coding at the retreat but can't remember what all you said about it. I would love to hear what the different colors are used for.
Anne said…
Thank you for prompting me to get back to this, Crystal! I've started a post explaining more of the ins and out of the card system, but I haven't had time to finish it off. I'll see if I can get that done before too very long!

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