Evolution of a Prayer Journal

I’ve been spending more time in my prayer journal this week.  It’s a lot of the same stuff I talked about in previous posts, but now, since discovering the bullet journaling phenomena, I am moving everything over to a composition notebook, for the sake of more effective archival and retrieval.  Also, it is sometimes very difficult to put my thoughts into verbal words, as my mind is prone to wander about and fixate on the next shiny thing that grabs my attention.  Having a lined journal will allow me to wrangle those thoughts all into a hopefully cohesive and coherent prayer, from my heart to God’s…and one day, will be a good way to remember His goodness to me.

Since I am fortunate enough to be a stay at home wife and Grammie, I have extra time in my day for prayer.  I may not always have this opportunity to spend this kind of time in the presence of God, so I want to show my gratitude by doing it well, redeeming the time, so to speak.


From the time I wake, until the time I go to sleep, I want to be in a habit of keeping company with my Lord.  There are several ways I accomplish this, one of which is memorized prayers.  When I wake up and ideally, before my first sip of coffee, I want to give my day to Jesus.  “Good morning, Lord!  I love you.  What do you want to tell me today?”  I put on the coffee, and continue in worship:  “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.”  It’s here that I often see the first thing He wants me to do today…maybe dishes that didn’t get put away the night before, or a load of laundry that needs to be put on…Sometimes I just take mental note, other times, I may jump right in and get it going while the coffee is brewing…but when that coffee is ready…I’m all about the waking up!  I pour a big cuppa, add my favorite sweetener and stir it all up and take it to my prayer spot.  Here, I keep my Bible, my journal(s), special pens/pencils, religious reading material that I’m working through, and prayer aids, such as chaplets and/or rosary.  I say my morning prayers, then make a mental note of the prayers I pray weekly…I have different areas of specific prayers that I have divided up into my seven day week.  This way, I feel I give adequate time and attention to the things I am praying for.  I don’t try to journal much during this time, but just sit and wake up using the prayers and/or prompts that I already have written out.  This gives me time to set my heart and mind on things above, and I find my day goes so much more smoothly this way.  When the parish bells chime at noon, it is a reminder to pray the Angelus.  I don’t have it memorized yet, so I put it in my prayer journal at midday.  I also am developing the habit of praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  It plays on our local Catholic radio station every day at 3pm.  I love to sing along, and almost have it memorized.


I have been using the CAST model of prayer for just over a year.  There are things I LOVE about having it in a binder, and there are things that are not working for me.  I am hopeful that keeping a composition notebook with a good index will help me keep the things I love and fix those things that didn’t work.  For the time being, I’m maintaining the one, creating another, and using them both in different ways…and I keep a separate journal for planning my days.  I’m wondering if this will continue, or if I will decide to combine them all somewhere down the road.  We’ll see.  For now, it’s nice just to have some semblance of an organized plan.

You can see in my photo, I try to pray for a lot of different things…these are things that are on my heart often, some days I pray for more than one area, whether I’m on that day or not.  This is just a prayer prompt for those days when I don’t know what to pray.  Eventually, I will have collections and prayers for each category, but for now, it’s just a prompt.  I am also in the process of getting to know the saints, and have given some of my favorites a permanent place in my prayer routine.  I love the thought that I have prayer support from that cloud of witnesses that surround us.  (Hebrews 12)   Isn’t the Body of Christ wonderful?  When we are in Him, and He in us, even physical death cannot sever us from His body, which is the Church.

About that rock wall at the foot of the cross:  I told my sister that some days I feel like the young girl on “Secret Life of Bees” (and if you haven’t seen it, go now, borrow, rent or purchase a copy and watch one of my all-time favorite movies ever).  She is a sensitive soul, and feels her sorrows deeply.  When she is heavy and burdened, she runs to a rock wall on her family’s property, and leaves her sorrows there.  How I need a rock wall…like the wailing wall in Jerusalem…but alas, we are apartment dwellers, :). So, I have the next best thing, a pile of rocks where I can leave my own anxieties, burdens, and sorrows.  It fits with my CAST verses, and now I have them in a handy journal.  I like the thought of seeing them reduced to one little rock in a pile that has been cast off…and somehow, I feel lighter, even just looking at the pile of burdens that I am not carrying anymore.

Well, that’s it for today.  Would love to see your prayer journals and hear how you organize your prayer time.  Blessings.

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Words, words, words…

imageThe English language is often lacking in words to describe one’s state of mind, deep feelings or ideas.  Lucky for us, other languages do a much better job at verbalizing these for us, and I found a list that I can see myself referencing many times in the future.  How nice it is to have a word for “the inconsolable longing in the human heart for we know not what; A yearning for a far, familiar, non-earthly land one can identify as one’s home.  (Sehnsucht (n) Origin:  German)

Check out the rest of the words, and see if you can relate at all to any of them.  I wrote down my favorites in my journal to keep on hand…in fact, I think I found the perfect word to call my journal, LOL…Vagary (n) Origin: Latin – An unpredictable instance; a wandering journey; A whimsical, wild, or unusual idea, desire, or action.

Another peek inside

  

Monday’s Supplications:

On Mondays, I pray for my own marriage and family, as well as those of my siblings, children, and dear friends.  Inside my orange pocket, I keep post it notes with names written on them.  It helps me to hold them while I pray, and say each name aloud as I lift them to the Father.

I ask the Lord each day to strengthen me with His Spirit, and specifically, on Mondays, I ask Him to give me a spirit of humility and meekness.  Before adding this to my prayers, I had no idea the struggle that my spirit would engage in as a result…because if you want to be filled with meekness and humility, you have to be emptied first of pride and selfish ambition.  For strong personalities such as mine this is a painful emptying.  It requires me to submit my ideas of what is black and white, right and wrong, fair and just to the One who defines it all…not easy for me, beneficial, yes…easy?  No, not so much.

I am trying to incorporate praying the rosary more, and offering up the intentions of the day while I meditate on the Joyful Mysteries.  I don’t yet have the mysteries memorized, so I keep a post it note on my Monday page to help me stay on track. Often, I will put on a youtube video and pray along, but in the event that I am praying on my own, in the quiet, without noise, I find post it notes to be a wonderful prayer aid.

More Prayer Journal

I had started showing you my prayer journal last year, and it’s been slow going, and it’s morphing and changing a bit, and lately, well, like this blog, it’s been a bit neglected…but I do have some things that I haven’t yet put here that you might be interested in…maybe.

On a good day, I follow the ACTS model of prayer, starting with Adoration.  I talked about that here and here.

Confession comes next in the original ACTS model, but I can’t just follow a model without making it mine, so I was compelled to add another C in before Confession, coming on the heels of Adoration (praising God for who He is, and loving Him for who He is, apart from His works which I get to later…), I thought it was an appropriate place to practice Consecration.  I found two beautiful prayers of consecration, and I may pray one or the other, or both.  I made special pages for them, as I find it is helpful to actually write out what I want to say, and as I’m tracing and doodling in the details, I found myself cementing that prayer in my mind and heart.  Now when I look at it, I have a familiarity with it that I don’t think I would have without the quiet time spent thinking on it, and mulling it over in my mind…writing, and reading, and saying it out loud…it’s a very Catholic concept, isn’t it?  To experience it fully with mind, soul and body.

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Anyway, if you are interested, here’s what it looks like.  The two open up to make a full page spread in my prayer journal/planner.

It is worthy of noting, as a matter of observation in my own spiritual life, how much easier it is for me to keep my mind on track through the day after sincerely praying a prayer of consecration, giving my day, my body, mind, and duties all to the Lord, so that I remember first thing, that I am not my own, but I am His servant, and I choose to do what He asks me to do.

Have you made consecration part of your daily prayers?  I would love to discuss the impact that this has on your life.

I’ll post more as I get my thoughts corralled and coherent.

Blessings, Lyn

 

Prayer Journal: Thanksgiving Tab

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The last couple years, I have participated in “Thankful Thursdays” on facebook.  This is an area that I have come to firmly believe is necessary for joy, and an attribute that I want to develop into my quirky personality.

Thanksgiving is the key to a joyful and contented heart.  How often I lose my key.  Do you do this?  Seriously, I know this works, I’ve seen it in action…yet I forget to be thankful, and am frustrated at my lack of joy.   I want to have a joyful, contented heart; how easy it is to slip into envy and discontent if the door of our minds are locked to the joy that thankfulness brings.

Since I already have a naturally optimistic bent, you would expect that thankfulness would come easy for me.

Yeah.  Not.

While I am naturally optimistic by nature, I also am terribly idealistic, and I expect things to work out like I envision they should.

Yup.  One of those.

Much of the time, with effort on my part, I can make things happen.  But obviously, not all the time.  I am bitterly disappointed when things fall short of my ideal, and I tend to fall (as Anne of Green Gables would say) into the depths of despair.  How easy it is to slip into the devil’s trap of comparison, envy and discontent when the door of my mind is locked to joy.

There is a reason that I choose thankfulness to follow contrition and confession in my quiet time routine.  After the confession portion of my prayer time, I tend to still be a little bit raw.  Really, this should not be surprising, after all, I’ve just examined myself, and admitted my sinful thoughts, actions, intentions and omissions; that is, those things I’ve done and failed to do that have offended my Father.  I’ve brought it all to Him, offered it up, and asked him to forgive me, and now…well…like I said;  I feel a little bit raw.  So, as I remind myself of His precious promises of forgiveness and restoration, and experience the grace that He pours through my broken heart, I begin to praise Him for:

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  • Answered Prayer – Those petitions I have brought before His throne, favors granted, and His provision, including those things that He has withheld from me, or things for which He has chosen to make me wait while continuing to ask.  This part of my prayer time is a real hurdle while I’m suffering with my disappointment and impatience, but it is so necessary, for me, in developing the ability to follow Ephesians 5:20.
  • His mercy that is new every morning – that is, His sparing me from the ultimate penalty of sin, and His faithful, steadfast love through the years. (Ps 25:6, Lam 3:23).
  • Who He is – going back to adoration, and incorporating thankfulness…reminding myself again of the attributes of God, and thanking Him for all that He is to me, for me, and with me. (1 Cor 16:29, Ps. 34:7)
  • My loved ones – family, friends, spiritual leaders, etc. (Eph 1:6)
  • His grace and the indwelling of His Spirit that frees me from sin’s bondage.  Because of His grace, I am not enslaved to sin.  I have the choice to do what is right, and experience victory through Jesus Christ, my Lord.  (1 Cor 15:57)
  • The presence of His Spirit with me. I know He is with me when I experience the fruit of His Spirit in my life.  I continue to pray that my life produces the fruit, evidencing that I am His child, and He lives and reigns in me…by faith…so that everything I do can be done in His Name and for His glory. (Col 3:17)

Thanksgiving does not come naturally, it has to be cultivated!  Because I need frequent reminders of the importance of being thankful, the back of my divider is filled with Scripture reminders of the importance of developing thankfulness with an acronym of sorts of the word “gratitude”.  I have tried to keep these verses at the top of my memory, as I work on this attribute…or rather, as I allow the Lord to develop this attribute in my life.  I don’t have them all memorized, but reading through them in my quiet time has cemented their truths into my routine, and I like to think they are there for when I need them.  As I’m giving thanks, I try to write something down in this section, so that on my down days, when it’s difficult to think of something to be thankful for (I can be a big baby, did I tell you that already?), there is a list of things that I can remember and thank God again.  This is an act of obedience for me, so sometimes I need a little prompt….this totally works!

Act before you Ask
Adoration Tab
Confession/Contrition Tab