Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Life-Changing Pin

I've talked a little bit about Pinterest a few times. Like how I boycotted it at first because I was afraid I'd waste my time just browsing. And then how I cautiously started using it only to catalog sources I just had to keep because I seriously intended on doing or referring to them. And since then, I've used it to search for ideas on how to incorporate some of the treasures I find into my life and home. I'm very happy to say I haven't gotten sucked in and wasted my time just browsing Pinterest like I was afraid I would (wish I could say the same for Facebook).

Anyhoo...all that to say that I've put into action one of the few items I've Pinned and it really has been a life changer. I'm not kidding. A life changer. It was called The Perfectionist's Prayer Journal. First, here is the photo that I had Pinned which links to the source, The Good Old Days Farm blog:

If you click on the picture above and read the blogger's post that goes with it, you can see exactly what she did. I wanted to do something similar only not as a prayer journal - more of a prayer list. I have a prayer journal already, but when I use it (and for the past few years that has been seldomly), it is mostly specific to me and my relationship with God, interspersed with some prayers for my immediate family or others in my own little world.

Sort of like a diary, but in prayer form.

I do love going back and reading my old prayer journal entries (with the exception of being reminded of how sloppy my handwriting can be).

They are such a wonderful reminder of God's faithfulness to me. It's actually kind of funny to go back and read about the things that I've struggled with at different points in my life and to think how I've actually forgotten about them in many cases. I don't want to forget!   What's a "big deal" now can be forgotten in just a matter of a few years. So that's one of the appeals in actually journaling - go be able to go back and be reminded. I probably should start writing in my prayer journal more often again. These years while the kids are little are so precious and some of the details of our days should be written down. But enough on that little tangent.

Back to this Pin. I thought it would be the perfect solution to my problem of not praying for other people as much as I should. Its something I want to do more of and better but my problem has always been not knowing how to maintain an efficient current prayer list. Because without a list, I forget. That's just the way I am and I know it. That's why I rarely promise someone I will pray for them. If I do, I take it very seriously and try very hard not to forget. But if I do that with too many people at one time, I know someone is bound to fall of my mental list, and then I'd be breaking my promise to pray for them. So I just try not to commit to something I'm likely to fail at.

I figured this solution would give me a MUCH better success rate of actually praying for other people. Basically, it is just a bunch of index cards on a ring. This blogger found covers and dividers and broke her list down into categories. So I went about trying to do the same thing. I actually put "index cards" and "metal ring" on my WalMart shopping list and figured I'd worry about dividers later. Well - lo and behold - didn't I just find the perfect thing at WalMart. A mini 2-ring binder full of 3x5" index cards with 3 plastic dividers for under $5. I was thrilled and picked up a couple packs of hole-punched refill cards as well.

I put it into use immediately. And I am proud to say I am praying for people! Repeatedly! Almost daily! What's so great about it is that it is compact and portable, so it can be updated and used anywhere. Not like a list on the computer. That would involve constant updating at the computer and reprinting. And a piece of paper would get lost, at least around here. Then....I'd forget to pray for people because for me, out of sight is out of mind. But this bright, pink, chunky ring of index cards - it doesn't get lost in the shuffle. It can move around from my desk (where I read my email prayer chain from church and am most likely to add new prayers/cards) to the dining room table (where I pray out loud with the kids) to the couch or bed (where I pray silently alone). 
What's also great about the index cards on a ring is that when a prayer has been answered (problem resolved, sickness healed, etc) I can just remove that card from the stack. There is no list to cross off and look messy and no need to go update a computer file. OK, I will confess, the green side of me feels bad throwing away an index card that just had one person's name on. I do cross off and re-use the cards a little bit.

So I am honest in saying this Pin has changed my life. A simple, few-dollar notebook is a treasure of countless worth if its improving my prayer life. And as a result, because "the prayer of a righteous [wo]man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16), it is changing the lives of those I am praying for as well. Now, instead of shying away from committing to pray for other people, I am eager to know what I can pray for and can promise to do it.

How can I pray for you? Seriously. Please let me know. :)

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