PrayerMate: How to manage the rate at which you pray for things

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Somebody emailed me with a great question today about PrayerMate which seems to be quite a common one. They asked:

“Is it possible to prioritise items that you pray for? I have made some things that I pray for every day, but it would be good if I could make other things weekly and other things monthly.”

Getting this kind of thing right in PrayerMate is more an art than a science, but with a bit of tweaking you can usually get it to do what you would like. The key to this is effective use of lists. Assuming you have it set so that you only ever see one or two items per list, then naturally you will pray for subjects from very short lists on a very regular basis, whereas items from a very long list will get prayed for less frequently.

Here’s my setup:

  1. I have one list with just a single subject – the Lord’s Prayer. The key is that I have turned on the “manually set items per session” setting on this list, telling PrayerMate that it should always try to include subjects from this list if it can. This list is also the very first one of my lists, making it the most important. The result is that I always get shown the Lord’s Prayer every single time I pray.
  2. I have another list with about five or six subjects. Again, this list is manually set to show one item per session, so that I know I’ll always get one of those items each time. If I managed to use PrayerMate every day, I’d get to pray for each item on this list roughly once per week.
  3. One of my “friends” lists has about 20-30 subjects in it, and doesn’t have the manual items per session setting turned on. People in here will tend to come up at least once a month, but sometimes a little less often than that.

The ability to manually request a specific number of items from certain lists is very useful, and perhaps not as well explained as it could be. The key is to use it sparingly – if you have too many lists set up in this way then it will start to lose its meaning.