So far in this series, we have looked at some general tips for praying with children, plus more specific thoughts on praying with babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers and praying with more competent readers.
When we pray together as a family, we do it after dinner at the table.
We have a set of prayer cards each with a photo and some simple prayers. Everyone gets a card and we pray going around the table twice from youngest to oldest.
The first time we pray from our cards, the second time we thank God for something. We go from youngest to oldest so the youngest ones don’t have their prayer points already used up by the time it is their turn!
The cards have both written prayers and photos so that:
- the non-reader can pray a simple prayer by recognising the person in the photo
- the early reader can read out the prayers
- the confident reader can read out the prayer or change it
- Mum & Dad can add extra things & extend their prayers
We have 6 categories of cards:
- God, Jesus & the Holy Spirit
- Our family - the five of us
- Extended family
- Godparents and Compassion children
- Staff at church & uni (these are the colleagues, friends and co-workers that our children know)
- Missionaries / overseas workers
They sit in a business card display box, as you can see in the photo at the top of this article. We just grab whichever ones are on top for that night and put them at the back of the pile again when finished.
The only real difference between these prayers and the ones for the children individually is that we have changed the language from singular (I/me) to plural for the family (we/us).
How to make prayer cards
If you like this idea here is how we did it: we printed them in colour on business card sheets, laminated them as full sheets, then cut out the individual cards.
They do last longer if laminated, but they generally need to be updated every 6-12 months, so it doesn’t really matter. The holder was from an office supply store.
Again, just like the written prayers for readers it takes some time the first time you do it, but after that it is quick and easy to update.
More specific prayers
Prayer cards are great, but there are many times where we turn to prayer as a family for a specific reason. I mentioned some of these previously, for we want to be able to pray anytime.
When children are trusted with information about people around them, we can turn specific news into opportunities for prayer. Sometimes these are praise points – someone became a Christian! Or is having a baby! Or is getting married! Other times they are prayer points – someone is sick or had an accident.
As they become more aware of the world and current events, we can also turn these into opportunities for prayer. We can come before God about wars, natural disasters and elections.
We have found that when our missionary updates arrive, it is a great night to skip the general prayer cards and focus on that person or family in particular. We read the update together, talk about what it means, how they might feel in similar situations and then all pray for them.
So if you are a missionary or ministry worker who sends out updates – let me encourage you to make them family friendly, then we can all pray for you!
Wendy Lin lives in Adelaide and her blog is musingsinadelaide.blogspot.com.au.
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