Finding quality family time is a challenge for most families. You have work, your kids’ school, your social life, and extracurricular activities for your kids that all compete. It can be hit-and-miss for many families.
Some families are able to spend time together, but they aren’t always present when they are together. It happens to us a lot. Our kitchen table is where it all goes down. We eat, we homeschool, we work, and we play games.
Unfortunately, sometimes that is all done at the same time. I may be writing a blog post, my wife may be sending an email to the other families in our homeschooling community, our daughter and oldest son may be doing school work, while our youngest might be tracing his letters, or playing on the iPad.
A family prayer jar will bring your family together
I sadly have to admit that even when we are all supposed to be eating dinner we can still be apart (ahem—cell phones and laptops and tablets). But, recently we have found a way that gets all of us to shut down any distractions, and stop doing what we are doing to quietly come together. A family prayer jar.
Using a family prayer jar truly brought our family together.
This has worked despite all the potential distractions we have that pull our family apart even while in the same room at the same table!
One of the best ideas for our family
My wife created the prayer jar and it sits in the middle of our kitchen table. It is filled with popsicle sticks that have prayer requests written on them. When she first created it and shared it with me I thought it was a pretty cool idea. But I didn’t know how powerful it really was, and the many ways it would benefit our family.
Now that we’ve used it for a few weeks, I love it! Through all the distractions we have, even while sitting at the same table, what we do around this prayer jar is amazing. First, let me tell you about the jar itself and how we use it.
How to create and use a family prayer jar
The prayer jar is nothing more than an empty jar, like what spaghetti sauce or some jarred fruit comes in. The label is removed, the cap is thrown away, and it is cleaned thoroughly. Next, you get a bag of popsicle sticks that have not been used. On each popsicle stick you write your prayers, and the prayer requests of friends and family.
Each time we sit down at the table together we all grab a random prayer stick and begin to pray. Prayer is pretty well-respected in our house, so once someone begins to pray everyone stops what they are doing.
We don’t limit using the prayer jar to only times when we are eating. Sometimes we are homeschooling, working, or just sitting there. Once someone grabs a prayer stick everyone else follows suit, and the next thing you know we have created a prayer circle together.
How using a family prayer jar will bless your family
- Using a family prayer jar eliminates distractions and brings us all together at least for those moments of prayer. The quote, “the family that prays together stays together,” sums this up so well. But like quality family time, family prayer time can be pushed out by other things. The prayer jar has been our solution to that problem.
- Using a family prayer jar reinforces the value we place on prayer in our family for our kids. I always say my wife is a prayer warrior. One of my goals is to make sure our kids know the value of prayer and consistently pray. The fact that we made prayer the center of one of the most important places in our home reminds them daily.
- Using a family prayer jar teaches our kids to not just pray before we eat and before we go to bed. A prayer circle can happen at any particular time, for no specific reason at all. I grew up praying before meals and occasionally before bed. We’ve tried to pray more than that, but sometimes prayer can become a reactive or crisis response. Proactively praying will show them prayer is not limited to certain events or issues.
- Using a family prayer jar gives our kids and our entire family the opportunity to pray for others. Our kids pray for their classmates, friends, their grandparents, us, our Facebook friends, and even strangers they have never met. Prayers have ranged from sick friends, to a child who had to have brain surgery, to a family who lost a family member unexpectedly. Our four-year-old typically eyeballs the popsicle sticks so he can pray for his Nana and a particular friend he really likes. 🙂
- Using a family prayer jar helps instill the discipline of prayer, which is particularly helpful for me as I sometimes “forget” to pray. There was a time when I stopped saying to people, “I’ll pray for you,” because I wasn’t sure I would once I got away from them. I wanted to and had every intention to, but somehow it wouldn’t always get done. With the prayer jar it has given me a consistent way to record these requests, and actually pray for them.
- Using a family prayer jar allows God to go to work in our lives. We believe prayer is a way for us to directly communicate with God. We also believe He hears our prayers, and will answer them. I honestly think the less I talk to God, the less effective I am in handling the daily aspects of my life. I have noticed a direct correlation between my prayer life and how things are going in my life.
- Using a prayer jar is creating a lasting family tradition. Family traditions are great, and some of them last generations. Few of them not only last many generations, but also have an eternal impact. Having a family tradition centered on prayer will do more for my kids, more for their kids, and each generation that follows than any other family traditions we have.
[reminder]Do you use a family prayer jar or something similar? How does it impact your family?[/reminder]