Sunday, January 2, 2022

New Year Lookback: Starting a Prayer Journal

I'm re-sharing a post from last year, January 3rd, 2021, and realized upon reading it that it's just as relevant this January as last. Hope you're having a wonderful New Year's weekend. It's snowing here and winter has definitely arrived!


"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 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.  



I hope you'll join us on Monday evening for the Link Party




joining in here:


The House on Silverado 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 
    Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life
   Wonderful Wednesday at LeCultivateur Turnabout Tuesday at My Wee Abode
 Share Your Style at French Ethereal Centerpiece Wednesday at Karin's Kottage
Vintage Charm at Our Hopeful Home,  
Thursday Favorite Things at Follow the Yellow Brick Home,  
Create, Bake, and Grow at Shabby Art Boutique, Farmhouse Friday at The Painted Hinge



7 comments:

  1. I do a daily devotion to help me. I love that you found a way to start each day on a good note. Happy New Year sweet friend. Hoping and praying for a better 2022. xoxo Kris

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  2. What a wonderful idea, Debra. I can see how that could be so very enriching. And I adore the paintings in that planner. It's lovely.

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  3. Good words! I love encouraging posts like this. I always pour over any and all suggestions for bettering prayer. I have several sources I use, but do still find I get caught up in the rabbit holes of thought, esp at nighttime. Thanks for reposting this Debra.

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  4. Love this Debra! I too am a journaler. I have stacks of them. Most of them are prayers written out with some scripture mixed in. I am currently using the YouVersion Bible app for my devotional and writing out the Scripture that is referenced. There is something healing in writing out our prayers. Thanks for sharing your thoughts 😊

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  5. Debra, I have always been a huge fan of M.B's charming artwork, and yes, 2021 felt a little like Groundhog's Day, too much like 2020, making me slightly apprehensive but prayerfully hopeful for the coming year! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm!

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  6. Debra, I'm also a fan of Marjolein Bastin's work. I don't journal but I do like to keep track of my prayer requests so I can look back and see how God is faithful in all things. I am featuring this at the next FWF link party :)
    RR

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