A couple of years ago, when Hope was a baby, I remember asking my husband if it would be okay if I stayed home from church on Mother's Day. I just wanted two hours, while Hope napped, where I could sit at the table, candle lit, and spread Bible, books, and notepad out before me. I was in a season where uninterrupted time to journal, read, and pray were hard to come by, and I craved those moments.
I have always struggled to pray unless I have a pen in my hand - at least to pray for any length of focused, intentional time. I shoot up quick arrows of heartfelt prayer often, but I can't pray for an hour unless I have a notebook in front of me. But - that isn't always possible. Even now, although I have older kiddos and am able to get up a bit earlier to meet with the Lord, there are days when that time is rushed. So, over the years I have come up with substitutes for concentrated prayer-journaling. And, as I anticipate the busyness of another newborn in late July, I know I will fall back on them again!
One is a key-ring of index cards with detailed prayer requests for people, situations, and global needs. I can flip through those prayer cards throughout the day, read over the bullet points or scrawled sentences, and sort of cover the bases of who and what I want to be praying for. I add to them often; my girls' are two-sided now because new items crop up constantly. If a prayer is answered (a friend gave birth to a healthy baby or a decision was made, or a missionary's need for funding was answered, or a potty-trainer succeeds in night dryness) then I etch the answer in beside the request and it reminds me to praise.
The idea for those prayer cards came from Paul Miller's book, A Praying Life, which I highly recommend. And, I have some fun, colorful templates that came from the blog Homeschool Creations.
I also love using scripted prayer. If I can't journal morning prayers, having a script to read through helps me immensely. When Hope was small and life was sleepless, I wrote out a few daily prayers and stuck them in my Bible. They are now stained, wrinkled, and scribbled on - but I still use them.
I thought I would share one of those scripts with you today - just in case you are in a season where a written prayer might benefit your heart.
Here is my "standby" prayer for my daughters.
Father in Heaven,
Thank you for the little hearts you have entrusted to our care. You have so blessed us!
God, I pray for the hearts of my little girls. I pray that you would draw them to you - reveal yourself to each of them. I pray that you would help them to understand their sinfulness, come to a heart of repentance, and receive your salvation. God, I ask that you would save my children!
I pray that they would spend their entire lives walking with you and their lives would be given in service to you - abandoned to you. I pray they would love your word, love your people, and follow hard after you all the days of their lives.
I pray that the gifts and talents you've given would be used for your glory, and that their weaknesses would be places for you to reveal your strength.
Lord, I pray for soft hearts, fertile soil to receive your word, and our instruction. I pray they would grow in obedience, to use and to you. I pray for the fruits of the Spirit to be seen in their lives - kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, love, patience, joy. I pray they would love one another and walk through each day as best friends. I pray for right choices and holy living that brings honor to your name. I pray for integrity, honesty, and a trustworthy reputation.
God, these hearts, so fresh from you, need so much molding, so much love, so much prayer. God, I pray their lives would bring you glory. Help me to be faithful in prayer for each one of them! They are yours!