Now that I am (interim) pastoring at Christ the King PCA I find that I am spending a lot more time in prayer. I also find it difficult to keep track of all that I am praying for, and for how those the situations were resolved.
I started with a pen and paper prayer journal, but I have found that I never have it when I need it, and since I tend to lose things I worry that it might fall into the “wrong hands” if I try to carry it everywhere. So I am now experimenting with a new system. I am treating prayer like I treat other parts of my life—prayer is something that I need to prepare for, that I need to keep track of, and most importantly, that I need to do. It is a (blessed, glorious, holy) task. So, like other tasks, I have begun putting prayer requests into my Remember The Milk (RTM) list. (For an introduction to using RTM for Getting Things Done (GTD), see this.)
I have a “Pastoring” list where all prayers get added (along with other churchy things). All prayer requests get tagged with the “@prayer” context tag (I use the @ in RTM to create contexts; if you’re familiar with Getting Things Done that probably makes sense to you, if not try here). If the prayer is about a person, I stick their phone number in a note, and if they have a tag in my system (my wife gets a tag, and so do co-workers and other people I interact with regularly) that tag gets added as well. I also add the date of the prayer request to the note. If the prayer has an expected end date (“pray that my stressful event Friday goes well”) I give it a due date, if it is more open-ended I don’t. I use the notes feature of RTM to keep track of how it all develops. When the prayer is answered, I “complete” the prayer, but I can still go back to it later because RTM will let you see completed tasks—all your answered prayers.
This system is secure (RTM’s servers are super encrypted, and my passwords are super weird and long), it is available to me anywhere (I love my new phone!), and it works almost exactly like most prayer-journaling systems I hear about. The biggest downside is… well, it feels weird. Prayer is such a sacred thing, and pen-and-paper seems more personal/appropriate/holy.But is pen and paper more sacred than bits and pixels?
I have talked to a couple of pastor friends regarding this but have yet to find a system that works for me. Does anyone have any suggestions, pen-and-paper or otherwise? Is there anyone out there who uses technology to keep track of their prayer life? Anyone think that sounds, for lack of a better word, weird? Please share your thoughts in the comments.