It’s no secret that my favorite time of day is in the early morning when I get to slowly sip my coffee and soak in the Word of God. I l.o.v.e. that quiet time. DH and the kids are still asleep and the sun is just beginning to stretch out its rays. It’s never an excessive amount of time, usually just 15-20 minutes, a full half hour if I’m lucky and hour if it’s a day for miracles. But even if I only get 5 minutes, it’s enough to clear my head and renew my strength. It helps me put life back into perspective and gear up for a new day.
I’ve really been trying to get in the habit of making the sign of the cross and reciting the first line of the Doxology before my feet hit the ground. Various holy fathers talk about the importance of doing this and I feel like I don’t remember to do it nearly enough. What better way to start the day than by giving thanks to God for the gift of another day!
Then, I slip on a comfy robe or sweater and try to quietly sneak off into the kitchen without waking anyone. As my coffee brews I take out my bible, prayer binder and colored pens. When I set up my new coffee station, I made sure to create a space to keep these items in one place next to the coffee pot for both reminder and convenience. It’s not finished yet but I just love this special space in my home!
I’ve had a lot of people emailing me via social media sites asking questions about my prayer binder so instead of responding one by one I figured I would just do a post on it that way everyone could actually see it. There’s no right or wrong way to putting one together, as long as it accommodates your particular needs. Lots of people use regular journals and you can find some really beautiful ones at shops like Home Goods and TJ Maxx, but I prefer an actual binder because I can move pages and folders around whenever I need to.
My binder is very simple.
All you need is:
- 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 binder (I got mine here)
- pack of dividers
- Sharpie pen (not a marker)
All these supplies can be found at Target or Walmart.
You can create sections for whatever you need. I have sections for:
Notes (where I keep all my notes from bible studies, homilies I listen to online or books I read),
Prayers (prayers for my husband, my boys, godchildren and other family members, and specific prayer requests),
Verses (all of my favorite Scripture verses and quotes),
Here are a few of my favorites to get you started:
- 1 John 3:18
- Proverbs 22:6
- Romans 1:16
- Philippians 2:12
- Isaiah 41:10
- Proverbs 31:10-31
- Psalm 37:4
- Matthew 5:11
- Matthew 7:6
- Acts 20:27
- James 4:3
Blessings (all the things I am grateful for; this is where I thank God for all the things in my life-both good and bad),
and Goals (personal spiritual goals, Bible Study plans, etc.).
In the front pocket, I keep a couple of my favorite icons, the Akathists to the Mother of God Nurturer of Children and The Akathist to Sts. Joachim and Anna for a Blessed Marriage, some post-it’s and some blank note cards for the #moreloveletters project I do.
Once I pour my coffee and sit down, I open my prayer binder to the “prayers” section and quietly pray for all the names on my list. Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on (names). Bless the children with strength and health of both soul and body, preserve their purity and innocence. Grant them wisdom, boldness, patience, love and humility. I’ll pray for God to answer the prayers of those who have specific needs on my list.
When I finish praying, I open my Bible to either a random chapter or like this month, I look up the verse listed on whatever Bible Reading Plan I might be using that month. Sometimes I journal a little bit, other times I just try to read and really understand what God is trying to tell us. If it’s something I don’t really understand I’ll look it up in the Bible set that has commentaries from various saints on each chapter. Beginning October 1 I’ll be reading through the book of Proverbs one chapter at a time. Feel free to join along!
On days that I don’t have as much time, like the other day when Sprout woke up and threw a major fit because he couldn’t have a hot dog for breakfast, I just read the chapter quickly (my goal is one chapter a day) but I pick out a line that really stands out to me and I try to repeat it throughout the day. If it’s one I’m not really familiar with I scribble it out on a post-it and stick it on the fridge or in the little index card book I keep in my purse that is basically the same thing as this binder but an abbreviated version.
This mini version really comes in handy because sometimes when I am out and about I will meet someone that I really want to pray for and by the time I get home to write his or her name down on my list, I’ve totally forgotten it or when I end up having some unexpected spare time and don’t want to waste it scrolling through my phone. The little book fits in my bag and I can just write things down immediately. I like to keep some of my favorite prayers written on the index cards, too.
A lot of times when we’re going about our daily routines I’ll just see something that I think is special-like an old man and woman holding hands in the park or a family bowing their heads in prayer in a restaurant-and I’ll write down something like, “remember that sweet old couple strolling along in the park” or “the family at Jason’s Deli prayed so piously before their meal. we need more of this!” There are no rules, whatever touches your heart can go in your binder!
That’s it! It’s super simple and so, so useful! Let me know if you decide to make one and what type of things you include in it!