R. A. Torrey, a great minister of years gone by, once told this story: “Up in a little town in Maine, things were pretty dead some years ago. The churches were not accomplishing anything. “There were a few godly men in the churches, and they said, “Here we are, only uneducated laymen, but something must be done. Let us form a praying band. We will all center our prayers on one man. Who shall it be?” “They picked out one of the hardest men in town, a hopeless drunkard, and centered all their prayers upon him. In a week he was converted. “Then they took up another, and another, until within a year, two or three hundred were brought to God, and the fire spread out into all the surrounding country.” Dr. Torrey went on to say: “Definite prayer for those in the prison-house of sin is the need of the hour.”
God hasn’t changed one iota since then, or ever for that matter. Why is it then we don’t see people saved and communities reached and churches ablaze like we once did, like in the story that Dr. Torrey told? Because we don’t plead to God like the men and women of previous generations did. Our prayers can be just as effective as their’s were if we will put the supplication into them that they did.
After going over the ACTS method or praying and then having a reflection on part of it, I wanted to share one last ‘prayer tip’ that I’ve found helpful: prayer journaling. Writing out your prayers is a practice that seems, often, at first kind of awkward. But after trying it out for a short period of time I think you will find it a profitable and comfortable exercise.
I have a small composition book that I use for my prayer journal. I try to write out my prayer, at least one per day, around the same time everyday. The time isn’t as important as the consistency. I have found that by writing out my prayers, my concentration is much more intense and focused. For me, I don’t find it necessary to write as reverently as I might otherwise pray. Of course that is a personal preference and you will figure out your preferences as you try this.
One of the many benefits of keeping a prayer journal is being able to review it. You can go over it at different intervals and see what you have been asking of God and how He is answering you. Another big help of writing out intercessory prayers is the ability to see who you are praying for and not missing someone you might otherwise.
If you have never tried this, I encourage you to do so. And if you used to but have gotten away from it, start it back up. It need not be a long, time consuming chore. In fact, if it seems like it is you’re not doing it in the right frame of mind. It should, and will I dare day, draw you closer to God and make your communication with Him more intimate and personal.
Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)
(6) do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
(7) And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.