Saturday, June 25, 2011

Intentional Prayer

Melanie is asking a question that I'm curious about as well. She writes:

But recently I've been trying to find ways of being more intentional as I go about my day. And ways of keeping in mind all the prayer intentions that come my way so that I actually remember to pray for them. Add to that the tension of being better at praying for strangers than for my nearest and dearest. So I've got a new plan--and it's very new so I'm not promising that it will work especially well-- to set up reminders on my phone to pray for one member of my immediate family at the top of each hour. And reminders for my other intentions at the quarter hours.

Think of it, if I just schedule every quarter for twelve waking hours, that's almost 50 intentions I can remember in the course of a day! And if I miss the alarm the reminder will still be there and I can double up on the ones I've missed. Still better than forgetting them altogether.

We'll see how it works.

How do you keep track of your prayer intentions and how do you remember to pray throughout the day?

She came up with an interesting plan for herself and I mentioned in her comments that my phone is not capable of that kind of alarm system but still, the idea intrigues me. I hate to just end my day with a cursory "... and for all those who have asked for my prayers". I would like to find a way to be more intentioned with my intentions through out the day. Now, when someone asks for prayers in a specific moment, I offer a prayer for them right away. It's the long term intentions I want to work on remembering and scheduling into my daily prayers.

So, I'm asking too and will be checking in over at Melanie's to see what kind of suggestions there are. Feel free to join the conversation!


  1. I make a note of the prayer intention (on a scrap of paper or a notebook in my purse, usually) and record it in a journal that I use at night. (If the intention is from a blog, e-mail, or something I hear about at home, it gets to go straight to the journal.) I can flip back a few pages and rerecord the ones I want to keep going.

    Tonia at Study in Brown has a little system I've been wanting to try, since I already keep a journal for intentions-I think this would be a better way to extend prayers over the long term.

  2. Charlotte, Thanks for passing on my request. I'm looking forward to seeing what people do.

    Nicole, I love the notebook idea. I have a sneaking suspicion it won't work for me because I've tried to keep a notebook before and it hasn't worked. But I love the way Tonia sets hers up. Very systematic.

  3. I am still using my chalkboard Prayer List. It hangs in a very conspicuous place. Every time I walk by it or glance up and see it, I see all the prayer requests and say a prayer.

  4. Sounds like a good idea! One I've heard is praying for intentions during red lights...we spend so much time stuck at traffic lights, why not use those minutes to pray? :)

    Happy Belated Birthday, Ms. Charlotte!! I hope your husband is feeling better. Your pie looked delicious - so sweet of him to make it for you!

  5. We have a chiming clock and I try to make my intentions when I hear that every hour, but to cover all of my bases I offer (in the style of the morning offering)those hours in the morning ahead of time (often I write my intentions down on a slip of paper and put them under the Blessed Mother statue to hand them to her), too. Usually I have somee other intentions that occur to me during the day - a friend with whom I have spoken during the day, a child who needs a special prayer, and intention of my husband's...sometimes our minds have to be so engaged in the work of the day that it would be detrimental to that work to mentally break away to thinking of the intentions so I like knowing that I have offered my day and my hard work in that day for those intentions. Normally, though, the chime of the clock recalls to my mind the intentions and my thoughts are not required to be so engaged that I can't have the intentional thought/prayer.

  6. Nicole,
    Those notebooks look intriguing, but knowing myself, I'd loose it or forget to write in to. But it definitely is something to consider.

    I have an empty chalkboard sitting right here. That would be a great place to start! Must find chalk!

    A chiming clock is a great idea and kind of similar to Melanie's alarm schedule. I could see that working well with in combination with Paula's chalkboard idea. And I completely agree that we are not called to live in a monastery where all work stops to focus on prayer. That wouldn't be beneficial to our vocation. I like the idea of turning it over to Our Lady. Maybe a once a week reminder to refresh my memory and refresh that list would be a good idea.

  7. Paula, I like the chalkboard idea. I use something similar to remind me of hymns I want to learn. I tape them to my kitchen cabinets.

    Raewyn, I like the stoplights idea too.

    texasmama, My original idea was to get a chiming clock; but I couldn't find one. It took some work to get my computer to chime every hour but I did it. I'd still kind of like to find a chiming clock somewhere.

    I'm very seldom involved with anything so mentally involved that I can't offer up a quick "God bless X" when a bell chimes; but what I like about the iPhone is that even if I don't hear the alarm or I ignore it the reminder is still there on the phone whenever I next pick it up. So I'll just pray for the intention when I see the pop up. It helps me to not forget when the day gets too busy.

    I love the idea of writing down the intentions and giving them over to Mary. I usually say a hail Mary when people ask me to pray for them and turn the intention over to her; but the physical act of writing them and putting them under the statue adds another dimension. And might even invite discussion with the kids and get them praying too.

    Keep the ideas coming, everyone. I'm loving them!

  8. We have a prayer box (decorated shoe box) that we keep on our home altar or in our school room (during school hours) and write our prayer intentions down, placing them in the box. We start our week by reading them all out loud. Each day following, during our morning prayer, we lift up our intentions in the box. This has been a great way for the children to realize their active role in praying for others. Even when praying for strangers on blogs, they will ask me for updates on how people are many lessons and prayer conversations have emerged. Here is the link for a visual picture:

  9. I love the chalkboard idea! I think I could actually make that work. In the past when I have written on sticky notes (everywhere) and made notes on my iTouch sometimes it works, but mostly it doesn't. But if it was a stationary spot in clear view it would be more organized and couldn't get lost or mislaid somewhere.

    Though, I have to say that if it is something I see on FB or a blog update or phone call from our local prayer chain, then I will stop and say 5 Hail Marys right then and there. That way I know that at least I got some prayers in.

  10. We have a prayer board (white board) by the kitchen table so we remember the intentions at dinner. But if a friend has asked for a private prayer, that's in my journal on my nightstand.

    Great question and I am thankful for the answers.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and yourself!