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Speaking Out: Bullet journals aid prayer life

By  Paula Ducepec, Youth Speak News
  • January 5, 2022

The bullet journal is all the rage nowadays, from simple agendas to elaborate scrapbook designs.

The bullet journal, or BuJo, was created by Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer, as a method to help individuals live a more productive and meaningful life. It’s a tool to plan, reflect and meditate.

So why not use this space to make your prayer life even better? As part of our 2022 new year’s resolution, we can improve our prayer lives.

To start a bullet journal, you need the simplest things: a blank notebook (preferably a dotted notebook that serves as a guide for drawing lines and drawing placements). Using the blank pages of the notebook, we can allocate some space as a deliberate forum for prayer. 

You’ll also need some art materials (you would be designing and making the journal from scratch: pens, markers and a few stickers would do) and a plan.

The last point is most important because you need to conceptualize how you will fill the margins thoughtfully. Because you have infinite freedom on creating what you want to make, you must know what you want to put in there and what you want the journal to do for you. The main goal is to see how far you have improved in this habit you are trying to start.

A page of the journal includes your daily to-do list or the agenda, and then your space for reflection. If there was a habit we could start doing, it is prayer.

I suggest that for 2022, make prayer and praying the centre of your design or layout so that the notebook will be designed to aid in your prayer goals.

You can start by determining what part of praying you would like to cultivate. For me, it’s articulating my prayers properly. Then you could determine how you would like to work on that objective. For me, writing things out is a lot easier, I am a lot more articulate that way, so I plan to leave a larger writing area.

Photos, drawings and stickers could do the trick for the more artistically inclined. You could take a simple photo of what reminds you to pray and then use that as a focal point and start your reflection from there. These visuals could help you concentrate on your prayer, especially if the focus is what you would like to work on in your prayer life. There are also religious stationery materials available for purchase that could be used for design.

The point of prayer is to communicate with God. If writing is the best way to communicate, this could be a good start. If pictures are a means of communication, then so be it. If stickers and decorating a page lead someone to prayer and help with concentration, do it by all means.

It’s easy to learn how to create your bullet journal, and there are resources on YouTube and social media that could lead you to Catholic creatives that will help you with your creative and spiritual needs. They can help you design what you need and pray for you. Even prayer takes practice. Use this as a chance to create a new habit.

Developing habits does not happen overnight. According to psychology, it takes 21 days to remove a habit and start a new one. This bullet journal can help you keep track of whatever habits you want to keep up.

Last year, I started my bullet journal and successfully filled the spaces beautifully from January to June. It was designed with different themes and colours for each month, then began the decline. From July, it became sloppy, and then by October, a format was almost non-existent but still visible. By December, dates were no longer existent and it just became a scrap notebook.

It takes a while to develop a habit, and as you are creating that habit, it is still easy to fall out of it. Try and try again. If praying is the habit you want to develop, this could be a handy tracking tool. It helps a lot. Why not give it a try?

(Ducepec, 22, is a recent Bachelor of Science graduate from the University of Toronto.)

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