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How I use technology to amp up my prayer life

I’m convinced a healthy prayer life is about as critical as breathing oxygen for those in ministry. However, I have to confess at times I’ve struggled to maintain consistency in my own prayer life. Prayer is a critical part of an effective ministry. Jesus spent nights in prayer. He retreated from busy crowds and busy times for all important encounters with the Father. One thing is clear: If Jesus saw prayer as critical to his ministry and walk with the Father, how much more a weak, shortsighted, and sinful, pastor like me needs to pray.

Technology can become a hindrance to a healthy prayer life. There are an unlimited number of daily distractions all coming from technology. We can fill every idle moment of the day with something. Checking the news, watching a short video… or two, Facebook, and email are just some of the main contenders that can suck my time like a vacuum cleaner. I personally have to set boundaries to limit my use of technology. However, there is one particular use of technology that has been a help to my prayer life… keeping an electronic prayer list.

Over the years I’ve kept all types of prayer lists and journals. I even kept a prayer list on a large whiteboard in my office for a while. There were positives and negatives to each approach. I personally have found keeping an electronic prayer list on my phone (that can also be accessed on a couple other devices) works the best for me.

Here are a few benefits to keeping an electronic prayer list:

An electronic list is always on hand

I keep my prayer list on the “notes” app on my iPhone. I can also access and update this same list using my iPad or laptop. Since my phone goes where I go, my list is always on hand. There are some real benefits to having your prayer list with you all of the time. I’ll discuss a few advantages below.

It keeps me honest

Like you, I go to meetings, appointments, and events all the time. People frequently request prayer on many of these occasions. It’s not a burden, but a blessing for someone to allow you the opportunity to pray for them. Plus, I think it’s an act of trust and maybe even a step of faith for them to share their great needs, hopes, and dreams via prayer request. With that being said, If I don’t write down the request, I will not remember to pray for them. In spite of my best intentions, I’ll forget. So, when someone asks me to pray for them, I try to pray for them at that moment. Then I’ll pull out my phone and record their request on my list. It’s easy and effective. Plus, It keeps me from telling someone I will pray for them and then forgetting to do so.

Electronic lists work great for praying in concentric circles

I organize my prayer list like concentric circles beginning with my heart.  I pray about my attitude, outlook, purity, faith, and vision. My focus expands out to my wife, children, and family. I follow that same pattern, expanding my focus to cover our church body, community, and broader world concerns. I add specific requests when someone asks for prayer at the end of the list (things like a surgery, a wayward child, an adoption, a struggling marriage, a job interview or whatever someone asks prayer for). The first part of the list changes less frequently than the end.  I can maintain my long term prayer requests and the stuff that changes constantly in an organized way.

Add action steps to your requests to move forward in faith and obedience

I was praying over my list a while back and realized there was something missing. I was praying about my son becoming a man of strong faith in the Lord. He is 7 years old.  As I prayed I realized we hadn’t read any Scripture together or talked about the Lord that day. I was praying but I was also neglecting my part to teach my son (see Deut. 6:7).

I can be guilty of praying like that on occasion, and I bet I’m not alone.

Sometimes we pray and ask God to do stuff but we don’t do the things he has already told us to do. So, on my prayer list I’ve gone back and added action steps next to specific requests.

Some examples:

  • When I pray about my heart being glad and rejoicing, my action step is to list things I’m thankful for.
  • When I pray about energy and physical health, my action step is to ask the questions: Have I exercised, been eating right, and drinking enough water?

I don’t have action steps for all my prayer requests, but it’s a habit I’m developing.

Filling your prayer list with action steps will only broaden the daily impact of your prayer. I confess at times I’ve used prayer as an excuse to do nothing else. Prayer is powerful. Prayer followed by steps of faith is really powerful, and it honors God.  

What are you praying? What steps of faith could follow that prayer? Go for it! Send the text, call that person, buy that book, make the move, and watch what God will do.

Dace Clifton

Dace is a pastor in central Texas. He is married to his wife Jacque and has two children. Dace holds a Ph.D. in preaching and pastoral ministry. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Arlington Baptist University. Dace is a family man who loves adventure, travel, hunting, and anything related to the mountains.