Last month I felt a pull towards having a more focused prayer time. Perhaps it’s a lack of sleep or a brain that quickly jumps from thought to thought (often landing in the realm of to-do’s), but I knew I needed something that would help me stay focused. I found some wonderful resources of prayer binders and purchasable prayer journals, but (for me) simpler is often better. So I started jotting down some thoughts and slowly formed a rough prayer guide as a simple trifold card. After I used it for a while, I cleaned it up and made a digital version.
I would love to share this with you—absolutely free to use and edit as you’d like!
Here are the versions:
Printing on cardstock is the best! It will be much more durable. You might have to play around with print settings to make sure it is full size (default) and the margins are not shrinking it down (then it won’t be centered for folding.) If you can’t figure out double sided printing, you could also print it out, cut it down, and staple it at the top for a little booklet. Hey, even if you can’t print it, just jot down some ideas and make your own!
I’ll walk you through how I use each section. Sometimes I jot things down in my journal as I go, sometimes I don’t. It just depends on the day, my time, and what I feel I need to do. Sometimes praying aloud helps me stay focused. Some people may find it helpful to set a timer for 1-2 minutes per section.
Praise and Adoration – I start my time here, reading and considering the attributes of God. I often feel drawn to a certain attribute that feels comforting or necessary for the day or moment. I spend a moment greeting God with these adorations. I might journal a few thoughts.
Rest and Wait – This is a section that is a little less natural, and might need a timer set for 1-2 minutes. I take 5 breaths to calm myself, and I allow myself to come before God. It helps me to imagine either bowing before His throne or being held by Him as a Father. I often hold my hands open as I release any burdens I’m carrying. If I’m journaling, I might write down these burdens.
Confession – I use this section to consider the ways I need to allow God’s light and truth to change me. We’re all works in progress. I wrote out a list of things to confess in the guide, and as I read through it I’m often drawn to a few things I need to bring before God. Some people have considerable baggage when it comes to sin, confession, and shame. Remember that the purpose is to draw you closer to God as He works in your heart, not to heap shame and guilt upon you. It’s an act of admittance that we cannot do things in our own strength. If I’m journaling, I might spend some time in confession and ask for God’s help.
Transformed by His Word – This section (and Listen) could be done at any time, and sometimes I leave it for the end. I simply continue on with whatever reading plan or book I’m reading in the Bible. If you need a place to start, try John or James. There are great resources out there to help you read and understand the Bible! SheReadsTruth.com, TheBibleProject.com
Listen – After reading my Bible, I spend a bit of time trying to listen to what God might teach me through His word or my time of prayer.
Prayer and Petition – Here I’ve listed out some prayer topics according to day of the week and date. The first section has things I pray for myself depending on day of the week, including, spiritual/emotional health, mental/physical health, being a wife, being a mom, work/home life, stewardship of time/money, and rest/Sabbath mindset. Next, I have 30 different qualities/topics I want to pray for myself, my husband, my kids, and my community. Last, I have 30 different people/topics to pray for specifically. These include family and friends specifically by name, as well as missionaries we support, and general things such as “People of Connexion Church”, “Our World”, “Leaders”, etc. By breaking it up into different sections, I’m not overwhelmed by praying for everything in one day. I pray for a few things each day, depending on the day of the week (Sun-Sat) and the date of the month (1-30). I have started putting a little dot after the 1-30 sections so I can come back and revisit the topics if I miss a day. Sometimes I journal bullet points for this section. This is the section you’ll want to add in your own people and topics! You can either print and write it in or use the .doc to add it before printing.
Thanksgiving – Here I spend some time remembering that God answers prayers. I name them specifically, thanking Him and acknowledging that He is still working in this world. This helps me focus on gratitude and joy.
Additional Prayers – This final section has a space to use a post-it or tape an index card. Here I write down extra topics or things I’ve told people I’d pray for. In the past, it was so hard for me to remember all the additional prayer requests, but this is a simple place to add them, and I can change out the card when needed without reprinting the whole things.
I’d love to hear if you use this! If it doesn’t work for you, I hope you can find something that is helpful to guide your prayer time.