Make a Prayer Book From A Dollar Store Photo Album – with GIVEAWAY!

When I first went to IHOPKC in 2012 for the One Thing Internship, one of our leaders, Vanessa, taught us all how to make a prayer book with a cheap 4″ x 6″ photo album and index cards. I’ve been using and tweaking her method for years, and I really love it!

I have mine broken up into a weekly schedule with verses that I can pray for different topics, but feel free to make this project your own in any way you think will help you pray more regularly and with better focus.

Materials:

4″ x 6″ photo album

4″ x 6″ index cards

Both of these can usually be found at Dollar Tree.

Step One: Plan Your Topics

Decide how you want to use your book and plan your topics. Do you want to have a lot of broad topics in your book and rotate through them once a week? Do you want a few specific topics you can pray every day?

When I recently reorganised my prayer book, I made a very messy list of prayer points which I grouped into categories, then crossed out and regrouped, then scheduled by day. I decided to pray for The Prayer Room every day, a small subsection of my family every day, and a handful of my ministry partners every day. I’ll also pray for a different broad topic each day.

Write a schedule grid on an index card, and slip it into the front page of your book.

Note: As an intercessory missionary, I have a lifestyle of being in the prayer room at least four hours a day, six days a week. That gives me a LOT of time to pray through my topics. Don’t bite off more than you can chew! The times I’ve used my prayer book the least was when I packed it so full of different topics that I got overwhelmed. Ask the Holy Spirit what He’s asking you to carry daily, weekly, or maybe just whenever you think of it. This should be a blessing, not a burden!!

Step Two: Write Your Topics

Each topic gets its own index card. Write the topic at the top (along with the day of the week, if you’re doing that), then underneath list some specific prayer points within that topic.

Depending on how broad your topic is, your prayer points may be very broad or narrow. For example, my “Justice” topic is very broad, and my points under that are abortion, sex trafficking, racial reconciliation, etc. But when my topic is more narrow, such as my daily topic of praying for The Prayer Room, the prayer points are much more specific and will probably change pretty often as different needs arise.

Step Three: Write Out Your Verses

This is probably my favourite part of my prayer book. Next to every prayer topic, I have a prayer from Scripture that I want to use when I pray for that topic. These verse cards are very easy to pull out and move around if I want to use that verse for a different topic one day. I even have extra verses in my book that float around between topics.

Praying the Word is sooo valuable. It launches us into partnership with God because we know we’re praying things that He already wants to do! Praying Scripture has absolutely revolutionised my prayer life, and I’m going to boldly say that your prayer book is incomplete without the verses.

Almost all of my verses are from this list HERE of apostolic prayers found in Scripture. A longer list can be found HERE.

Step Four: Assemble Your Book

Now, put the index cards in the book in an order that makes sense to you. Be sure to intersperse your verses with your topics so that you always see them together and can easily pray from Scripture.

Step Five: Add Other Pictures/Postcards

I like to put other pictures and postcards that prompt me to pray in my book. (Whoa, aliteration much?) I have prayer postcards from missionaries, postcards of places I care about, and also pictures of my family and headers from church bullitens. You can also stick in any fun pictures, quotes, or anything at all that inspires you to enjoy prayer. (I maaay have a few inspiriational Dove chocolate wrappers tucked in those photo sleeves!)

There you go! Keep this with your Bible and journal and make it part of your regular secret place time, or keep it wherever you know will help you ACTUALLY PRAY. That’s the point, after all. A model is only helpful to the degree it helps us actually connect with God. I like to pace while I pray, and I love that this book fits easily in my hand, can be folded backwards without damage, and can be stuck under my arm while I’m pacing and praying.

This book can and probably will change freqently, depending on the topics God puts on your heart, the amount of time you want to spend with it, etc. That’s okay! Figure out what works for you, and when it no longer works, try something else.

GIVEAWAY!

I’m going to make this very simple. I bought two photo albums and two packs of index cards at Dollar Tree yesterday. If you want to try this prayer book method, email me at fragrancearise@gmail.com with your mailing address! The first two people will get the materials in the mail to make your own prayer book!

New Rapid Fire Prayer Topic

At the end of every set, everyone in the room lines up at the mic to pray short “rapid fire” prayers on a certain topic, usually related to something happening within the ministry. Right now, our topic is:

We need a new A/C unit for upstairs. Praying the Lord would provide all the finances involved.

Our air conditioners upstairs have never been great; we’ve had them repaired a ridiculous number of times since we got the building. The one in our Daniel Academy preschool room is our top priority right now, so that our younglings don’t cook in the Texas heat when school starts in August. It’s a real health/safety concern for the children, so we’re asking God and people for financial help to get a new A/C.

God, please provide for us to buy a new A/C for our Daniel Academy room. Bring dramatic financial donations again like You’ve done so many times before!

The Beauty of Hiddenness

iphone_hidden_flower_072011

At The Prayer Room, anyone who can play a few chords and is willing pretty quickly becomes a worship leader. That’s the nature of a small house of prayer. Many of us are in that boat, including me. Others… WOW. One guy in particular is crazy talented. Like, dang. He’s basically TPR’s Matt Gilman. I would confidently throw him up on a Onething conference stage in front of 30,000 people and he would rock the house no problem.

And yet, day after day he’s playing and singing in an empty room in a rented church in Arlington, Texas.

One day while I was in his set (I was literally ushering an empty room) I was blown away by this picture of hiddenness. He wasn’t holding back or singing halfheartedly because his audience was lacking. He wasn’t singing for any audience but One. As God started showing me what He sees in this moment, I almost felt like I was intruding on something private and sacred.

The great heavenly chorus of “HOLY HOLY HOLY” pales in comparison to the way one human voice lifted in an empty room captivates Jesus’ heart.

There really is such a beauty in hiddenness. There’s a purity in undistracted worship–in secret faithfulness.

And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
(Matthew 6:4, 6, 18)

It reminds me of David’s years of preparation, singing to the Lord alone while watching his father’s sheep. I think God cherished those songs even more than He did the songs that came out of David’s amply-staffed 24/7 tabernacle later on.

And of course, it reminds me even more of Jesus–who was in the very form of God yet emptied Himself to take the form of a servant. (Philippians 2:5-11) He hid his own glory so thoroughly for 33 years–and especially for the first 30 before His ministry began. Even today, He hides Himself. He who will one day split the sky and appear in the clouds like lightning flashing from the east to the west (Isaiah 64:1, Matthew 24:27-30) goes unnoticed and unconsidered by billions of people every single day.

Many of us feel hidden right now. Many of us feel like we have something to offer, and we’re stuck in a back corner somewhere, because it’s not our season yet.

Guess what. If you love Jesus well in the corner, He’ll treasure it forever. He may have been the one who put you there. Maybe He wants your undistracted gaze just a little while longer. It’s a beautiful thing to be alone in an empty room singing to Jesus. All the best leaders in history did their time in obscurity… and many of the most faithful ones, whose names we’ll never know until heaven, spent their whole lives in hiddenness. What kind of glory are they swimming in now?

Holy hiddenness is a beautiful thing, because you can lock your heart fully on Jesus and know He’s the one who hears your song. He’s the one who counts your secret faithfulness as a personal offering of love. It doesn’t matter whether anyone else ever sees you. He sees, and He loves every moment.

Lauren worship leading the 7-9pm set on a Thursday night.

“It’s the joy of being lovesick…” Lauren worship leading the 7-9pm set on a Thursday night.

Farewell Camp, Hello Summer!

My mountains as seen from my hometown

My mountains as seen from my hometown

Hellllloooooo, Rancho Cucamonga! I got home from camp just over a week ago on Friday, June 7. Since then, I have:

  • Watched almost a full season of Heroes on Netflix.
  • Deep cleaned my room and given away bag after bag of clothes and fabric. (I LOVE simplifying my life!! Occasionally I would go on rants about materialism, and then start throwing things out of my closet. It was magnificently freeing.)
  • Crafted more handmade vintage-y greeting cards which will very soon be selling on my new etsy store! (Official announcement pending)
  • Babysat twice and have set up dates for more.
  • Officially made Refuge House of Prayer my home church!

I did not get the “ideal” summer job I had been hoping for. I was a little bummed, but I have concluded that God was protecting me from an overcrowded schedule. My first priority this summer needs to be my online IHOPU classes. As it is, I have arrangements for babysitting over the summer for a number of families. I will be very busy the next two months, that’s for sure.

As excited as I am to be home for a few months, it’s also rather difficult to leave my camp. Summer camp 2010 was my first full-time job. I’ve spent large portions of the past three years there, totaling about 16 months. I’ve learned and grown so much. From general leadership skills like initiative to flexibility to guest service skills like saying “yes” (whenever feasible) to outdoor science school skills. I am now the master of dozens of different ways to get and keep attention, teach about the environment, survive (theoretically) in the wilderness, keep kids busy kids with a game, etc. Throw me on the trail with 20-30 5th graders, and I will be completely in my element.

And even beyond all those handy professional skills, I grew a lot relationally. Since I never lived on campus during college, camp was my first real communal living experience. I’m a solid introvert with a tendency toward isolationism, so being “forced” to “do life” with so many people was just what I needed. The teamwork, fun, and fellowship has been simply wonderful. I love these people so much and will always treasure the memories I’ve built with them.

I’ve also learned how to intentionally carve out time for God. I had to do it at APU, but it got harder at camp. That’s why the camp prayer chapel and a couple of other lookout locations have become so precious to me. I’ve met with God there, because I’ve determined to set aside time and treat them like appointments that must be kept. The key is intentionality and priority. It’s planning ahead and putting my Bible in my backpack (even if it means I end up hiking the mountain with it for half a day). It’s taking advantage of small – or large – blocks of time. If I want to spend time with God, then I’ve got to fight to make sure that happens when no one else will do it for me.

The mountains have bewitched me, body and soul. I see God in them every time I look around. I see him when I marvel at the rugged, delicate, colourful, brilliant beauty of this world. Golden, flaming sunsets. Leaves rustling in the breeze. The rich petrichor smell of the forest in the rain. Colours, shadows, textures, shades of life. So much depth and creativity… they all reveal the heart of the Artist.

Those three years were one of the best gifts my Father has ever given me.

Now, Rancho. Family. Home. And classes… SEEP starts tomorrow. I’m going to be throwing myself into studying the Bible at a level I never have before. I’ve sat through classes at OTI, but there was no homework. I’ve done Bible classes at APU, but that was APU, not IHOPU.

This is going to be a summer to remember.