Sunday, January 3, 2021

Planners, Calendars and Journals: Starting a Daily Prayer Journal

Hi Friends, How's the first week of the New Year going? Could we say any week of year 2021 might be more hopeful than 2020? I've noticed that there aren't many "Word for the Year" posts in blogland like we've seen in past years. Not many posts on resolutions either or many posts on plans for this new year. I think we all feel like we've been kicked in the proverbial pants by 2020 and are a little apprehensive about making huge plans (or even small ones) for awhile.


*This is not a sponsored post.




Since 2020 has been a monumentally blah and boring year as far as things I've done or things to do, I realize I still love a calendar and a book-type daily planner near my phone that I can grab quickly. Something large enough to list appointment times, place and telephone numbers etc. It seems like all I took note of this last year were doctor appointments and tests.

I love nature illustrations and botanical prints, so for the last several years I've ordered this "Nature Inspiration" calendar from Dutch artist Marjolein Bastin. I ordered it from Calendar.com, but it can be purchased also on Amazon. I love turning the calendar page each month seeing her artwork of nature, birds, animals, flowers and plants.


Wall Calendar



Daily and Weekly Planner



Having mentioned resolutions, they have a way of falling by the wayside only to point accusing fingers at us and create guilt if for some reason we can't always follow through. This last year has forced many of us to stay at home and taken away the ability to gather with others for clubs, Bible studies, and get togethers, exercise classes, craft groups and even Church. I've never been one to make resolutions for the new year, but I often feel God compel me to focus on a particular word or phrase or scripture verse for a time of study. God always calls me to a time to communicate with Him. And there's no finger pointing with God. 





So instead of resolutions, I thought I'd share an easy way to start a small habit that can make a huge difference in our daily lives. I've always loved to write down thoughts and ideas, but didn't particularly feel like a daily "diary" had much of a point to it. I lead a relatively quiet life and always have. Yes, I had kids and church and Bible Studies and family and a husband. But just sitting down to record daily events and random musings hasn't appealed to me much.





(These pics are some of the lovely illustrations from the Planner.)








The one thing I've felt like needed to be a priority in my daily life was having an active and consistent prayer time. It's so easy to not allocate a specific time and or place to set aside a time for Bible study and prayer. We're busy with a lot of demands and I found that in my late 30's I was exhausted by the end of the day and my only time for being by myself was late at night. Waiting till I was in bed with the lights out and a fluffy pillow proved to be a problem too, because it was just too easy to fall asleep or let my mind wander off down rabbit holes and examine in depth what needed to be done the next day.


(Journals purchased at Christian Art Gifts)



I had begun reading a lot of "God books" as my younger daughter used to call them. Life was proving to be full of situations and obstacles that my "Sunday Morning" Christianity wasn't fully addressing. How to handle teens and seeking to be a godly parent was what got me started. I wasn't equipped to lead our kids into a productive Christian life when I was struggling with my own. I knew the only way to make changes was through prayer. Believe me, I tried lots of tactics but soon realized that God was going to have to make those changes, not only in my family life, but in my own. It wasn't anything I could do myself; only through prayer.





It was proving to be a bigger task than just a quick few minutes of haphazard prayer time. I needed to concentrate and study and commit to spending time with God. I had a lot of requests and needs and I needed to keep track of what I was praying about. So I started writing down (journaling) my prayer time. I found that as I did that God would bring scripture to my mind that I would look up and focus on. This was before the Internet so it was all by hand and I just started with what I had access to: a Highschool 3 ring binder notebook with loose notebook paper. As time went on I became more organized and used separate tabs and color codes for different prayer requests. 




Over the years I've switched to a binder journal that I can journal as much or as little as I need. I don't keep it by years or months, I just fill them up and label on the front page the dates. Over the years my prayer time has changed too. Now I use my iPad to read daily devotionals from several ministries and then journal and look up scripture. Usually it's at bedtime, but now I'm not tempted to fall asleep. Sometimes reading a certain Bible "book" like John or Romans has been my focus. No matter how many times I read the Bible through or years that I've journaled, it never gets old or monotonous. Each time I open God's Word He shows up and speaks to my heart. Those times I journal, because I always refer back to His guidance and direction. 




I find that I always have something to write and journal, even if it's just a time of praise and thanksgiving. Some times it's mostly family situations or prayer for my kids or people I know. This last few years have been more time spent on healing scripture. If you ask for God to bring things to your mind for prayer He will gladly do that!



Back in 2009 when I first started blogging I started a Bible Study Blog called "A Day in the Life - Walking with God". I had taught women's Bible Studies for several years before I'd had a drastic change in my health with debilitating heart problems. I did a study on Prayer that I'm linking to if you'd like to go by and visit. These are just 5 short entries that give the basics for prayer. But above all else, just think of prayer not in terms of rules or methods, but as a time to just "talk" to God. He's so happy to have you interested and seeking Him there won't be confusion or feeling like you're not worthy to go to God for His help.


I guess I should explain that just this last month I've been diagnosed with both diastolic and systolic heart failure. Not "congestive" which is with fluid in the lungs, but still fluid retention throughout my body. It's not quite as serious as it sounds. I've had heart attacks that have taken a toll on the pumping ability of my heart. The breathing problem that I've had for the last year and a half has most probably been due to this. I'm on a new generation medication that is starting to help and get me to a place where I feel like a normal person. Also the autoimmune problems have become more defined and along with systemic Sjogren's Syndrome I've been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, so I'm also on an immunosuppressant which is helping. These are the reasons I'm "high risk" for Covid. I think I need to be transparent about life in general. So December was a month that marked some major answers to prayer for me!

I don't want anyone to think that I think I have it all sewn up on prayer time, I just know it's a wonderful and productive way to start a new year on a good foot. Especially after what we've all been through this last one. So many of us have lost loved ones and friends this year, and it's easy to feel alone and adrift with days that are monotonous and without purpose. If you take only 5 minutes to get started I promise it can change your life.  

Sorry this has been such a long post...




joining in here:

Love Your Creativity at Life and Linda
All About Home at Common Ground and Follow the Yellow Brick Home
Inspire Me Monday at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Met Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
 Celebrate Your Story at The Zucchini Sisters,  
Tips and Tutorials at Home Stories A to Z,  Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life
Make it Pretty Monday at The Dedicated House
Party in Your PJ's at Apple Street Cottage
  Keep in Touch at Let's Add Sprinkles  Wonderful Wednesday at LeCultivateur 
Turnabout Tuesday at My Wee Abode,  Share Your Style at French Ethereal
Centerpiece Wednesday at Karin's Kottage
Charming Homes and Gardens at Shiplap and Shells
Vintage Charm at Our Hopeful Home,  
Thursday Favorite Things at Follow the Yellow Brick Home,  
Embracing Home and Family at the Everyday Farmhouse
Create, Bake, and Grow at Shabby Art Boutique, Farmhouse Friday at The Painted Hinge



24 comments:

  1. Debra prayers sweet friend for the new medication to help you. My husband Terry has Sjogren's Syndrome and I know how hard that can be on your body. I believe in the power of prayer and have seen it work. Let's hope for a better new year and we win this war on Covid. xoxo Kris

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    1. Amen, thankyou Kris. I often think about Terry and how hard he must work and all the fun you guys have. Prayer and belief in God's promises are the best medicine there is!!

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  2. This is a really good post, Debra. Thank you for the links to your other Prayer studies. I appreciate prompts for prayer, trying to better myself in how I pray. I have my mother's prayer "God" books, and she subscribed me to a monthly devotional in the early 1980s, which I have kept myself since her death in 2007 (and have gift subscribed both my girls to). I also have followed Sketchy Reader's Jesus Calling blog (the book was gifted to me from a sister in 2011). I am always open to learning and expanding my relationship with God. Mornings are my best time for reading and absorbing, and I often drift to sleep with prayer at night, only to wake up in the night and try to continue. Another sister told me the angels will finish our prayers. :) I keep you in my prayers.

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    1. Thankyou Rita, I love reading devotionals as a way to open up a new concept on Christian life and our relationship. Pretty amazing how 2 people can read the same scripture and be prompted by the Holy Spirit with 2 separate ideas. Have a wonderful week!

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  3. Thank you for your beautiful post and links. This year I've rediscovered my Bible. There was no rushing here and there, no chance to travel to visit our kids, who are spread out around the globe, and a lot of quiet mornings for me as I wake an hour or two earlier than the rest of the house. As I read, I have so many questions. I've looked online for some answers and I copy websites but the idea of journaling will keep my questions and discussions in one place. I just love it! Prayers for a healthy and peaceful 2021.

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    1. Hi Linda, thanks so much for leaving a comment here. Yes, there are always questions, but the great thing is that God wants to answer our questions and when we record those we can rejoice when an answer comes. Blessings for the new year!!

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  4. Thank you Debra! I do my prayer time in the early morning (5 am) because I am a morning person and no one else is up except the cats. You have given me some ideas as I have wanted to start journaling. I will keep you in my prayers that your new medications will help. Blessings for a better 2021.

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    1. thankyou so much Lynda, so glad to encourage you with journaling. Hope you're having a good "first week" of 2021!

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  5. I absolutely adore you. I would love to be in Bible study with you. This last year has been quite difficult especially the last month. Prayer and scripture memory have been essential as the Lord walks with Bill and I through such a hard time. I will be praying for you. I love this.So timely.

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    1. thankyou Katie, my dear sweet friend. I really appreciate your prayers, I'm doing the same for you! xoxo

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  6. I love Marjolein Bastin's work! I didn't know she made calendars. So fun!

    I got started on journaling by doing a gratitude journal, and now write a daily journal in the evening--where I try to remember to include my gratitude! I'm doing a Read through the Bible in a Year Journal also, which I intend to do in the mornings (not always successful on the timing!) I'm also part of a Prayer and Praise though the Psalms group, where we write a Psalm or part thereof daily. So, 2020 was a good year for starting some new habits for me--but I'm SO ready for 2021!

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    1. I love the idea of writing our own prayer and praise psalms. There have been times in my life when I was so down, that reading the Psalms out loud helped me so much!

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  7. I really enjoyed this post and will start following you. I love when I find lovely Christian bloggers who aren’t afraid to share their faith. I loved looking back at what you worked on through 2020.

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  8. Your words are so encouraging to me! I have struggled to make the time for Bible study and prayer just as you described. I appreciate your ideas and the prayer studies you shared. I want to begin this new year focusing more on my relationship with God and spending more time in prayer and scriptures...thank you for taking the time to remind us all what is most important. So glad to hear that your medication is helping you feel better! Happy New Year! Here's to a prosperous and healthy 2021! ~Kristi

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  9. That is an absolutely beautiful desk calendar. I use a calendar to write down things I am grateful for every day. I find it keeps me in touch with Jesus as I am constantly thanking him.

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  10. Thanks for this inspiring post and ideas for a prayer journal . Love anything Marjolein , my hobby room is decorated with her items and artwork . After reading your post both my daughter and myself ordered the beautiful Marjolein calendar/journal. May God bless you in 2021.

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  11. Debra, thank you for being open about your health problems, and how you take them to the Lord through your prayers.
    I don't have a pretty prayer diary, but I do write things down. Through the years, I can see how God has worked through my prayer life.
    This is such an inspiring post and I would be honored if you would share it at my new Link Party.
    If you are interested, It's called Friday with Friends.

    Oh, and I'm checking out the study you suggested.
    It will be really helpful in 2021 :)
    RR

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  12. Debra,
    Thank you for being willing to "get real" and share your health struggles and your prayer journey. I have had a particularly hard week, and your post was a needed reminder about the power of prayer--a great example of God at work through your post.
    I'm featuring this post on this weekend's Sundays on Silverado. �� Oh, and I bought a copy of the lovely nature calendar, too. ��
    Niky @ The House on Silverado

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  13. Debra, Glad I found this post as well. Very excited to look at your Bible Studies. Thank you for your honesty and bless you for sharing your faith publically.

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  14. I have always loved Marjolein Bastin's artwork! Your post photo of the squirrel caught my eye right away because of all the wonderful detail. this journal looks delightful--thank you for recommending it!

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  15. Congratulations! You will be one of the features at the Next Friday with Friends link party.
    I'm also am including the link from your health scare because it might pull someone closer to God:)
    Hugs,
    RR

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  16. This is a beautfiul post, Debra. Such lovely photos and links. Keeping a prayer journal has been something I've really wanted to do more of. I hope you get to feeling better. I, too, have Sjogrens, with some other autoimmune issues, and it can be such a weird and painful road. I hope your new medications continue to help you. I've featured this post at TFT. Thanks for sharing it. :)

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  17. Debra, wow... I'm finally back over and I didn't realize all the medical things you have been going through. I'm glad that the new medicines are working! I know I talk with a few other bloggers and several have medical concerns; it makes my having that strain of Covid this fall nothing. :) My sister-in-law Linnea lives with MS and it has good periods of remission (her mother's MS went into a total remission). Another sister-in-law had that flesh eating bacteria a year ago and was hospitalized for two months. With all the bugs and bacterias and fungi out there, it is a wonder we even make it this far...

    God is the only way and you are so very right: every time I open a journal, a devotional and my Bible, even to any section, God speaks to me in whatever I am going through and often just to say hello! :) If you don't mind, I'd like to feature your post as part of a Sunday Sentiments; to lift you in prayers, too. <3 I am happy I featured your post at Share Your Style #288 this week. <3

    Big hugs on this Sunday,
    Barb :)

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  18. And Marjolein's artwork is incredible! My mother really liked her calendars and would send me one over several years at Christmas time for the upcoming year. I gave her a small blue box with a couple of birds on it, created by Ms. Bastin.

    More hugs,
    Barb :)

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