This week, finally, the church prayer diary was reissued - it's only taken 6 months since we 'approved it.' I don't really care for the wording at the start - it is pious twaddle in my view... 'pray for these people/organisations on the date specified and on other occasions as the Holy Spirit leads.' It sounds ever so holy but what does it really mean? Pray when you remember I guess. Still, it is overall an improvement as we do now pray for the local community - schools, businesses and so on - as part of our cycle of prayer.
It got me thinking about the huge pile of prayer diaries that occupy my prayer time - BUGB, BMS, TLM, NBC, SU, Tearfund... Did I miss any? Hope not! They vary wildy in their style and, well to be frank, usefulness. I am often asked to pray for so-and-so on the XYZGP&F committee, not that I know what this committee does, or the role of so-and-so within it, but pray for them anyway. I get asked to pray for Anytown Bapist Church in the Somewhere-or-Other Association but without knowing if this church is small or large, inward or outward looking, let alone its needs (nice idea to pray for 365 Baptist churches, but not very helpful just to have their names and need my direcotry to find out anything about them at all). I get asked to pray for You-know who and their family working You-know-where. The least bad diaries offer a bit of information about the situation and identify some specifics for prayer but on the whole it is hard to pray more than 'God bless you, every one.'
So what should I do? Abandon the diaries all together? No, they act as a good reminder to pray for these organisations/people. I guess I use them as creatively as I can, not always praying exactly as guided and sometimes praying as much for wisdom in my reading as for the requested topic.
Does anyone have any good advice in this area or have you just abandoned the diaries as a disaster?