By: Allison Ramirez
While we know that praying is a constant invitation and one of the best and readily available ways for us to connect with God, how often does it simply slip our mind or end up rushed and impersonal, despite out best intentions? I admit, I can be guilty of this myself sometimes. There are seasons when we just need fresh and creative ways to approach our prayer—and thus friendship with God.
One way I like to creatively implement prayer into my day is by keeping and maintaining a prayer intentions journal. Think of all the times you told someone you would pray for them or for a particular intention in their life but later on, realized, embarrassingly, that you never actually did pray for them and/or their intention? Without making a conscience effort to write things down and refer back to them, it can be all to easy to forget these prayer promises. I like to keep a prayer journal where I write down all of the people and intentions I am praying for. Sometimes I’ll categorize them by date, type of prayer request, specific person, etc. There are some long-time prayers I continuously keep and come back to such as prayers for those in my life who aren’t Christian to come to know Christ, while others are temporary and can be crossed off or erased when they are no longer relevant such as prayers for someone recovering from an illness. A prayer journal is also helpful in that you can take it with you and write prayers down wherever you are, so you don’t forget. You don’t even need to write down prayers just because someone asks you to pray for something. I’d encourage you to be proactive in writing down all the sorts of things you’d like to pray for, requested or not.
If keeping a journal is not so much your style, a prayer wall is a place in your home (bathroom/bedroom/kitchen/etc.) where you tape papers or sticky notes of prayers, so that whenever you walk by that part of the home, you are reminded of specific prayers to pray for. This is also nice for the whole family to see and take part in. Finally, a prayer box is when you write prayers on individual slips of paper and place them in a box in a frequented part of the house. Whenever you walk by that place, reach into the box, and randomly select a prayer. Read the intention, and then say a prayer for the listed request right then and there. Place the slip back in the box, and then continue repeating this process each time you pass by. This is a quick and easy way to pray, and you can continue adding to or removing prayers from the box as desired.
May your prayer life be fruitful and blessed!
If you are in need of some ideas for prayers, here is a non-exhaustive list:
Personal/familiar: Names of loved ones who have died, prayers for those you have a strained relationship with or for family members who are distant from the faith or experiencing financial, emotional, mental, or physical struggles of some sort. Prayers for your marriage, vocational discernment, job stability, children, parents, even prayers for yourself, etc.
Communal/Regional: Prayers for your local church community, for your parish priest(s) and staff, prayers for those experiencing homelessness/mental illness/hunger, for your local government leaders and businesses, for law enforcement and healthcare workers, etc.
World/Global: For an end to wars, for the universal church, for world leaders, for safety, care for creation, etc.