Here’s what the Lord has placed on my heart for 2016, to gain more traction through prayer. To involve my family in deeper, more intentional & meaningful prayer.
Last May, at an event, I was blessed by a team of ladies who willingly shared their own ideas (and some which they too snagged) with regard to praying with their families and raising godly warriors for Christ. I snagged a couple of these ideas along with a couple more that I will be doing in our home with my own family this year.
4 Simple Things:
1st A prayer board. I set up a cute little bulletin board in my kitchen near the table (maybe you have a chalkboard or whiteboard, or even an old picture frame that you could just write with white board marker straight on the glass). Throughout the week as our family hears of prayer requests/needs, I jot them down on small pieces of paper (without the details, maybe just the name and keyword) and I post it to the board. So far, we are praying once a week as a family during dinner over these requests. We will take down the need/request as they are met. Should our board get super full, then we will cover the prayer requests on multiple days a weeks i.e. half on Wednesday night and half on Sunday night.
We were already blessed to see our small children (ages 4.5 & 3yrs old) “fight” over who got to pray for the next need.
2nd Praying over the families who sent us Christmas cards. We took down all the lovely Christmas cards we received and placed them in a cute basket (Yep, make it all cute if you can. Then you will be more likely to keep it all out in the open for easy access and it won’t be an eyesore to you). Next we draw the top/front card and pray over that family. Put that card in the back of the pile and go in order of whoever is next in the stack (the Lord knows who could use our extra prayers that day/week). You can do this nightly or weekly, whatever suits you best and you will just keep rotating these families throughout the year. Maybe you will know specific prayer needs and maybe you won’t, that’s ok!
We do this at dinner time also. The kids are already anxious to pray over certain cards. They look forward to families they know well and have already tried moving them ahead. We tell them to wait till it’s that family’s turn but I love how this creates excitement and anticipation to willingly pray for others. … See, so simple!!
3rd The Blessing Jar. We have an actual jar that I prettied up with a bow and a paper tag that says Blessings (see, also easy, nothing purchased). We keep it near the prayer board on the counter in the kitchen, all near the dinner table. We have small pieces of paper and pen nearby (a sticky pad would due). As we see the Lord move in our family this year, we will jot down those blessings and put them in the jar. Maybe we got to enjoy a fun family trip or an outing, or we had answer to prayer, or an ill family member was recovering or healed, maybe even saved. Whatever it might be, there are so many blessings the Lord pours down upon us in so many forms, so note them and put them in a jar. Then at the END of the year or New Year’s Day 2017 sit as a family and reflect on the blessings of 2016 and be reminded of the loving God we serve and of His goodness. And close out in prayer, praising our God and thanking Him for the undeserving love He showers on us.
4th The Prayer Jar (see, I told you the Lord was having it be ALL about prayer!)
This is new; I made it up and I’m in the final stage of completing it so bear with me as I explain. So have you ever had one of those moments where you are about to lose it, or you already did lose it? Or maybe you’re super stressed or sad or crazy tired or super emotional or you fill in the blank -it’s not just me right? don’t leave me hangin’! Sometimes during those not so peachy moments you don’t feel like talking to anyone or asking for prayer or thinking of the words to just pray on your own...that’s where the jar comes in. Write out some words on small pieces of paper, words like Comfort, Kindness, Patience, Self-control, Trust, Peace, Gentleness, Humility, Discipline, Forgiveness, etc. Then on the back of each of these words, write a scripture or two that speaks to those words. For example, maybe you’re stressing out and Trust happens to be the word you draw out. On the back of that word maybe you have a verse on trusting the Lord, like Proverbs 3:5-6. You can then pray this over yourself.
So when you’re having a moment, you go to the jar, trust the Lord knows what word of encouragement or conviction you need at that moment and allow Him to speak to you through scripture.
Also, you can use this to just start your day off. More of preventative measures :) Pull a word out as you begin the day and let the Lord use that to lead you and remind you of His truth as you go about the day in general. I’m sure He’ll give meaning and purpose as to what was drawn.
I plan to do this at breakfast with my kids. A good way to get them praying as they start their day.
My hope in involving our young family in such a big task, that of praying for others and as a family, is that praying with and for others would become second nature. That they would see it as meaningful and real and a privilege to be asked or to offer to pray for another. It wouldn’t just be something they say they will do, but they will actually take the time to do it.
Notice I am having our central hub near the Kitchen table. This IS on purpose, there is so much value in sharing meals as a family. If you have too many things going on every night of the week, I respectfully urge you to consider cutting something out. It’s too valuable and too precious to cut out designated set meals around your own table as a family. And while I’m here, no electronics, no tv, and no leaving the table early. Sit, talk, laugh, enjoy and pray together. These will be the sweetest of memories, so make them count!
I hope you will join me in trying some of these ideas (if not all of them). Remember, it doesn’t have to be elaborate. Keep it simple, use the jars, boxes, baskets, containers you already have. Give it a small but prominent home and watch what the Lord does with your faithfulness in 2016! God bless you!