Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Prayer Notebook

I have really been feeling the urgings of the Holy Spirit the past week or two, leading me to a deeper, fuller prayer life. Maybe it's the busyness of life with small children, extended family, homeschool, and building a new house, but I have all these prayer needs floating around my brain and no organized way to address them and ensure that I have taken them to the throne of Heaven. 

Last week, the children were over at Grandma and Papa's, and as I was looking through blog posts, I came across a comment about a woman named Gina Garland and her "prayer notebook." 

*cue angelic choirs and bright light* 

THIS is what I needed! I had heard of prayer journals before, but I'm not much of a journaler, and I didn't want something flow-y and romantic that I would sketch in or make pretty. I wanted concrete. Organized. Laid out. Unable to find much of anything specifically Catholic, I found that we need to rely on our Protestant sisters to get us started:)  Gina's YouTube video gave me such a wonderful springboard.

I emailed her and requested her long, long list of prayer topics, and I found them so very helpful. I'll go into that in a minute. First, here's how I set it all up.

I headed to Office Depot and got a small binder, dividers, sheet protectors, and filler paper. They are all 5.5 inches x 8.5 inches, which I think is the perfect size for comfortable holding and keeping in a nightstand or purse. All in all, I spent about $25 setting this all up, but I bought extra paper, as well.

Then, I set up the 5 areas I want to make sure I'm deeply praying for each day: Praise and adoration of The Holy Trinity and the Blessed Virgin, prayers for myself and my roles (wife, mother, sister, daughter, in law, friend), prayers for my husband, prayers for my daughter, and prayers for my son. Within each of those sections, I have the applicable prayer topics I received from Gina, cut and taped in so I can refer to them. I modified some to better suit my role as a Catholic mother, but honestly, the majority of them were completely helpful as is. For example, in the "Myself" section, these are some of the topics to pray for in my role as a mother:

*The ability to be calm in the midst of your children's storms
*To be committed to faithfully pray for and with your children
*Eyes for teachable moments

Great, right? Not like I didn't know these areas need work, but it's so helpful to be reminded specifically to pray for them! We all work on looking for ways to teach our kids, but do we pray to be shown those ways? I wasn't. I was trying to "just do it" rather than asking for help. Duh. There are dozens and dozens of similarly wonderful reminders in each of these sections. 

Also, I printed some favorite hymns to include in the adoration section. Music is such a wonderful mood-setter in prayer:)

Then comes the prayers for each day of the week. Gina has different daily prayer areas than I do. Here is a great place to modify for our Catholic lives.  I have set up my notebook so I pray for the following:

Monday: The Holy Father, Bishops, Priests
Tuesday: Family (my extended family)
Wednesday: Friends
Thursday: Poems, Passages, and Prayers (anything I have come across in my reading which speaks to me)
Friday: Country and Community (the President, leaders, things going on in our parish)

These seemed to me to be areas I need to be faithful in. If I hear of another need, something I commit to pray for, I write it on a Post-It and place it on the inside cover of my binder to remind me to pray for those intentions each day. This is more for an emergency situation, rather than an ongoing need which might get placed in one of the weekly sections. 

In that front, inside pouch, I have holy cards and little quotes I've printed to use as aids, if need be, and in the back pocket, I have a really good, thorough examination of conscience to use each day. Each section has a sheet protector, too, so if I have a picture or clipping relevant to that area, I can slip it in.

So, that's my prayer notebook! Very organized, in my type-A way, but so useable as well. I have been spending about half an hour each day, at quiet time, writing down my needs and prayers, and I seriously long for that time. I am still doing my morning and evening prayers, and the rosary, of course, but the notebook allows me to dig deeper into all areas of my life.

I hope some of this has been of use to you, and I would certainly encourage you to watch Gina's video and ask her for her very helpful notes as well. Blessings on your prayer life!


  1. I use a similar binder (only a regular full size one - but am downsizing to a smaller). I have the following sections: Everyday (people and needs that I want to pray for everyday other than my family). Monday (church family), Tuesday (Missionaries) Wednesday (City and Country and also for the peace of Israel) Thursday (Extended Family) Friday (Expecting Mothers list and other prayer needs that don't fit in the other sections.

  2. Angela, I see you started using the Prayer Journal in 2013 so I wondered if you are still using it? Also I wondered if you could send me the list of topics you got from Gina. I, too, am Catholic so I would be interested in your divisions as well.

    You have a beautiful family. Reading your blog is delightful. Thank you for any assistance

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