Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Prayer Notebook: Works Before Thoughts

Commit your works unto the Lord, and your thoughts will be established. -Proverbs 16:3, NKJV
I've never had a good place to record prayer requests that I encounter, especially online.  What usually happens is I read a blog entry or an email from our parish prayer chain, I say a quick prayer, make the sign of the cross, and it often stops there.  If I am particularly connected to the person, I am mindful of the situation and pray more often.

Today, it dawned on me that the little notebook, which my godmother gave me to be a sort of catechumenate journal before I was chrismated, would work well in this area.  As I leafed through the pages, it was evident from a few old entries that I'd made this decision before.

Today, per Mat. Anna's request, I added Mary Evelyn's name to the list.  Next is our friend Jeffery Michael, who is off the ventilator and recovering from his ordeal, but still battles his chronic condition.  Finally, I checked in on Marianna and added her to the list.  As I encounter more, I will add them and allow this notebook's presence at my desk remind me to pray.

The verse above appears at the bottom of the page I was writing on.  It struck me today because I tend to think that I need to get my thoughts right and that doing so will order my actions.  But it's the other way around.  With housekeeping, prayers, homeschooling, practically anything, I need to do not just think.  Taking a step, putting myself in motion, is the only way to discover what God wants from me, or even what simply works for my family and me.  As one of my Covenant Bible College professors said in a parting lecture, "You can't steer a ship that isn't moving."

My self-talk needs to go something like this: Just do it.  Do something. Do anything.  Read one book to the kids.  Say one prayer.  Just get out of bed now.  Don't wait until later when you feel like it.  Because later will come and you will regret not doing it now.
Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.


  1. Thank you Patty.

    I had the same thoughts a month back or so. I used to do exactly the same thing. Exactly. Then one night I was trying to remember the name of a person whose prayer request I had encountered that day and I realized I had let so many slip through the cracks.

    I now have an index card, full of crowded lists of names and intentions, sitting in my prayer book as a sort of bookmark. Last night I got a pen out and added another family and as I did so, I realized that I'm simply going to have to recopy neatly all of the names on the card and perhaps start another one. Looking at the tiny writing representing so many hopes and illnesses, pain and patience, I had the overwhelming thought that we are upheld by prayer more than we know. I doubt a quarter of the people on the card know I am praying for them. Am I too on "lists" I don't know about? Probably.

    Lord have mercy.

    (And thanks for the update about your friend. I was meaning to ask.)

  2. this is so profound...thank you! It's so very true that we have to first put ourselves into motion - at least, I have found this to be true in my own life and struggles.

    I have a journal in which I record names to pray for and I keep in on our home altar with my red prayer book tucked inside. It helps me to have the names written down because I know who I need to pray for and I can say for certain who I have been praying for :) Otherwise I forget.


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