Liminal Luminous

a wandering, wondering space of devotion, creativity and freedom.

Personal prayer book

For a long time I have wanted a place to collect favourite prayers, scripture, quotes about faith (from many religions), creativity and about life generally. I love poetry too, I want to write more, but I never seem to have the nerve, but reading it is a joy.

But what notebook? I wanted to keep these as separate categories, not as one big lump of material. And obviously it needed to be highly decorated, not actually illuminated as per the prayer books of old, but in beautiful handwriting, possibly with relevant images, maybe even my photography or drawing (my drawing was suddenly going to go to mastery level).

Can you guess what happened to my perfect prayer book?

It never happened – it was too perfect and would have taken up far too much time to create, it would have been a stunning work of art though. As a result of it being stunning I would never have used it daily, because daily life is too messy for such things of beauty and weight.

Totally by coincidence, I signed up for a series of emails which sent me poetry and sayings about faith every day – Writing our Way Home, I highly recommend their courses, all short in time, but full of beauty. They arrived in my inbox and I do my best not to access emails before midday (when I have a client day then obviously that doesn’t hold true). I didn’t want to lose them and equally I don’t want my prayer time to be based around my computer.

So I grabbed an unused Filofax from my shelf and every few days sat down to write up the poems and quotes I had enjoyed.

Is it in careful handwriting? With beautiful accompanying photos reflecting the text?

I started writing in different colours for each quote, but I realised that as this was on coloured paper it was quite hard to read without my glasses on by candlelight. So I switched to black pen. Have I rewritten all those quotes? No, I may do at some point, but not yet.

It is however now a vital part of my prayer practice. When I go away I just take that rather than any spiritual books (although I think I might now photocopy the parts of Book of Awakening for the periods I am away) and I have everything to hand.

Keeping an eye out for things to add to my prayer books is a part of my day, I will screen grab things, take a photo on my phone or clip it to Evernote. Every few weeks I go through that collection and if I still like them write them up in my prayer filofax. It is a little moment of pleasure when I find something to add to my book.

I feel like I am taking responsibility for my own prayer practice, rather than relying on other people. As an added bonus of it being a Filofax I can take the pages out and reorder them as I want, add to which ever section I need and scan the pages as a precaution against losing it too.

If there is a project like this you have been wanting to do, but the sheer magnitude of your idea is stopping you from creating it, rethink. Is there a way you can scale it down or back? In terms of size, cost, effort, beauty, creative cost etc – can you make it smaller so you can do it now in all its imperfection?

I am so glad for that day I thought of using an old Filofax, it makes me smile just to see it each day, and each time I use it.

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