Let My Heart Be The House

There are steadfast hearts that still beat strong
In the valley of their torment
There are hearts with walls built all around
Misfortune and pain to prevent
There are mended  hearts in the aftermath
of healing from sorrow and pain
But let my heart be the house that becomes your abode
And let your Spirit reign.

Let my heart be the house that becomes your abode
Let my will to yours comply
Your plans that are good, meet the hopes that I had
As you set to purify.
I cannot fulfill my hopes and dreams
By trying to dodge Your plan
Let my heart be the house that becomes your abode
And let your Spirit reign.

I keep in my heart that’s become your abode
Soothing balm for the traumas of strife
Wonderful words filled with healing and hope
Oh your wonderful words of life!
I ponder these words and lean closer to hear
Whispers of your infinite plan
Let my heart be the house that becomes your abode
And let your Spirit reign.

I know there are deep seated habits in there
And flashbacks of long ago frights
That cannot coexist with the love and the grace
That dwell in immaculate light
And so I present, with complete confidence
This heart, to redeem for your own
Make it into a house that becomes your abode
For the sake of your will alone

Let my heart be the house that becomes your abode
Make my will to yours comply
Take the good, take the bad, take the weak and the strong
Wise, foolish – purify
Let me take my seat at your nail scarred feet
As you take up your domain
Let my heart be the house that becomes your abode
And let your Spirit reign

L Hedges

ACT before you ASK – Supplication tab

We’re in the ASK part of my prayer journal, we’ve spent time in adoration, contrition/confession, and thanksgiving.  We’ve read our Scriptures, and taken steps to apply what we have learned to our daily lives, and now, we come to the part where we petition God for the things we need.  Supplication is just a fancy word for “ask” or “request”.

This part of prayer is the most familiar to us.  I am guilty of spending more time asking for God to help me, or bless me, or hear me than I am at any of the others put together.   I started working on this prayer journal for this very reason, so I could stay focused and remember to glorify and honor God, remember His blessings to me, and listen to what He has to say to me in prayer.

I start my time of asking, by asking others to pray for me.  I wrote a little bit about that here and here, and there’s more I want to add, but it would be another blog post in itself, so it will have to wait for another day.  One of my favorite prayers for intercession is to St. Michael the Archangel.  I have this prayer written out to help me ask St. Michael for his protection and his prayers.  There are other saints that I know are watching my race and rooting me on as I go.  I am so thankful for their prayers for me.

IMG_0765I divided “Supplication” into 7 sections, one for each day of the week.  On the front of each tab, I have a sticky note with the day’s prayer intentions written on it.  I got this idea from my Catholic Family Prayer book, and added some of my own intentions to their suggestions.  It helps me to have it a little bit different every day, so I don’t feel like I’m in a rut asking for the same things every day.IMG_0766

I have pockets in these sections to hold holy or patron saint cards, handwritten notes, pictures, or scribbles on scrap paper with prayer requests on them.  These are just aids in reminding me who or what I need to pray for, and gives me something to do with my hands while I’m praying.  It really helps me to have a visual prompt, especially when praying for people.

Right now, my tabs include:

Sunday:  Parish and neighborhood, a spirit of zeal, true religion and piety, and priests.  Since I am praying for my own parish today, I specifically name Fr. Andrew and Fr. Joseph, as well as the Holy Father, Pope Francis.

Monday:  Marriages and families, a spirit of meekness and humility, souls in purgatory, and religious communities.

Tuesday:  My own children and grandchildren (by name and special intentions), a spirit of faith, relatives, friends, and benefactors.  I keep a LOT of pictures in this section.  I like to be able to “lay hands” on my family members even though we are far apart.  Note:  This is a great place to retire those Christmas cards with family pictures 🙂

Wednesday:  World leaders, a spirit of charity, the sick, dying, elderly, suffering and poor (and those who care for them).

Thursday:  The persecuted Church, love for the Holy Eucharist, vocations to the priesthood, conversion of unbelievers and needs of missionaries

Friday:  State and local authorities, employers, spirit of self-mortification and self-sacrifice, conversion of sinners

Saturday:  Social media connections, personal ministries, love of chastity and the Blessed Virgin, schools and teachers, children and youth.  (Since my children are all out of school, and grandchildren have not yet entered, I pray for their future teachers and schools as well as our local schools, public and private.  I pray for the witness of Christian teachers on thier students and co-workers, and for the witness of Christian youth on their peers and teachers.

I am in the process of assigning a patron saint for each day.  I don’t have one for each day yet, but St. Vincent dePaul fits appropriately on Wednesday.  It’s a handy prompt for me to remember to pray for our church’s chapter of St. Vincent dePaul and their ministry to those in need.  Similarly, St. Therese has become our family’s patron saint, so it is fitting that I place her prayer card in Monday’s slot.  I became aware of a need in her community in Lisieux, and having her prayer card reminds me to lift those needs up.  It’s the least I can do, since she is praying for me, I can pray for her as well.  I know others will come to me as I continue to ask, but right now, that’s all I’ve come up with.

Do you have a system for organizing your prayer intentions for yourself and others?  I’d love to hear your ideas, and glean from you too.  Share in the comments with us.

ACT before you ASK

I’m working on a prayer journal system that will hopefully be a tool in keeping me organized and on task in my quiet time.  Right now, it’s a tool, but also a project, as I am in the process of tweaking it to make it function for me.  You might remember that last year, I began putting a little prayer journal together for the sake of memorizing the creed and rosary.  I did a series on prayer that included some of the insights the Lord gave me while putting it together, and I’m thinking this is going to be a similar series by the time we finish with it.

20140524-081414-29654093.jpgLast year, a dear friend sent me a little journal, which had remained empty and unused until last week.  I’ve put it to use as my Beta version, and when I pick it up, I remember her in my prayers.  (She is one that I thank God for in my Thanksgiving…as well as one I intercede for in my supplication) …but I’m getting ahead of myself.   By the way, I LOVE how God made this journal with sunflowers!  It’s like my prayer life has a theme…and seeing sunflowers reminds me to pray.  How great is He!?

I started putting my journal together by following the ACTS model of prayer, that is, Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication.  As I continued it kind of morphed into what I call ACT before you ASK.  I don’t know about you, but if I’m don’t deliberately make myself focus, my prayer time can sound whiny, and childish.  I do not want my prayer life to be marked by this.  I want my prayer time to be intentional, where I focus on the Lord and my heart is filled to overflowing with gratitude and praise for Him, and marked by faith and trust.

I divided my journal into six sections as such:

Adoration – Where I record the names and attributes of God that I collect as I go.
Contrition/Confession- Where I spend time in self-examination and confess the sins that the Holy Spirit reveals to my spirit.
Thanksgiving – Where I remember to thank the Lord for what He is accomplishing in my life.

Application – Where I record my God whispers…times when the rubber meets the road…those little (or big) things that jump out at me in my daily Bible reading, prayer, or personal interactions with others.
Supplication – Where I keep a record of people that I pray for on a regular basis.
Knowledge – Where I keep a record of portions of Scripture and Bible truths that I have committed to memory and know by heart.

My daily quiet time follows this model pretty closely, with my daily Bible reading fitting right between the two acronyms.  I think I’ll make a separate post for each of my sections so I can show you better how I put this system to work for me.  I haven’t completely made up my mind whether I will prefer a bound journal, like the one I’m using right now, or if I will eventually move to a 3 ring binder system.  I can see benefits and downsides to both, and I may eventually use a combination of both.  It is providing me with more opportunity to create, and draw, and color.  For now, my dividers are homemade, laminated bookmarks that fit the book.  Each divider has prompts that keep me on track, and the cool thing about them is, if I don’t want to take my whole journal with me, but need the prompts, I can remove them from the journal, put them in my Bible, or purse, or whatever I’m carrying, and tote them along with me to use as needed.

More to come…