Prayer Jars-Creating a vibrant prayer life with your kids

Prayer Jars with Bella

Prayer Jars: Asking and Thanking

 

I was homeschooled when I was a child and we had morning devotions with my mother every day. After we read the Proverb of the day, we had a Prayer Jar that we passed around from which each of us drew 2-3 prayer requests. The requests included names of people we wanted to pray for each day like the president, our pastor, each family member, as well as prayer needs that our family had been made aware of. As a family, we saw many answers to prayer. We also saw that some prayers that were not answered the way we had hoped. The times when the prayers seemed to go unanswered gave us an opportunity to talk about God and His sovereignty. I hope this set of Prayer Jars will help your family to…

 

  • Constantly watch for needs that God can meet.
  • Grow in compassion for others as you bring their needs to God.
  • Become more confident in prayer.
  • Strengthen your faith as you watch God answer prayers, large and small.
  • Develop a grateful heart and express your thankfulness to God.
  • Deepen your love and trust in God.

 

What to do:

 

  1. Decorate two Jars. One says “Prayer Jar: Asking” the other says “Prayer Jar: Thanking”
  2. Make strips of paper and put them with some pens where everyone can find them.
  3. Write each prayer need or name and the date on a single strip of paper and add them to the Asking Jar.
  4. Pass the Asking Jar at any family meal, devotions, or maybe at bed time. Everyone can draw two or three to pray for each time. (Or pray for all of them every time if you choose) Then put the paper back in the Asking Jar for the next time.
  5. When God answers, shout Hallelujah and thank Him for His goodness as earnestly as you asked for it.
  6. Write the date on the back of the strip of paper and put it in the Thanking Jar.

 

 

 

The Blessings Calendar

Blessings Calendar with Bella

Christian brothers, keep your minds thinking about whatever is true, whatever is respected, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever can be loved, and whatever is well thought of. If there is anything good and worth giving thanks for, think about these things. Keep on doing all the things you learned and received and heard from me. Do the things you saw me do. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 (NLV)

 

The God of peace…I love this promise and I have SEEN HIM SHOW UP in my life so many times!

 

I grew up with five brothers and sisters of which I’m number two, the oldest girl. My mother homeschooled us and my father was a pastor and also held any other job he could find to support us. We lived in a small lumber town and the economy was brutal. I remember there was a lot of concern about how the needs would be met.

 

I’m not suggesting you share all the weighty details of your family trials with your children, wisdom would say that they need to be sheltered from too heavy a load, but I am grateful that we knew some of it and that my parents let us walk through it with them, hand in hand with Jesus.

 

During this time, my mother decided to begin to keep track of everything the Lord did and all that He provided for us. She found a small calendar and each day, sometimes at dinner, would asked the children to name everything we could think of that the Lord had done for us that day and she would write it down. Nothing was too small or, in the case of a giant zucchini placed on our door step, too large! It was amazing how our faith grew as we watched the Lord provide for each family member. Often He answered prayers that we hadn’t even prayed, but rather were heart’s desires.

 

As parents, we are so used to thinking that WE are the ones our children should be able to look to for all their needs. We try to come to their aid when there is injustice or pain, real or imagined. We pull out the credit card if there is no other way.  It might be time we bow out gracefully and let our children idolize a new Hero, One who has a perfect timing for all things and wants to lavishly bless in the midst of it all. They need to see God’s footprints walking right through their lives every day. This calendar did that for my family.

 

As my mother wrote in it over several years, she began to notice something amazing, something that she never would have known if we had not been keeping track of the blessings. It seemed that every time a difficult situation came along in our life, there appeared mountains of blessings surrounding it. It was as if the Lord was causing the mountains to fill in the valleys.  The result was an even greater attitude of thanksgiving for all that the Lord was doing for us.

 

Who knew how very much I would need to know the Lord in this way? I have battled kidney failure my entire life, and more recently, cancer. The little girl whose mother kept a Blessings Calendar needed to know that God would take care of everything her parents couldn’t, and that mountains of blessing would surround the valley of the shadow of death. My mother’s faith in God became my faith because our family trials were opportunities to “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who trusts in Him” (Psalm 34:8)

 

Beethoven’s Selfless act of Kindness

 By Linda Lawrence | http://gardenofpraise.com/godseg61a.htm

The definition of kindness is a mild, gentle state of mind. It also is a good or benevolent quality or good behavior. Also in the meaning are being considerate, helpful, loving and/or affectionate.

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 4:32

And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,

2 Timothy 2:24

This quotation says so much –

“I expect to pass through life but once. If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again.”

~ William Penn

Beethoven wrote the song “Moonlight Sonata”, a lovely piece. He wanted to give something to a blind girl whom he met. She was unable to see the beauty around her. The white clouds, the trees and the colorful flowers were among the many beautiful sights she was not able to view. Beethoven sat down and put his genius to work. She could hear the wondrous beauty in his composition. This valuable sound has been shared with countless people, all because of Beethoven’s selfless act of kindness.

A Little Boy’s Lunch

By Sherry Andrew

Loaves & Fishes – John 6:5-9

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”  6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.  Philip answered him, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”  Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” NIV

Have you ever thought about the little boy who gave his lunch to Jesus? He had to have been just as hungry as the crowds of people and the disciples. I am sure his mother had lovingly packed it for him out of concern for her child. Yet, on that hot and dusty day, he willingly and kindly gave it to Jesus. He had no way of knowing whether or not he would be going home hungry that night. However, it was a simple, small act of kindness that made an enormous difference to over 5000 hungry people. I sincerely hope that he got to take some of the left over’s home with him. If he did, he must have had a very surprised mother.  I am curious; did the people know where the food had come from? Did they thank him? One thing is certain, Jesus knew.

What an amazing lesson this should be for us. Any act of kindness we do out of faith will be rewarded beyond anything we can imagine.

A Simple Gesture

This story was first printed in Jack Canfield’s first “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book. He has written many more since this one! For many more heart-warming and inspirational stories like these, look for Canfield in any bookstore.

Mark was walking home from school one day when he noticed the boy ahead of him had tripped and dropped all of the books he was carrying, along with two sweaters, a baseball bat, a glove and a small tape recorder. Mark knelt down and helped the boy pick up the scattered articles. Since they were going the same way, he helped to carry part of the burden. As they walked Mark discovered the boy’s name was Bill, that he loved video games, baseball and history, and that he was having lots of trouble with his other subjects and that he had just broken up with his girlfriend. They arrived at Bill’s home first and Mark was invited in for a Coke and to watch some television. The afternoon passed pleasantly with a few laughs and some shared small talk, then Mark went home. They continued to see each other around school, had lunch together once or twice, then both graduated from junior high school. They ended up in the same high school where they had brief contacts over the years. Finally the long awaited senior year came and three weeks before graduation, Bill asked Mark if they could talk.

Bill reminded him of the day years ago when they had first met. “Did you ever wonder why I was carrying so many things home that day?” asked Bill. “You see, I cleaned out my locker because I didn’t want to leave a mess for anyone else. I had stored away some of my mothers sleeping pills and I was going home to commit suicide. But after we spent some time together talking and laughing, I realized that if I had killed myself, I would have missed that time and so many others that might follow. So you see, Mark, when you picked up those books that day, you did a lot more, you saved my life.”

-John W. Schlatter (true story)

 

 

A Lesson in Love (And Kindness)

By Gayle Ely

The gift my father unknowingly gave helps me see past my children’s mistakes to their hearts

Life on a farm in Arkansas in the 1950s offered a wonderful childhood for me, but I knew it was a hard life for my parents. Any new expense meant difficult decisions about how the minimal cash was to be spent, and even though I never felt deprived, I knew that I just didn’t ask for things that cost money. It was also understood that when something broke, if Daddy couldn’t fix it himself and it wasn’t absolutely essential to us, it very likely would stay broken.

I knew that one of our most important possessions was an old red Ford pickup. It was our connection to the rest of the world, as well as the vehicle that my father used to do the dawn-to-dusk work on the farm. I had an older brother and sister and a baby brother, and every Sunday morning we would dress for church, then crowd into the cab of the truck for the trip to town. I was the smallest besides the baby, so I sat next to my dad because I caused the least interference with shifting.

I was a shy, skinny, bookish sort of child, and while I often played with my brothers and my sister, I learned that solitude could be a delightful time when my imagination was totally free. One of my favorite places to take a book and be alone was the seat of the old red pickup. One warm afternoon I was enjoying this favorite spot, reading a little, but mostly daydreaming. My finger was absently tracing the knobs and lines on the dashboard, and finally wound around to the speedometer.

The glass on the speedometer had long since been broken out, maybe even before the pickup joined our family. I often watched the red needle as we drove down the highway. It was fascinating to watch it climb the circle of numbers, sometimes getting as high as the 50 at the top. It never approached the numbers going down the other side to 90. I wasn’t sure why, but I knew that this was all somehow an important part of Daddy’s truck.

As I traced the circle with my finger, I bumped against the needle and realized that it wasn’t moving. I knew this wasn’t right, that it was supposed to go up and down on the numbers. It must be stuck. So I nudged it, then nudged a little harder, and was rewarded by a little pop as it came loose from whatever had held it prisoner. And I was delighted to see that it not only moved freely now, but went all the way to the 90 and back! Not only had I fixed it; it was better than it had been before!

I couldn’t wait for Daddy to get home so I could show him the wonderful thing I had done. He would be so surprised! But it was hours before he came home, and I had gone on with my seven-year-old life and forgotten all about it. It didn’t enter my mind until that Sunday morning.

After scurrying around to eat breakfast and finish chores and dress for church, we piled into the truck as usual and started off down the dirt lane to the highway. Daddy and Mom were talking about something that held no interest for me at all, and my eyes went to the speedometer. I remembered then, and burst out delightedly, “Daddy the red needle was stuck and I fixed it for you!” I looked up to see the surprise and joy on his face, and the surprise was definitely there. I saw him look quickly at the speedometer, and his expression told me the truth. I had not fixed his truck, I had actually broken it.

I was horrified. I stopped breathing, and I didn’t know how I could start again. After what I had done, anything Daddy would say now, however gently it came out, could only crush my seven-year-old heart. I had meant it to be a wonderful gift, and I realized as I watched his face that it was actually a costly mistake.

I could feel the tension in the sudden silence. I braced myself for the scolding that would surely come even from my gentle daddy, and knew it would cut deeper than he could know.

His face went through a series of expressions, and he gave a little sound that was something between a short laugh and a helpless sigh. Then the corners of his mouth turned up to a smile, and the words came—”Thank you, sweetheart.”

And that was it. No scolding, no stern reminder to not touch things I don’t understand, not even a look of disappointment. He picked up the conversation with my mother, and not a word was ever said about my awful blunder. The world had not fallen in around me. My heart slipped from my throat to its usual place, and I began to breathe again. By the time we reached town I was ready to greet my friends and put this thing behind me.

The speedometer needle never was fixed, but somehow the red truck continued to faithfully do its duty for the family. That moment was buried under all the experiences of growing up and carrying on with life as an adult. I don’t know what brought it to my mind many years later, but when it surfaced I was overwhelmed by the realization of what had really happened.

While I didn’t form the conscious thought at the time, I grew up knowing, without a single doubt, that I was more important to my Daddy than anything he could ever possess. And years later, when my own children made mistakes that were disappointing or costly, I found that I could look past the action to see the tender heart of the child, and set my priorities right. Today I don’t remember any of the “things” that were damaged or lost. But I have two sons who are self-confident and gentle of heart, and that is worth it all.

Gayle Ely lives in the mountains of Northern California with her husband, Frank. Together they raised two sons, and they are enjoying three grandchildren. She retired recently from her position as secretary/registrar of Kidder Creek Camps, a Christian camp for children and teens near her home.

 

| For original article click HERE |

 

 

Misunderstood

Here is a story from the bible where an act of kindness was misjudged and it caused no end of suffering:

2 Samuel 10:1-19

In the course of time, the king of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun succeeded him as king. 2 David thought, “I will show kindness to Hanun son of Nahash, just as his father showed kindness to me.” So David sent a delegation to express his sympathy to Hanun concerning his father.

When David’s men came to the land of the Ammonites, 3 the Ammonite nobles said to Hanun their lord, “Do you think David is honoring your father by sending men to you to express sympathy? Hasn’t David sent them to you to explore the city and spy it out and overthrow it?” 4 So Hanun seized David’s men, shaved off half of each man’s beard, cut off their garments in the middle at the buttocks, and sent them away. NIV

Illustration of the Power of Kindness

Story told by Adrian Rogers

A woman came down the aisle of a church to give her heart to Christ, and the preacher wanted to know what had impacted her life for Christ.

She said, “You did.”

The pastor said, “Well, I’d be interested to know what it was that I said that brought you to Christ.”

She said, “It was nothing you said. It was something you did. I was standing nearby when somebody criticized you very unfairly. I saw the kindness with which you responded, and I knew that your faith was real.”

 

David:Remembering and Rewarding Kindness

While on his death bed, David remembered kindness that was shown to him –

1 Kings 2:1-4, 7 – (Story found in 2 Sam 17:27-29.)

When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son.  “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, show yourself a man, 3 and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go, 4 and that the Lord may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’……..7 “But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai of Gilead and let them be among those who eat at your table. They stood by me when I fled from your brother Absalom. NIV

 Story: 2 Sam 17:27-18:1

 When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash of Rabbah of the Ammonites, and Machir son of Ammiel of Lo-debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite of Rogelim 28 Brought beds, basins, earthen vessels, wheat, barley, meal, parched grain, beans, lentils, parched [pulse — seeds of peas and beans], 29 Honey, curds, sheep, and cheese of cows for David and the people with him to eat; for they said, The people are hungry, weary, and thirsty in the wilderness. AMP

New Testament Stories on Being Kind

Elizabeth was kind to Mary – Luke 1:39-45

Paul and Silas showed extreme kindness when they were in the jail in Philippi and the earthquake released them from jail. Instead of fleeing for their lives, they stayed and saw to it that the jailor received Christ. Acts 16:22-34

Tabitha who made clothes for the widows – Acts 9:36-43

The Good Samaritan – Luke 10:30-36

The Prodigal Son – Luke 15:11-22

When we are kind to the least of these, we are being kind to Jesus.  Matt. 25:35-40,45

“Zaccheus is an example of what brotherly kindness can do in the life of an unbeliever. In his case, Zaccheus was the recipient of the Lord’s kindness. When Jesus saw Zaccheus perched up in a tree, He invited Himself to Zaccheus’ house. That would have been a great honor for anyone, but it was especially so for Zaccheus because he was a tax collector. Tax collectors at that time were not well liked by anyone. Everyone avoided Zaccheus, but Jesus reached out to him in kindness. As a result, Zaccheus’ life was totally transformed by the undeserved kindness of Jesus.”  (Luke 19:2-10)  ~ Kenneth Hagin

Jesus feeding the 5,000 and the 4,000 -  Mark 8:2-3 “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. 3 If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.”  NIV – Mark 8:2-3

Jesus receiving and blessing the children – Matt 19:13-15

“Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.” NIV