I am getting ready to start a series on creating a prayer journal. I have written in the past on how I created mine, but it’s time for an update. I still need some serious help in my prayer life and I’m pretty sure that will be a lifelong issue. This life isn’t always necessarily conducive to focused and intentional prayer, right? I’m again feeling the need to be better organized and accountable in my daily prayers for myself, my husband, children, and others. And even if my prayer life doesn’t look like the ideal I’ve set up in my mind: sitting in a quiet place, before my children wake and prayerfully make my way through each specific prayer, those intentions are now starting to become a part of my heart on those days when…
Prayer Journal: Those Days
As much as I love my prayer journal, there are those days when…
I wake up thirty minutes later than I planned and a couple of the children are already awake…and one of them is even sitting in “my” chair and drinking from “my” cup.
It’s ok, I calmly tell myself. I can sit quietly and flip through my prayer journal after our family school time and while the kids are doing their animal chores before breakfast.
My husband calls and tells me I need to balance the checkbook because he needs to buy a new tag for his truck and can I find a state income tax form for our sixteen-year-old daughter.
And the soccer coach texts a change in practice time and I need to text back saying my fourteen-year-old won’t be able to make it at that time.
And the five-year-old decides to come back early from animals because he’s “soooo hungwry.”
So I stumble through some prayers and intentions as I make the breakfast, balance the checkbook, text the soccer coach and call the library for a tax form.
It’s ok I calmly tell myself. I can sit down with my prayer journal once school starts and everyone is doing their school work or quietly playing.
The five-year-old wants the Legos back that he gave the nine-year-old because he doesn’t understand that when you give something away it’s no longer yours.
One of the laptops used for math is freezing up and the other is making a funny noise.
The thirteen-year-old went outside to see why the dog was barking and then saw a bird which made him remember to check the hay barn for eggs because a chicken has made a secret nest in there.
So I try to recall God’s presence while I’m walking around looking for the thirteen-year-old. After lunch, once I tell the five-year-old and nine-year-old to go to rest and quiet and the olders are (supposed to be) finishing up school, then I will finally be able to sit down with my lovely prayer journal.
I fall asleep! And when I wake up it’s time to start dinner, straighten the house, answer final questions about school and start getting my people ready for soccer practices.
It’s ok I calmly tell myself. I can use those beautiful prayers I composed after dinner while sitting in the car at soccer practice.
By the time I finish delivering my people to their respective practices, drop off over-due library books and find a parking spot near the fields, a sweet momma comes up to the car for a visit, or a nineteen-year-old, living from from home, calls, not because she’s homesick–of course, but just to chat.
While I’m out my husband, out on his own errands, calls to tell me we are out of cereal and milk; could I please stop and get some on my way home since I’m closer to the store than he is?
Once stinky, sweaty children get in the car, I head for the grocery store, only to be reminded, I need to put gas in the car first.
By the time I get home, it’s clean up, evening animal chores, night-night snack, bath time, family prayer, and goodnights.
And I realize I went the entire day without once opening my prayer journal.
When I woke up thirty minutes late, before I got out of bed I said, “Serviam” I will serve; I started my day with prayer. And when I saw those two little boys up with the sun, I helped them with their morning offering; I continued in prayer. During our family school, we read about the saint of the day and our Guardian Angels. Next, we worked on our Scripture and Catechism memorization. When my husband calls just a brief inspiration of thanksgiving for his dedicated service to our family enters my heart and seeing my seventeen-year-old walk into the room gives me a moment’s pause as I feel intense gratitude for my vocation as her momma. Looking into the big brown eyes of my five-year-old and his brother’s clear blue ones again remind me of the blessings I have been given. Computer problems remind me of the abundance we have and the ability I have to homeschool my children. And walking around outside, hunting down a thirteen-year-old offers me the opportunity to enjoy God’s amazing creation…including a wandering child.
Do you see? Each and every moment could have been turned into a prayer, a conversation with God. Some of them were a prayer just by lifting my heart and mind up to God. These weren’t long and formal prayers. They weren’t composed and poised prayers. Most of them probably didn’t even look like prayers to anyone else…me included.
Each time my heart was turned to gratitude, I prayed. Each time I reflected on my blessings, I prayed. Each time I served someone else, I prayed.
These are not the ideal prayers every single day, but they are prayers. So don’t get hung up on supplies and form, location and position.
I began using a prayer journal made with a small three-ring binder. You can find that supply list here, Prayer Journal Video and Resources. I am now transitioning into a Carpe Diem Planner, Marigold color. I like the protective cover, the pockets, and the overall feel of my new prayer binder. I’ll post more in this new journal soon, plus video.