I recently finished Paul Miller’s, A Praying Life. I have to say it is one of the finest, most honest, and practical books that I have ever read on the subject, and I heartily endorse it to everyone.
Near the end of the book he recommends the use of prayer cards in order to keep focused during prayer and to remind us of important requests. These prayer cards are just requests or concerns coupled with applicable scripture verses written on index cards. I think this is particularly helpful when it comes to the frequent requests that we get to pray for those who are sick and suffering. I was particularly convicted by his forthright description of how we often handle such requests.
‘I’ll keep you in my prayers’ is the easiest way to back away politely. Roughly translated it means, ‘I have every intention of praying for you, but because I’ve not written it down, it is likely I will never pray for it. But I say it because at this moment I do care, and it feels awkward to say nothing.’ It is the twenty-first century version of ‘Be warmed and filled’ (James 2:16)
How often do we do this? How often do we actually let our noble intentions to pray for someone lead us into the sin of lying because we fail to pray for them. It is not particularly comfortable to think about, but I fear that I have often been guilty. Now, one way to avoid this is to simply pray with the person at the moment, but on those occasions we can’t simply writing a note to remind us to pray at a later time can be extremely helpful. Maybe we all need to invest in some index cards!