Over the last few months, my morning prayer time has been feeling a little stagnant. Time and time again, I found myself feeling as though I was just going through the motions–not connecting with the Lord on a meaningful level. My routine for a few years now has been reading the daily readings and Blessed Is She devotional, praying a Litany of Humility, spending a few minutes praying in thanksgiving and for whatever intentions were on my heart, and then reading a few pages of a spiritual book. It has been incredibly fruitful, but the routine became so second-nature to me, I started breezing through it distractedly (and sleepily, since I wake up at 6 and do it first thing).
I’ve known about Val Marie Paper for a long time, and even ordered one of their prayer journals a few years ago, but when I received it, I was a little underwhelmed. How would writing out my prayer intentions really help me? I left it untouched for months and actually ended up giving it away. It was right in the middle of my discernment about changing my prayer routine that a woman from their team reached out to me, offering to send me a journal and sharing this insightful post from a Catholic woman on their team. I was intrigued by that post more than anything, which is why I agreed to give this journal a real second try.
If you’re not familiar with VMP journals, they cover six months, and each month includes spaces for different types of prayer intentions (prayers for our world, your community, your loved ones, etc.). There are also spaces to add a monthly quote, a monthly Bible verse, and a list of answered prayers. I spent some time in prayer at the beginning of the month to fill out my June intentions and to review the guide to getting started that comes with every journal. Since then, this has been my new morning routine: daily readings and Blessed Is She devotional, pray the Litany of Humility (which I printed for my journal so I don’t have to read it on my phone anymore), read one chapter of the Gospels (I use and love this Bible), pray in worship of Jesus inspired by what I learned about him through that chapter, and then open my prayer journal and lift up a few of the intentions I wrote down.
Here’s the biggest difference using the journal has made: my prayer time is so much less distracted. I feel more focused on learning and getting to know the Lord better during the beginning of my prayer time, knowing that the intentions I want to pray for are right there on paper for the end. I won’t forget them. I don’t have to pray for every single intention I wrote down each day, because throughout the month, they’ll absolutely get their time. The way I’m praying for specific intentions has felt more purposeful and focused. I’ve also already been able to add some of the intentions I’ve prayed over to the “answered prayers” page, and can’t wait to review those pages at the end of these six months.
This post isn’t sponsored and the VMP team doesn’t know I’m writing it or anything; I’ve just been so pleasantly surprised by the positive impact this simple journal has had on my prayer life, and I wanted to share it. They also have a men’s journal that Dave has been using this month, and when we talked about it, he echoed many of the same thoughts. You can find all of their products, plus other resources like free downloads, a whole online course on prayer, and more here!
Affiliate links are included in this post. I only join affiliate programs for companies I truly love and believe in, and this is absolutely one of them :)