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Confession… Organized prayer time has only been an on again off again thing for me for most of my life. Sure, there’s been grace before meals and bedtime prayers with the kids for as long as I can remember. But actual daily time that I set aside for quiet conversation with the Lord? I would say that it’s been a very recent addition to my life and, let me tell you, I am loving it! It’s nothing fancy and it doesn’t take a lot of time, but the benefits I (and, by extension, my family) receive from it are nothing short of wonderful.
So, what do I do? What do I use? And when and how does it get done? Let me show you…
In order to journal, you need a journal!
A few years ago, I got turned on to Matthew Kelly and the good folks at Dynamic Catholic. Among other things, they put out great Advent and Lent video series called The Best Advent Ever and The Best Lent Ever.
Early on, I decided that to get the most out of the series, I needed to jot down quotes or ideas, scriptures possibly, that stood out to me. I went over to my local Barnes & Noble and grabbed this pretty pink journal. I love that it has a hard cover, a ribbon page marker, and that elastic band to hold it shut. And what journal would be complete without some fun colored pens? Sure, you could use regular old black or blue or even the broken pencil from the bottom of your kid’s backpack. It doesn’t matter what you write with, but that what you do write has meaning to you.
Some days, I write quotes I have found or excerpts from the devotional I’m reading. Other days, I simply write down the names of all the people or situations that are on my heart. And every so often, what flows from my pen is a letter to God expressing pain, joy, confusion, frustration, or any/all of the above.
The first devotional I’ve used (and stuck with!).
The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion is fantastic! It has a devotion for every day of the year, and they are all short, sweet, and to the point. They usually start with a quote, followed by a reflection, a short prayer, and then a call to action. Honestly, these take less than 5 minutes to read. If you don’t have a lot of time, but would like to find a quick read with which to start your day, I highly recommend it.
Now I’m digging deeper with Blessed is She.
This past Lent, I was really led in my heart to do some searching. I didn’t know what I was searching for when I started, but I knew when I found it. Social media had really started bringing me down. After the election year and all of the hullabaloo that went along with it, I realized I wanted more positivity when I went online. I craved to be lifted up and not bogged down; wanted to see my friends’ cute kids and what they were having for dinner and get some inspiration for this crazy life. I was even willing to look at cat pictures, folks. That says a lot.
In my searching, I found lots of Catholic mom blogs and authors and I realized they all had a thread in common. They belonged to this organization called Blessed Is She. Eureka! This was what I was looking for. I signed up for the daily devotional that they send straight to your inbox every morning (quotes and ideas from which have definitely found their way into my pretty pink journal!) and love how real and honest and truth-filled they are. When I saw that they had created a prayer journal to guide your path from Easter the whole fifty days to Pentecost, I jumped on it.
Best money I’ve spent in a long time.
What does my journaling time look like today?
Ideally, I am up before the kids and the craziness of the day. I can sit down with my pink journal, my pretty colored pens, and my two devotionals. Reading the prayers and the words of the scriptures, focusing my thoughts on God and the good things of this world, what a difference it makes in my day!
Realistically? Well, that looks a little different. Most of the time, I’ll journal after my oldest has left for school and the chaos of the morning has passed. Other days, I might journal during lunch after a busy morning of running here, there, and everywhere. There have even been those days when I have taken my books and pens with me when I go to bed at night. My eyes drooping over the pages, pen scribbling out some chicken-scratched prayer.
Regardless of when it’s done, I would say that my whole time spent journaling varies from about 10-30 minutes depending on the day. And don’t you have that much time to devote to your relationship with God?
What’s my advice for the newbie who wants to start a prayer journal?
Do it. That’s all. Go get yourself a pretty journal and a nice pen that feels good in your hand. Sign up for daily devotionals that are delivered straight to your inbox. You don’t have to buy a fancy book to use. The very best devotional is divinely inspired, after all…the Holy Bible! You don’t have a copy? Guess what! It’s all online, too! The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has one that’s very easy to navigate. Shoot, they’ll even deliver the daily readings to you each and every day.
Whatever your prayer life, however journaling looks to you, I sincerely hope it brings you a respite of quiet to your day and refreshment to your soul. I hope you find out about a few new saints or authors you were unfamiliar with. And, most of all, I hope it deepens and enriches your relationship with our Lord.
So what about you? Do you journal? What books or devotionals do you use? Leave me a comment and let me know! Who knows, maybe it’ll lead to a list post of favorite devotionals for moms!
5 thoughts on “Prayer Journaling for the Busy Beginner”
I just started reading the “Prayer Companion” book. I’ll have to check out the “Blessed is She” book next!
Definitely sign up for their daily emailed devotional, Anne! They put out three journal books a year, I think…Advent, Lent, & Easter seasons.
I saw you post about the Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion and asked for it for my birthday and have been enjoying it. Thanks for the recommendation. I also get the daily readings emailed to me and read them along with my subscription to “The Word Among Us.” I love the reflections that go along with the readings. It is like a mini uplifting homily. I think the thing I’m missing is the journaling along with it. I will have to start that. Thanks for sharing!
I have been getting the Blessed in She emails–great daily reminder in case I let life get too busy and miss my prayer time! I will have to check out the devotional! The first one I have ever loved was a Matthew Kelly one for Lent and it is (obviously) done for the year. I need something new!