Friday, 20 March 2015

Making a Prayer Box


This post first appeared on another of my blogs in 2012, I'm reposting as we remade our prayer box this week, it had got a bit tatty and some of the prayers out of date and so we gave it an overhaul...

 

So some time ago I made myself a prayer box, there were so many people, so many situations to pray for, I just couldn't do them all every day! So I got a nice box and put in things and people I wanted to pray for on slips of paper. Now each day, I take 3 a day out of the box and pray for them.

At bedtime each day I pray with my kids and they often go blank about what to pray for and they wanted to use my prayer box, which was nice but a bit difficult as some of the situations and people were just too difficult to explain! then they wanted to put things into my box, and then they wanted to make their own, which was probably the best idea! So  we sat down and they made their own prayer box...
 

I love that this was something they wanted to do and I think it will continue to be a great way for them to think and pray about situations and people around them. I want them to be compassionate but also to recognise both the importance of and the effectiveness of prayer. It’s funny how so often we think that kids aren’t able to handle difficult situations, and I am regularly surprised by how much they can! They might not be so tactful as adults, but sometimes that’s good – they often ask the questions that we want to but can’t or find difficult. This week we have prayed for friends with marriage problems and a recent bereavement, and they have done so with such love and compassion, I have been really moved. Of course we have also had prayers to get picked for the cricket squad too… (and that prayer was answered ;) 





Monday, 23 February 2015

Making our own labyrinth

So I (Red) have been thinking for a while about creating our own labyrinth. Prayer labyrinths have been used for centuries for quiet contemplation, walking slowly along the paths, in meditative prayer. Well, it's unlikely my kids will do anything slowly but I thought we could do our own version and give it a go. So with a roll of lining paper (£1 each, bargain!) and some sellotape, we made a path round the downstairs of the house! 
I got them doing this as I thought it would be fun but they did need a bit of assistance and it took a bit longer than we thought... But with our tempers intact (almost..) we managed it and then we created a few key spots to stop along the way.
 
As I said 'slow' doesn't really come into their vocabulary so by creating a few spots to stop, it encouraged them to stop and be quiet for a while. I let them choose freely what to write for these spots and they came up with some good ones like 'say sorry', pray for your best friends and what are you thankful for. Plus I put in some scriptural things to look up (which also slowed them down!!)

There's a short video at the bottom showing the whole thing, but I apologise for the quality as it was shot on my mobile in one take with kids interruptions, hiccups and an appearance of my hideous slippers!

It's funny how praying with them I have noticed how some things really appeal to each of them. Actually 'the seagull' as he has chosen to be known on here, my son, is always racing round at 100 miles an hour but he seemed to really embrace the slowed down pace of the labyrinth and the time to just sit and be. But Bluebell really just wanted to get to the end and draw, which was the spot she had designed! That's ok though because I think I just want to teach them about prayer and faith, and then they have the tools when they need them. And I guess we all have ways in which we feel most comfortable approaching God or praying so I want to allow them to do that too.

I think we might try this again when its warmer, in the garden, perhaps using chalk on the patio, or even grass clippings to create paths... we'll see!




Sunday, 15 February 2015

Minecraft Prayer Space

This post originally appeared here last year but I'm trying to pool some of these prayer posts in the same place....

The 'God Building'
Inside on the Mezzanine Landing of the Chapel

I've been inspired by Miranda Threlfall-Holmes 'Teenage Prayer Experiment' due out as a book shortly which included her recent post, in which she encouraged her son to build a place of prayer on Minecraft (a digital game which enables kids to build worlds and creations using square blocks). Minecraft sounds basic but it actually has no end of possibilities! My youngest two are big fans of the game and so today (first day of the hols!) I set them to work creating their own Minecraft Prayer Spaces.

They actually loved the idea and took it on with great enthusiasm. I've got to admit I wondered whether they would just end up playing on the game, but no, they both took it seriously, we prayed first and they spent about 2 hours building their spaces. I basically just left them to get on with it and it's been interesting to see the ideas they have come up with. They had a Prayer space in their school recently and I think they were inspired by that as they both chose to have different areas with different themes in their spaces. It's also interesting how they have used the dynamics of the game to come up with different ideas. My daughter just came in and showed me how she had Jesus both walking on water and ascending to heaven!

Space to pray for animals and living things

My son has really gone to town and the pictures here are from his space. I don't think the pics really do it justice, it's really an amazing building and I think it would be great as a real building (although the cross on top might be a tad oversized! see pic above). It has two levels, glass walls, a chapel inside it, mezzanine level, underground room to pray for friends and family, and lots more. In fact it reminded me of the early temples, with an inner space and lots of different areas, including animals!

Once they had built their spaces I encouraged them to actually pray and imagine themselves praying in the space. My son said he liked the idea of having different areas to pray for different things and that he found this helpful when praying. He also liked the idea of having a prayer space within Minecraft, which is his favourite game. He really enjoyed building it and said that it made him think about why and how he prays.

This is a great idea and I am very glad Miranda highlighted it. It's so important to get our kids thinking about prayer, what it is, and what it can mean for them and their relationship with God. I really love new and interesting ways of thinking about prayer especially for kids and this one is a definite hit in our house! I'm hoping we can use this again in our family prayer time.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

What is Prayer?

We have been discovering what prayer is.

 

If you do pray, have you ever thought what its like, and have you ever thought what prayer actually is?

Well if you haven't thought about that, you're in luck! Because we have!

 

What do we think about prayer?

  • we use the things God created (our ears and mouth)
  • asking (politely) for things
  • talking to God
  • communicating with God
  • saying sorry 
  • saying thank you 

What does the bible say about prayer?

  • John 15:7 - Abide in me
  • Mark 11:24 - Praying in Faith
  • Luke 11:9 - Ask, Seek, Knock
  • 1 Timothy 2:1-5 - Intercession
  • Matthew 6:5-14 - The Lord's Prayer
 
(by Bluebell)
  
By Red:
 
For this activity I wanted to focus on bible study. We pray often with our kids but it's good to remind them and ourselves why we pray. So this was a session spent largely in our bibles, but to maintain their interest we used ipads too! So we started by looking at the question:
What do you think prayer is?
we wrote down on pieces of paper what we thought prayer was. Then we looked at:
What does the bible say about prayer?

Using ipads and bibles we searched for scriptures on prayer. (We happen to have ipads but you can do this on anything that can access google or (I recommend) biblegateway.com)

I allowed 5-10 miniutes for this and then we share some of the scriptures they highlighted (some of them Blue has posted above)


We then looked at:
What can we pray about?
and again wrote down our answers.

Finally the kids chose one scripture that had particularly spoken to them and made a sign to stick up in their rooms. We did this with paper and pens but if your kids are particularly adept on an ipad etc you can do this digitally!
It's great to have scripture around our house to remind us of God's promises to us. Plus for them particularly it is a reminder of something they have discovered for themselves, it means so much more to them then.


What I loved about this time was that it really helped my kids to see the bible as real, as something that they can use every day. Especially in this digital age when you can access the whole of the bible at the click of a button, what a great tool to have at our finger tips. Plus using google it was a bit like a treasure hunt and they loved that, with comments like 'oh I've got one', 'found another one', 'this ones good!' etc Also it engaged them on their level but enabled me to share some deeper things with them about prayer and faith.

So often when we spend time together  in prayer or looking at the bible, conversations just open up really naturally, it's giving them the time to think about stuff that often we don't, even as adults, which is really valuable. This time one of them drew a picture of 'God's Kingdom' and explained exactly what it was and the light of God, the glory shining out of it.  This was a real encourgament for her when I explained what the bible says about the Kingdom of God and how we can shine God's glory to those around us.







Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Prayer candles

video



We have been doing prayer candles!
If you would like to do some prayer candles you might need:
  • a lit fire,
  • a load of candles
  • paper and pens
So what are prayer candles?
well prayer candles are candles (as you might of guessed!)

how do you do this activity?
well its simple! All you have to do is sit quietly and ask god to give you a person to pray for. Then you write it on a piece of paper, scrunch it up, (for this part you will need a lit fire) and then throw it in the fire and watch it burn, so that you can reflect on what they need praying for. 
(for this part you will need a load of candles!)
Then light a candle to show the light of the world (god) cares.

Some things that you need to do prayer candles with
  • patience
  • peace
  • a quiet space

you might want to do prayer candles with some quiet worship.


by Bluebell

Intro to the blog

OOh exciting, a brand new blog! I (red) have written a few over the years but this one is me and 2 of my kids blogging together. All this info below is on the 'about us' page but we thought it would be good to start with an intro to why we're doing this, so here it is...


Who We Are
We are a family on a journey of prayer, well I guess the title tells you that anyway, but as a family we just want to grow more in our walk with God and learn more about prayer and we thought we'd write about it along the way.

Three of us will be blogging here, me - Mum - also known as Red and my daughter - Bluebell, and son - The Seagull. Yes of course these are 'pen names' because I'm also teaching my kids about internet safety so for the time being we'll be using nicknames. That isn't to say this will be an entirely anonymous blog and of course we want it to be a blessing and maybe a help to all who read it, so do get in touch, comment and chat, we'd love to know your thoughts!

The Blog
we are a family of Christians and as a parent I want to teach my children about having a real, living faith in Jesus, not just one they learn out of a book. So each week we spend time doing prayer or bible study together. I already blog elsewhere but my daughter suggested we did a prayer blog to share some of the things we are doing. Having spent much time looking for new and exciting things for them to try in prayer and bible study I agreed that this might actually be useful for others too, well that's what were hoping anyway. So we are going to blog our prayer times and share some of our thoughts. You will know who has written each post as we'll sign them, although I expect the spelling and grammar might give it away...! Happy reading (and praying...)