Did you know that most people who try to pray fail miserably? It’s true! In a 2014 study, nearly two-thirds (63%) of Christians surveyed admitted that they are “easily distracted when they try to spend time with God.”

Here’s the problem that you face: as a society, we’ve become so busy that we don’t know how to focus during prayer time. And it’s costing us joy, peace, and fulfillment because we are failing to do the most powerful thing that we can to do bring about positive change in our lives.

Thankfully, I stumbled upon the perfect solution. Let me introduce you to a simple, yet game-changing approach that helps anyone pray powerful prayers without getting distracted – a written prayer list.

Having a written prayer list has helped me to stay focused and productive during my prayer time. I know it will do the same for you.

Perfect Your Prayer Time in 5 Simple Steps

Step #1: Create a “Home” for Your Prayers.

I’ve tried writing my prayers on random pieces of paper, index cards, and even putting them in a jar. What I have found to work best is using paper or electronic prayer journal. Your prayer list needs to have a designated spot that is portable, easily accessible, and durable. If you are looking for something you can keep on your smartphone, I love the Echo app. Warning: Don’t get stuck in perfectionism here trying to find the perfect journal or app. If you have to, grab an old notebook that is lying around the house until you figure out your permanent home for your list. Don’t delay this, get it done.

Step #2: Take Some Think Time.

Let’s face it. It is so easy to forget things when you pray on the fly. We are going to solve that problem now by taking 10-15 minutes to brainstorm all of the things that we want to pray about. At a minimum, your brainstorming session should cover the following areas of life. Remember, anything is possible with God so shut down any preconceived notions about what is reasonable and add any and everything that you need to the list.

  • Spiritual development. Consider the question “where do I need to grow in my relationship with God?” If you are not sure about this, Galatians 5:22-23 is a great place to start!
  • Health and wellness (mental, emotional, and physical).  In what ways do I need to be strengthened? If you are looking for ideas, my friends at verwellhealth.com have some powerful suggestions here.
  • Future and current goals. Think about the dreams that God placed in your heart – what do you need to fulfill them? Not sure? Explore the 10 Traits All Successful Entrepreneurs. Although it is geared at entrepreneurs, many of these traits are required for ANY God-given pursuit.
  • Money/Career/Business. You can be thankful for what you currently do and have and still want more – to enjoy a higher standard of living and have an overflow to be a blessing to others. If career growth is key, check out Six Tips to Help You Reach Your Career Goals. If you are missing things on this list, you now have a place to focus your prayers.

Step #3: Brainstorm How You Can Pray for Others.

Can we be honest here and admit that many times our prayer life is self-centered? We can easily get so caught up in our needs that we give little time and attention to the needs of others. Today, we stop the madness by being intentional to identify and pray for someone other than ourselves. Once again, we are going to make this easy by thinking in categories, plus we will challenge ourselves to go big with our prayers.

  • Family/friends/Co-workers.  One of the best gifts that you can give to those you care about is the gift of intercessory prayer. Think for a minute or two, what needs have you observed? Be sure to list any specific requests that they have made too.
  • The Salvation of Lost Souls. As Megan Bailey shares in Prayers For Salvation of Souls,  “Your prayers can be a powerful force in the lives of your unsaved relatives, friends and even strangers if you know how to pray for them according to the wisdom and Word of God.” Even if you have tried praying for them before, add them to your list. You never know how or when God will move.
  • Your Church and Leaders. It’s easy to take the church that we attend and those who serve in it for granted. It is also easy to forget that church leaders are a consistent target for the enemy’s attacks. He can and will do everything in his power to stop The Church from being effective and accomplishing its mission. Thankfully, this article reminds us of 20 ways that we can pray for our church. Choose one or two and add to your list.
  • The World.  There is so much going on in the world today – some of which is downright depressing. Still, there is good news – we don’t have to stand idly by and watch. Even more good news: you can make praying for the world easier by signing up at www.worldinprayer.org to receive a weekly email with a new world prayer focus.

Step #4: Prepare to Pray with Power Using God’s Words

When our prayers line up with His Word, we can expect a breakthrough in our lives and the lives of others because we are simply agreeing with what He has already declared is so! We can approach His throne with confidence and authority because we know that we are praying according to His will.

The final step to creating the perfect prayer list is to incorporate scriptures that align with the needs that you have outlined. If you are still learning the scriptures this may seem overwhelming at first but don’t lose heart. I have the perfect solution for you. There are two resources that I have found to be especially helpful with tackling this part of your prayer list:

Use either (or both) of these resources to tap into the power of God’s Word!

Step #5: Grab Your Prayer Journal When It is Time to Pray.

Now you are armed and dangerous with your Expect the Impossible Prayer list! No longer will you struggle to stay focused when you pray. Just break out your paper journal or smartphone and follow your list. It may seem odd to pray with a list at first but I am a witness to its power. Give it a try and watch God show Himself strong in your life and the lives of others!

Tamara “Coach Tam” Jackson is a Charlotte-based author, speaker, transformation coach, and 11-year 100 lb. weight loss success story. All too familiar with the emotional and physical challenges associated with adopting and sustaining a healthy lifestyle, Tamara founded faith-based, 265 Point Total Fitness in 2013 to motivate, educate, and inspire men and women everywhere to reclaim their health and their lives with God’s help. Coach Tam’s local and virtual coaching programs empower each client to 1) develop a customized mind-body-spirit wellness strategy, 2) replace counterproductive habits with healthy ones, and 3) stay focused in the face of setbacks and distractions. To learn more about Coach Tam and 265 Point’s programs, click here.