I often used to go away from group prayer times without giving much additional thought to the prayers I heard there. In fact, many times I would forget completely what we prayed. It was kind of like listening to a sermon in church, but the next day not having the foggiest notion with the pastor had said!
Then one day as I listened to others’ prayers of intercession, it dawned on me that a pattern was emerging. One prayer flowed into another. God‘s heart for the situation seemed to pour out phrase by phrase, person by person—occasionally punctuated by murmurs of agreement, readings of related Scriptures, and declarations of warfare prayer when someone identified and resisted a scheme of the enemy. I realize that God was really speaking through their prayers. I grabbed a pen and started taking notes.
When the prayer time was over, I had in front of me a list with two columns: “God’s heart” and “the enemy’s schemes.” I had jotted down things we had prayed for, such as unity, faith, increased provision, and a greater ability to see God‘s hand at work. I had noted things we had prayed warfare prayers against—such as disunity, confusion, fear, and offenses. I also had a list of scriptures that had come to our minds as we prayed. I felt like I had marching orders! By simply trying to capture on paper with the Holy Spirit had revealed during the prayer time, I had a record of how God had spoken that would help me continue to pray in agreement.
I’ve found that jotting down what I sense the Holy Spirit saying in prayer is a good way for me to listen to God’s voice. God‘s Word is firm about the need to play close attention when He speaks. “Listen and hear my voice,” He urged. “Pay attention and hear what I say” (Isaiah 28:23). To Ezekiel, He said, “Son of Man, look with your eyes and hear with your ears and pay attention to everything I am going to show you, for that is why you have been brought here” (Ezekiel 40:4). The writer of Hebrews echoed the exhortation: “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard so that we do not shift away” (2:1, all emphases mine).
During prayer, taking a few seconds to scribble a key word or idea actually helps me stay focused. It also enables me to see patterns and relationships that often reveal God‘s mind and heart—and the enemy’s schemes—concerning a situation. Afterwards, having the notes motivates me to persevere when I might otherwise forget to keep praying. I’m surprised how often the Holy Spirit prompts me to do follow-up intercession by bringing to mind things I wrote down.
When I take notes during group prayer time (or when I’m praying alone), I record these components:
Revelation of God‘s heart for the situation. For example, if multiple people express prayers for healing, unity, or another theme, I write it down. The Holy Spirit may be emphasizing that request.
Specific schemes and strategies of the enemy. A pattern may also emerge in what people are praying against. I jot down any specific assignment of the enemy I sense the Holy Spirit may want me/us to resist with spiritual warfare prayer.
Scriptures and other impressions. Often the Holy Spirit brings to mind Scripture passages or mental pictures the clarify and provide a framework for what people are praying. I record these for future reference and follow-up intercession.
During a sermon, I often take notes to capture the main points my pastor is making so I can remember later with the Holy Spirit was teaching me through the message. If I truly believe God speaks to His people through prayer (and I am emphatically do), then I need to give His voice the same respect and follow through that I give my pastor. Note-taking in prayer is a great method for doing this.
So the next time you’re in a prayer meeting, I encourage you to give it a try. Listen up—and take note!
(c) 2018 Arlyn Lawrence. All Rights Reserved.