Thursday, October 1, 2009

Our Prayer Jar and some other thoughts about prayer...

Sometime during last winter, our little Prayer Bowl fell in the soup. Or maybe some soup fell in the bowl and onto the little papers inside it. I can't remember.

These little papers had the names of family and friends for which we pray, fruits of the Spirit, etc. We were in the habit of pulling out a name or two to pray for before we ate dinner each evening. But after the little papers got all soupy, well, there just wasn't any help for them.

We took a break.

Last Sunday, we made a new Prayer Jar. Each participating child had a job. And we discussed for whom and for what we'd like to pray while we worked.

Here's Daddy preparing our new set of little papers. In Fall colors. Michael waits patiently.

Mercy glues little Fall leaves onto our new Prayer Jar. This is one of her favorite sweaters. Seeing it reminds me that I need to replace the button that fell off in the wash. I think the wooden toggle buttons are her favorite part of her favorite sweater.

Michael cuts. Michael is left handed and I think it must be hard to cut left handed when you are 5 and you are Michael. He stuck with it, though.

Daniel writes our prayer ideas onto each little paper. He begs to write things these days and is disappointed when his grammar lesson doesn't include a writing assignment.

And here we have our new Prayer Jar. Please know that this idea is not original to me. I borrowed it from my friend Stacy a year or so ago. It has really helped in making prayer for others as a family a part of our day.

The kids and I have also been praying together each day during Circle Time in the mornings. Circle Time begins our school day and a few minutes of prayer begins each Circle Time. I've been asking the kids to share prayer requests.

This is how it goes almost every morning:

Me: Does anyone need prayer this morning?
(Michael's and Mercy's hands shoot up. Daniel joins in reluctantly.)
Me: Yes, Michael?
Michael: Doggy still has the measles... and today he has to get all of his teeth pulled out.
Me: Okay. How about you Mercy?
Mercy: Tigger has the measles, too.
Me: We can pray about that. Daniel?
Daniel: I'd like prayer so that I can have better concentration.
Me (somewhat hopeful that we won't be praying only for imaginary stuffed animals today): What kind of things do you want to concentrate on?
Daniel: Ummm. Video games.
Me(After sharing my prayer needs with them-patience and a cheerful voice): Right. Okay. Let's pray!

The other day when we had the pleasure of sharing Circle Time with Daddy, I was about to stop the praying for the stuffed animals business out of irritation with the fact that it wasn't "real". Before I said anything, Bob quietly nixed my attempt to quiet the kids' childish prayer requests. I'm glad he did. After all, they are children, right?

This little topic here is probably worth a whole 'nother post. How do you teach and model for your kids how to pray? I'm pretty sure that making lists of things they can't pray for is not a good beginning.

So we'll be using our Prayer Jar and I'll be keeping my mouth smile-y but mostly shut at Circle Time while the stuffed animals recover from the measles and we pray for more concentration for getting the TriForce when we play Zelda.


Our Four Kids said...

Wonderful ideas, Rebecca - as always! :) As for praying for the stuffed animals, I would definitely let them! Those are some of the things that they love most and it's teaching them to pray for others (even if you know they aren't real). I think they will outgrow it, but you will have taught them compassion and how to pray!

Jodi said...

Oh this made me laugh. :) My kids pray for "no rain and just snow" every. single. day, and have been doing so for months, and quite frankly it kind of irritates me. And it's not even "pretend"! I don't know why it bugs me, but this post will serve as good encouragement not to hinder the way my kids go to the Lord with my poor attitude!

We have a prayer jar too (idea also borrowed from Stacy) that I've also been meaning to post about. It's just such a great idea!

Carla said...

I love the prayer jar idea and I love that the kids are involved in making it. I am totally going to borrow your borrowed idea! :)

Stacy said...

Oh, Rebecca... This had me laughing out LOUD! Hilarious about the measles and concentration for video games! Ours are usually one child confessing the sins of another child and saying we should pray for "self-control" for that person. ~sigh~

What a FUN fall prayer jar! I love the leaves and fall colors!

amy said...

Love it Rebecca! My favorite part is that you allowed everyone to participate. How easy it would be to want to do it all yourself so that it turns out just how you want it but instead you are wise to know they will be more into it if they all have ownership (even daddy!). Good job.

It is such a pleasure to watch/listen to our kids prayers mature. The progession from praying the same thing every time to more mature, good doctrine filled prayers is delightful!

Keep being the good example that you are!