Do you ever tell someone you will prayer for them and then forget until the next time you see them? That use to happen to me, but now I have three surefire methods that have proven effective in helping me remember.
1) Catch it
During Lent I carried a notebook that readily fit in my pocket to “catch” names of people for whom I wanted to pray. I got the idea after reading an article telling bloggers that they should carry a small notebook to record ideas that come to them throughout the day. The author referred to it as an idea catch.
The only catch to using a prayer catch is that you need to be sure that you develop a habit of reviewing it each day. This wasn’t a problem for me during Lent because I was committed to time in my prayer closet every day. If you don’t have a set prayer time though, you might struggle a bit with using the catch. At the bottom of this post I have a free resource you can use to establish a daily habit of prayer.
2) Path it.
Another way to remind yourself is to place the names of people you are praying for in your path. For example, when I was recently praying for two people while they went through a drug rehabilitation program, I placed their names on my bathroom mirror so I was reminded each morning and evening.
You could also, use post-in notes and put someone’s name on the dash of your car, coffee pot or some other place you are likely to see it. One man I knew put a neon green adhesive dot on the inside of his billfold and used it as a prayer trigger. Something like that could be a helpful trigger, if you are praying about something sensitive and want to protect someone’s privacy.
3) Alarm it.
A couple of years ago two friends of ours were killed in a tragic private plane crash. Their death left their three young daughter’s parentless. I committed to praying for the girls daily for an entire year. I had never prayed for someone daily for that length of time. I was concerned that once the newness of this practice wore off I might fail to keep my commitment; particularly, since we now lived in a new community and I would not be seeing the girls as a reminder.
My solution was to set a prayer alarm on my watch. I set it for the time that the girls got out of school. That was a meaningful time. I could readily picture them in the flow of their day and it was a time when I used to frequently bump into their mother. This time also worked well, because I was typically waiting in the car for my children at that time, making it a perfect time for me to pray.
Since that time I have used prayer alarms for other special commitments. When setting a prayer alarm keep in mind two things. First, if possible pick a time that is meaningful. For example, I used someone’s birthday. I converted August 15 into an 8:15 alarm on my phone. Second, pick a time when you are likely to be free to pray. In the instance of the three young girls whose parents died, I knew that on most days I was an audience trapped in a car at the time I had set my alarm. So, that time worked really well.
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(Revised and expanded from a post originally published August 23, 2011)