In writing to a homeschooling friend recently, I requested prayer for healing of Miss Beth's juvenile arthritis. Later that day, I read this from her:
"I am so sorry! We put her name and request in our prayer jar, so we'll be praying for her a lot."
A prayer jar? Immediately, I thought of the possibilities for our own family prayer time. We had been using prayer journals, but enthusiasm waned lately, trying my patience and dampening my discipleship spirit.
We must be steadfast in our discipling, not letting housekeeping, cooking or laundry, or outside activities get in the way. Discipling our children isn't a "should do". Rather, it's a "must do".
Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, "Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.
We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.
When something isn't working for you and your family, seek new methods. Change things, shake things up a bit, whenever enthusiasm wanes. My friend's e-mail was a gift to me, from my Father, who seeks to help me in whatever tasks He gives me.
I am never alone. Never without the gift of my Father working through me. I am simply His instrument.
Advantages of a Prayer Jar
- It's portable.
- Children like picking prayers out--the anticipation is exciting to them.
- It's a visual reminder of how often you're praying. When the jar is still full and it's Wednesday, you know you need to reevaluate your priorities.
- Children can write the prayers on slips of paper themselves. Invented, or developmental spelling, is just fine. Don't be fussy about mechanics when your child is writing out something for the prayer jar.
- It takes just a few minutes to write one out, so as new requests come in, you'll be able to keep up with them (especially with children helping).
- You can keep a separate jar for answered prayer, reminding you and your family that prayer works.
- If you start on a Sunday, begin putting the prayed for slips aside, so you can see how far you've come throughout the week. Put them all back in the following Sunday.
- You can break the prayer into chunks of time younger children can handle. For example, one prayer each in the morning, one each at lunch, one each at dinner or bedtime. Or, for older children, three prayers each at bedtime, making for a longer prayer time so that attention span grows over time.
- If you're really type A, you can color code them for your convenience. For example, blue strips of paper for shorter prayers, for shorter people. :)
Another example: different colors for praises, for thanksgiving, for confession, for relatives or friends, for healing, etc.
There you have it. The family prayer jar. Ready, set, go!
To read more of my prayer journey, check out Into a Life of Prayer: A Journey Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7
To read even more, check out The Prayer Warrior Life part 1; part 2; part 3; part 4; part 5, part 6, Part 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
A sweet friend, Amy, wrote guests posts for us, telling of her prayer journey: Vol. 1, and Vol. 2, and Vol. 3, Vol. 4, Vol. 5