Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

The Lists


Cover of "The Help"

Cover of The Help

A few years ago, my brother (who, simply put, is a Man of God) mentioned that he keeps a prayer list, which he uses when he’s having his morning worship time. The only trouble with that is, he said, it keeps getting longer and longer because he couldn’t take anyone he’d prayed for off his list. Once he prayed for someone he always prayed for that person.

Have you read THE HELP by Katheryn Stockett? Great book, and in August, it’ll be a movie. (I hope it’s half as good as the book.)

It’s set in the south and is about black/white relationships in 1962 Mississippi. When you read The Help, you experience the emotions that both the black and white women experience.

An eye-opening book. What impressed me most was Aibileen. (From Kathryn’s website)

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

But that’s not what impressed me. In the book, Aibileen writes out her prayers. And everyone in the black community knows that when Aibileen writes out a prayer, God listens.

When I read THE HELP, I kept thinking about Jeffrey and his list.  

Then I downloaded The Inheritance from Living Proof Ministries (Beth Moore). It’s a recording of a weekly Bible Study Beth taught weekly in Houston, Texas. One of the weeks she say to the women, “I wish you could see my prayer journal, Siestas. You’re all over it.”

(BTW: I downloaded the MP3s, not the DVD. They’re $4 each–$36.

All three of these people are powerful prayer warriors. (Okay, Aibileen is a fictional prayer warrior, but I have a feeling she’s modeled after someone real.)

Is there a connection between prayer and writing? I know it’s not a magic bullet, but is there something in taking a pen in hand and spelling out your prayers? Is it that, when we write out prayers on paper we also write them on our hearts?

Or is it that when a person cares enough to take the time to write out their prayers, God sees how very sincere they are? 

I don’t know. There’s no commandment that says, “Thou shalt write down your prayers.”

Jesus didn’t have a pad of paper where He wrote out His. But he did take time to get away from the crowd, move away from his apostles, even away from his closest friends and spent several hours in prayer.

Most of us don’t/can’t do that (even His closest couldn’t) but taking time to write out prayers or at least keeping a list of who we’re praying for might just be a step in that direction. A place to pour out our hearts as we speak to Him.

Do you keep a prayer journal or ongoing list of people you’re praying for? Does it make a difference in your prayer life?   

In case you’re wondering, I bought a notebook to use as my prayer journal this year. We’ll see how I do.


Author: Susan Shay

For as long as I can remember, I've loved two things--reading and people--and that led me to become a writer. Many of my stories are set in Small Town Worlds. I'm a wife, mother, sibling and an aunt. I have a deep faith in God, and an exciting life in Christ. Maybe I shouldn't be (after all, he's God!) but I'm constantly amazed at the things He's up to. :)

12 thoughts on “The Lists

  1. I want to read that book!

  2. I loved the book. Finished it about two days after I downloaded it. Aibileen was a great character.

    I’ve often wondered whether people meant actual lists when they talked about putting people on their prayer lists. I don’t think my mom made a list and don’t know about anyone else. It seems either a very good memory or a list would be necessary for most people, though, since there are so many who need prayer!

    • The lists are real, but everyone doesn’t use them. Others do just keep them in their heads. I’m guess your mama did that. (You’d probably have found hers with her Bible otherwise.)
      Our church prints a list for us each Sunday. It’s perforated to tear off the bulletin so we can keep it with us all week.
      There are very many who need prayer. I’m one of them!

  3. I used to keep a notebook but eventually stopped. It’s something that I would like to start again. 🙂

  4. I hope I’m on Jeff’s list.
    I have kept a journal for at least 15 years, detailing my prayer requests. I never throw them away, and its interesting to go back and read through them.

  5. Pingback: Written In My Own Hand | It Just Dawned On Me

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