This year's Pray Any Way, held on a Sunday afternoon in January at the Houstoun House Hotel, was a great way for families to come together to pray... just once in the year! Here are some ideas that might help on the other 365 days (it is a leap year!).
Start early Encourage daily bedtime Bible reading and prayer from an early age. Try out The Big Bible Challenge, moving on to Snapshots or Topz notes. Growing up With older children try a family quiet time just as the kids head to bed or at the time that suits best. Read the Bible notes for that day, or simply read a Bible passage and pray together. Family time If a daily quiet time just doesn't work in your family, how about having a special family meal once a week, to include Bible, prayer and chat?
- Take it in turns to read a Bible passage, followed by general chat about the week that has just passed and the week that is ahead.
- Pray for each other and the coming week, encouraging everyone (including the youngest) to take part.
Family prayer ideas
- Have a prayer board in the kitchen! Children will love to be involved in making this and decorating it to a particular theme, which could change every so often. Themes could include rainbows (writing out God's promises and sticking on the board), butterflies (thank you prayers for creation) or everyday life (making a collage from magazine pictures).
- Say grace at mealtimes, encouraging children to make up their own or even sing! Or simply take it in turns to say "Thank you Jesus for our food" - it can become a habit which sticks for life.
- Turn joys and sorrows into prayer. Just saying, "Let's thank God for that" when we have something to celebrate brings prayer naturally into the everyday. One family chose to pray before opening Christmas presents, giving thanks for the birth of Jesus. And the same with sorrows; if your child is upset about a situation at school, or over a friend, turn that into a prayer opportunity.
- Make a collage with photos of grans, grandpas, cousins and friends near and far. Make a date to pray for some of these people - giving thanks for them and praying for particular concerns.
For getting into the Bible
The Big Bible Challenge and dated Bible reading notes for different age groups are available to order online from www.scriptureunion.org.uk.
Try Praying Kids is a booklet designed to lead children to God, through prayer. Designed for introducing nonchurch children to the concept of prayer, it is an ideal booklet to give away to your children's friends. Why not start talking about who your child could give it to, and pray together for that person before and after giving them the booklet?
The Pray for Five leaflet encourages prayer for 5 people for 5 minutes for 5 days for 5 weeks, and anticipates God answering these prayers. Simple and easy to use, everyone in the family can join in and pray for their 5 people at the same time, making a noisy prayer time!
The leaflet Pray Any Way - After the Event encourages parents to see the value of our children's prayers and gives tips on keeping that going.
All the above are free and available on request from Elizabeth McDowall. Call 0141 352 7632 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This feature article was taken from the Spring 2012 edition of our @SU Magazine.