One of my goals for the year was to spend more dedicated time in prayer. So every morning, I’ve been doing my Bible reading and then taking about half an hour to focus on communing with God. Not just the on-the-fly prayers I send up through the day, but time when I’m really focusing, really listening.
Every other time in my life when I’ve tried this sort of thing, I’ve ended up so distracted, my thoughts flying a million different directions, that it hasn’t lasted long. A couple days, maybe a couple weeks, and then I forget one day, and the next day, and so on.
This time, though, has been different. This time I’ve been feeling anchored. This time, I’m keenly aware of the blessing of time spent with the Lord.
It was during one of these prayer times a few weeks ago when I found myself contemplating the process of prayer itself, and this idea came to me–the sort that brought with it instant excitement.
Not just blank or lined notebooks, mind you…and not the sort of journals I saw on Amazon with a couple designed pages for listing prayer requests and Scripture that repeated over and over. No, I wanted to create journals to guide us in contemplative prayer. The sort of prayer where you’re focusing first on Scripture and then diving deep into the questions about it that lead us to deeper understanding, with a new one each day. The sort of prayer that is all about drawing closer to God through new depths of understanding, and working daily to align our will more fully with His.
I was so excited that I took a few minutes to design covers for these journals, to choose sizes, and then to work up a gorgeous interior design. I took two days to work on the guided contemplation and get a file together, and then I sent it to my Patrons & Peers ladies for their feedback.
Their excitement convinced me this really was a good idea. I uploaded the first file to Amazon, ordered a proof, and then went about editing and fine-tuning.
This is the result.
What you see here is a series of journals called The Life of Christ. Let me walk you through it.
First, the concept is that each day we focus on a different part of Christ’s life, from His conception all the way up through His reign in Heaven, glimpsed in Revelation. There is so much to learn by studying and dwelling on some of the momentous events of His life! There are certainly many more that I could have included, and I may do a second series on His life in the future, but for now, these. =)
Each day begins with an announcement of that day’s theme. (Isn’t it pretty? Siiiiigggghhhh.)
When you turn the page, you’ll see a traditional prayer and then a Scripture selection about that theme.
Why a traditional prayer? Well, a few years ago my family decided to start doing a family prayer time, and we bought a common prayer book that aimed at ecumenism between the different branches of the Christian faith–Catholic and Protestant, High church and low, liturgical and free-form. Some of these old, traditional prayers were in there, and I was dumbfounded by their beauty. I’d never attended a High, liturgical church, but I found myself not only loving the structure, but loving the thought and care and profound insights of these prayers that had been written by believers so many centuries ago, and which were still in use because they were so…true. So beautiful. So real.
One of the things I love most about this though isn’t the prayers themselves–it’s the fact that by praying them, we are linked with other Christians, around the world and throughout history, who are praying and have prayed and will pray those same prayers. I believe in a God of eternity, one who is outside of time. I love the fact that we can partake of that eternity here in our linear time, in these small, crucial ways.
So I included a traditional prayer with each day.
The Scripture passage is often abbreviated, but if I’d “edited for space” I indicate that by saying it is from that passage. I also list see also references to where the same story is told in other books.
When you flip the page again, you’ll see the “Things to Consider” page.
Here I begin with a short reflection of my own on the passage. Then I give you four writing prompts. Choose 1 or 2 to write about that day, whichever spark your thoughts or resonate most deeply in your heart. The idea isn’t to cover it all. The idea is to dive deep into whatever the Lord is whispering to your spirit that day.
As you can see, the right-hand page begins your writing pages. Date it, and then start journaling!
I did a bit of trial and error to decide on how many pages of writing space to include, how wide to make the lines, what style of lines to use…all that fun stuff. I’m quite pleased with the style and feel that I came up with–I printed them out and tried them before deciding!–and I hope you’ll find them condusive to your writing too!
In terms of number, I settled on 3 of these lined pages–the one beside the “Things to Consider” page, and a full spread of them too.
One more flip, and you’ll find another lined page, but for prayer requests and your notes on other Scripture passages that either came to mind or which you’ve recently read and want to make note of.
That is the end of that day, assuming you do one theme a day. The next one then begins with a new announcement.
The journal has 21 entries and 176 pages, which will fill about a month of weekday journaling. But you’ll notice that there are four designs. Why?
Because one of the most beautiful things about contemplative prayer is what happens when you repeat the cycle.
What jumped out at you this time will now be the foundation you’re standing on when you go through the material again. New questions or thoughts or ideas will demand your attention when you read through the same passages next time.
With this in mind, these journals are created to be repeated. You’ll find several different designs in the same series; the interior material is largely the same, only with new prompts for writing and a design to match the cover. The cover and design do change as well, to differentiate them on your shelf or in your drawer. They’re each designed with space to write your own numbering system and date span on the spine and back cover for easy reference. Repeat the series as many times as you desire!
Sections in The Life of Christ series include things like:
- Jesus Is Coming
- Magnify the Lord
- Jesus Is Here
- In His Father’s House
- True Communion
- King of the Curse
- He Is Risen!
- Christ Reigns
And of course, many more. =) The journals are available in paperback, eBook, and hardcover as well. All versions are available on Amazon and will soon be on other retailers. And of course, you can order the print versions all here on my website! (I’m happy to sign these if you want me to, but as they’re not really about the words I wrote in them, but rather the words you will write in them, the default for these will be NO SIGNATURE, like a regular product. To request a signature, simply put it in the order notes, and I’ll write you a little note and sign it on the first page, where otherwise you write your name and date.)
If these prove to be a hit, I have quite a few other ideas for more contemplative prayer journal themes for this JOURNEY THROUGH PRAYER series, all with unique designs and focuses, including:
- The Psalms
- Be Not Afraid
- The Lord’s Prayer
And I’m also very interested in what themes YOU would like to explore, so I do have contact information in there, so you can tell me your ideas!
Please note that as of the posting of this,
I’m still waiting for my stock copies to arrive.
Thanks for your patience!