Want to start the new year off right - focused on God? Consider a new year's resolution for your family to pray together daily. Our Family Prayer Board might be the right start for your family!
Does your family pray together daily? Our Family Prayer Board is a great addition to your family's prayer life, or it's a great way to begin the practice of daily prayer together. The best part? EVERYONE can participate, even the little ones!
The Family Prayer Board is a simple practice that is both spiritually formative and educational - kids learn to talk to God in ways that are meaningful, fun and theologically robust.
Instead of trying to teach kids complicated theological terms, this practice is based on a simple, four-part prayer called a Collect. Each part of the prayer engages kids (and adults!) in thinking more about who God is and how God works in our lives and our world as the prayer is compiled.
There are four easy to remember parts to the prayer:
- You - Who are we talking to when we pray? God! In the "You" part of the prayer, we address God, just like we start out most prayers. There are so many different names for God to choose from, and so many ways to describe God. From "Lord" and "Father" to "Dayspring" or "Abba," this is an opportunity for kids to hear more about who God is and different aspects of God's nature and character through hearing and using different names for God.
- Who - The "Who" of this prayer is also God, and in this part we name something God does or has done. From a historical frame - "Who rescued the Israelites from Egypt" to something more personal - "Who watches over our family every day" - to something more general - "Who loves everyone unconditionally" - "Who" allows us to praise God and name further who God is and how God works in the world.
- Do - This is the petitionary part of our prayer - what are we asking of God? This can be very specific - "Be with us as we travel to Grandma's house" - or more general as well - "Help us be more like Jesus today." This is a chance for your family to think further about how God works in your lives specifically, and how you can invite God to be a part of everything you do.
- Through - The closing of the prayer and a chance to acknowledge other or all the members of the Trinity by saying "In Jesus' name" or "By the power of the Holy Spirit." This is a great opportunity to talk about the different members of the Trinity and the three-in-one-ness of God!
Just use this template - or create your own! - to choose different parts of the prayer. At LECFamily programs, we have a big envelope for each of the four parts of the prayer (we actually divide You into two parts - an adjective and a name - for a little extra fun and variety!).
Each time we pray this way, we choose one item from each of the five envelopes. For our programs, we ask for five volunteers to randomly choose a tile from each envelope and put our prayer together that way. For your family, you might start out with random choices and then gradually help your kids choose specific phrases that are meaningful to them or appropriate for what you are doing that day.
Eventually, you might try adding in some blank options in each of the sections! When those are chosen, the family member who chose it has to come up with her/his own line for that prayer. Little by little, kids can learn to pray entirely on their own in a meaningful and theologically strong format -- although you might want to keep the Family Prayer Board around just for fun too!
This board can be made in many different ways - the simplest is just using magnets and paper on your refrigerator! For our board, we used foam board, magnet tape and neon posterboard paper. You can even use a metal baking sheet with magnets! The possibilities are endless!
Questions about the board? Have a photo of your own family's board to share? Post them in the comments!