You’re probably thinking, “Yo, Heather!! It’s not even Christmas yet and you’re already talking New Years? SLOW DOWN! I promise I have a good reason to post this today, perhaps it’s something you can start on Christmas Eve like we will be after church and before we open presents. 🙂
“As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord. ~Isaiah 59:21 – Bible Gateway
Seemingly simple words, a simple scripture right? Not so for me, in fact it’s ignited a challenge for the year of 2014. Instead of the simple resolutions that focus on ridding my thighs of cottage cheese, or the ever growing waistline (Hey–I LOVE food) or even the crazy resolutions of running a marathon (Yes…sadly I am training for one :-)), this psalm brought to mind my prayer journal and the acronym of PRAISE I began using to journal my prayers.
It brought to mind my children and training them in righteousness and my fear of their faith hanging on my apron strings. During a late night dinner, my husband and I talked about ways we could grow our children’s faith and make it so it could become their own-without killing us.
I know families who pray together every night before bed, and still others who lay on the floor of one child’s bedroom awaiting to see if they sense God’s response and still others who read devotions before bed. Not so with our family. Given the wide age gaps, the crazy personalities, combined with my crazy late work hours and not to mention all of us having some form of ADD–family time doesn’t go well unless we are all moving and shaking somehow.
So the crazy idea came to me: why not journal?
Really, why not?
We bought simple notebooks for the kids and freshly sharpened pencils with the idea of our children sitting in their beds, while we as parents read a simple scripture and asked the kids to either draw a picture of their prayers or write one word or a string of words.
For my oldest who has Aspergers, we’ve encouraged her to not only journal her prayers but to also use hues of colors to express her joys, sorrows and confusion…and perhaps the latest crush on a boy she likes 🙂
My mom heart hopes my children will understand the power of prayer. There is a real world outside the front door and it’s time to get real with them about faith, about Jesus and how to use their little voices to change their world.
Will you join me in the year of 2014? Each Sunday I will post a scripture and prayer journal template for little ones if you so choose to use. I plan to try to get in prayer time as many nights week but I am not holding myself to this expectation because life happens.
And because I believe in community and I believe we have the ability to shape and sharpen each other, I would love to hear how you are strengthening your family’s faith in 2014. Please tell me, tell all 3,500 views each week what you plan to do.
If you want to start a Family Tradition of Journaling Prayers together, this week is a great week to start. This can be done several ways:
1. Purchase a cheap 3 ring binder and print out copies of my JOY template: Kids JOY Journal Page
2. Purchase cheap notebooks for each family. You can purchase plain notebooks or have your children pick one ones with their favorite characters on it.
3. One large notebook and then designate an area for the journal to lay out where everyone has access to it. I did this in the past and used my sofa table. We called it the prayer alter. The notebook laid open with today’s prayers and next to it was a copy of today’s Bible verse and I kept a jar of pencils, pens, and colored pencils.
4. Then choose a time of day to talk about prayers, either at dinner or bedtime; ask if their prayers were answered. If they were, grab the journal, write out how it was answered and assign that day’s date. It’s an amazing testament to go back through the journals a few months later or even a year later to see how God moved to answer prayers. It’s an amazing faith builder.
How to Begin
1.Print out the scripture journal verses and place them where your family can see them as they write out their prayers (either in their own notebook or binder or at the prayer alter).
2. Read the verse and ask your kids what it means to them. Let them think about it, then journal a sentence about what it means.
*To simplify, they don’t have to journal about the verse but you can still recite one verse to them a day to bring God’s word into their lives.
3. Then have your kids use the acronym JOY to journal.
J- Jesus – What are you thankful for in your life today?
O-Others-Who needs prayer, your brother, teacher, grandma?
Y-You- What do you need prayer for? Do you need help to control your temper, to share more?
2. Time. Select a time that works for your family. Whether it’s in the morning, right after school or before bed; find a time and designate it as prayer time.
3. Let go of expectations. Like I said before, life happens. If you don’t get to it today or tomorrow, that’s okay. The important thing to remember is you are laying the foundation for them to build upon. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will their prayer life. 🙂
If you want to begin praying specific prayers over the lives of your kids, purchase Mark Batterson’s Book: Praying Circles Around Your Children. It’s only $2.99.
Click here for your child’s prayer journal printable. Kids JOY Journal Page
Click here for your downloadable and printable copy of verses to begin with this week’s verses.
Note: There are several versions of how I created the verses before settling on a universal printable format. Bear with me as you begin going through the weeks. THANK YOU.