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A Praying Life, Chapters 28-30

Chapters 28-30 – Writing Down Prayer Requests | Week of September 16, 2018

NOTE: This last section of the book contains many practical things to try in order to build some healthy prayer habits, but it also means the chapters are short, so we will be combining 28-30 this week, 31-33 next week, and finish our journey through A Praying Life with chapter 34 the week of September 30.

“Pray without ceasing” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17


At the start of chapter 28, Paul Miller makes the observation that among the people who typically attend the prayer seminars he hosts, "95 percent write down their schedules but only 5 percent write their prayer requests." (Page 225) Over the next couple chapters, he encourages using a system of index cards with prayer requests on them, along with tips for using them to build prayer habits.

Index cards might not work great for you, and that's OK. However, writing down prayer requests that can be revisited often helps you build consistency in your prayers. And there's lots of ways to do it. Here are just a few examples of ways to build a habit of written prayer requests to use daily: You can build repeating reminders in a smartphone app that will prompt you to pray every day. You can put a whiteboard on your fridge and put the names of people your family prays for on it. You can buy some dry erase markers and make prayer lists on your bathroom mirror. You can use sticky notes on your computer monitor or the top of your coffee maker – somewhere you'll be every day.

Paul Miller encourages us not to fall into the trap of poor thinking about systems. "Deep within the American psyche is the 1960s Romantic idea... that if something doesn't feel natural, it isn't real." (Page 226) That's a lie to keep you from praying. The truth is, "Remember, life is both holding hands and scrubbing floors. It is both being and doing." (Page 228) Developing good prayer habits take some effort, but also free you up to be more faithful and present in both your spiritual life and your human relationships. 


Spend some time working out a strategy to be more intentional in your daily prayers, and specifically by including a written component. Where will you write prayer requests down? When will you review those written prayer requests? How will you track God's answers to those prayers? There's no need to be super complex or ambitious. Start small, maybe with a couple names or one specific issue you've already been praying about, and see how it goes.   


Begin praying through your written prayer requests as soon as you've finished writing.   

Pray every day this week for those written requests. It will be easier if you find a time that will work every day, in a place where you can have a few minutes free of distraction.


Kids learn as much by watching what you do as by listening to what you say. Maybe more! This week provides a great way to model faithful prayer. Either think about making your list somewhere where the kids will see it, or even better, have a second 'family' list somewhere that you can pray together at a time you're all gathered daily, such as a meal.

Tags : prayer, devotional