Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Prayer Notebook: Catholic Edition

It's about to get personal up in here.  This is how I go about praying.  For my mind, I need prayer to be organized.  During the week I wake up at 6am to have a full hour to myself before the kids get up.  During this time I do my 30 minutes of prayer.  I used to have use a bible, a spiritual book and a journal.  I would open up my bible to whatever page, read a little bit, then read a little from a spiritual book, then quite honestly fall asleep on the couch until the kids got up.  I was not inspired, and prayer really felt more like another chore. I knew I needed a change and when I need ideas I always turn to Pinterest and Youtube.  I found a couple Youtube videos of a couple ladies describing their prayer notebooks.  Here is a great one by a lady named Gina and another by a lady named Jill.  I recommend watching those videos as well.  I used ideas from both ladies to make my own.

I used a 1.5", 3-ring binder with pockets on the inside and a clear pocket on the front.  I personalized it with some scrapbook paper, and I can swap it out when I need a change.

On the inside pocket I have a paper that has a 3 months-at-a-glance sheet in it. I use it to keep track of certain things to pray for that only happen rarely.  For example, if one of my friends or family members are travelling, I write it down.  If someone is having a birthday, I pray for special blessings for them on that day, etc.  I also keep track of novena's or special days on the Catholic calendar. Whenever I open my binder I look at this paper first to see if anyone needs a prayer for safe travel, or special blessings, or to remember to do my novena prayer if I happen to be saying one. 

On the other side I have a pencil case specially made for a binder.  I have a pen, a post-it notepad and some stickers in it.  I don't use the stickers anymore but just keep them there just in case and also 'cause they're cute.

Here is a plastic pocket thingy (official term, I believe).  I have scrap paper to write out my confessional list.  The washi tape on the bottom right hand corner is to keep track of when I last went to confession.  I like giving an accurate date of when my last confession was to the priest.  And it also helps me to remember around what date to go again. 

I separated my journal into eight sections.  One "Daily", and then one for each day of the week.  I used the re-positionable tabs that have a sticky backing.  I added washi tape to make them purdy.  

Each tab is placed on a clear page protector that has cardstock in it to make it sturdy.  I also added some labels for the cardstock pages, but that was overkill since I only use the tabs to help me find the section I need.

The first section is the "Daily" section.  These are prayers I pray on a daily basis.  I added the acronym "ACTS" which stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication.  For adoration, I used to think of God's creation, like the weather, earth and all it's creatures.  But I felt that wasn't enough, I was missing a whole bunch'o'stuff.  I turned to the internet again and found a great page found here.  I just look at the day it is and then think of THAT aspect of God's greatness to be praised.   For example, day 13: A Personal God.  I do my Examination of Conscience next, but I go into detail about that later.  Then I pray for what I'm thankful.  After that I move on to my supplication prayers found on the following pages.

The next page holds all of my "daily offerings".  In the Catholic faith, we believe we can offer up our sufferings on behalf of someone.  Kind of like a physical prayer.  For instance on the 19th day of the month I offer up my sufferings for those thinking of committing suicide.  I have a ring on my middle finger on my right hand that reminds me of this. For example, let's say I have to get up in the middle of doing something (such as writing this blog post) to go bring my toddler to the bathroom and I really don't feel like it.  I get up without complaining and offer that inconvenience for a soul who wants to give up.  I blocked out the first 7 days because they're family member's names.

The next page is a printout for "prayers for our home" found here.

"Daily prayers for your children" found on Inspired to Action.  I also pray the daily prayers from this page for our god children and our sponsored child.  I've personalized it as you can see.

"Daily prayers for your husband" also found on Inspired to Action.  Also personalized.

This page has got to be the best prayers I have found for a mother.  Short, and to the point.  Brilliant.  You can find it here.  For this page, I just pray what I feel I need more help with, which is usually patience and wisdom.

I may take this page out of the binder.  I found a few prayers on pinterest and even made one, myself, then printed them off.  This was before I found that last awesome page.  Here is the spiritual communion I designed on Pic monkey that you can copy and print off it you'd like.

Next comes some bible reading.  I needed structure and so I found this bible reading plan.  The Book of Common Prayer Daily Office found here.  It doesn't look like you can print it off anymore but you can have it delivered daily to your phone or email.   There are also some other daily prayer devotion plans that you can print off on that site.  I keep track of where I'm at by using a sticky arrow note thing.  I've fallen behind on my readings and I'm not on the day it says I should be on.  So that's why I use the arrow.

This page is for the afternoon.  I  first say the noontime Angelus, then the Anima Christi which is my favourite prayer.  I couldn't find a picture on Pinterest with the version I'm used to saying so I designed my own using Picmonkey again.  I have my Examination of Conscience questions here.  These questions are my personal questions I use to examine my own conscience.  You can use the same ones if you like.  The point is to make questions to target what you struggle with in the day-to-day and resolve to do better on those points.  Lately I've been doing my examination during the "C" of ACTS in the morning.

Now on to each day of the week.  After doing all the "Daily" prayers I then turn to the day of the week that it is.

Mondays:  My husband and myself.  I like to use prompt words instead of long sentences.  It's just a personal preference.  For example, for myself I wrote, "good example" and "spend time".  Which for me means to pray that I live as a good example for my children and I also pray for the motivation and desire to spend time with my children.  Sounds bad I know, but I struggle with this.

Tuesdays: Us as a family, my marriage, and child #1.

Wednesdays: On the left-hand side of the page is child #2 and the right is my In-laws and my side of the family, each by name.  Now I don't pray for each family member each week but I do have them listed out.  I then use the sticky arrow thing that I mentioned earlier, to keep track of where I am at on the list of family members.  A picture to show you this is found below.

Thursdays: Child #3 on the left, and all my friends by name on the right.

Fridays:  Child #4 on the left and all my neighbours by name on the right.

Saturdays: Child #5 & soon to be 6 on the left and then a list of those in need on the right. It's almost a copy of my daily offerings.

And finally Sundays:  My Godchildren, sponsored child and future children to enter our family such as grandchildren (a looong way away) and future spouses of my kids, should that be the path God chooses for them.  Then, on the right as you can see, the Catholic church, the Pope, the parish I attend and those in it, and finally the city I live in.

That's it.  I've been doing this organized prayer system for a few months now and it's just perfect for me.  I hope this helps you out if you are struggling like I was or maybe just need a change of pace.  I'm actually excited to wake up each morning to my prayer time.  This usually takes my around 30 min to complete.

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