This is a way we can serve our families, friends, and ultimately God.
This past weekend God put a great emphasis on prayer. On Saturday, starting at 10am until Sunday at 10am, our church had a Day of Prayer. It was fantastic!
Worship music was playing. A prayer box was built with several categories, Nation, Miracles, Worship, and more... People added things as they came, and prayed over the requests. Paper and crayons were provided for the kids. It wasn't structured. We came to pray and worship however the Lord led us.
My family took the hour from 7am on Sunday morning to 8am. It was a little bit of a chore to be up by 6am on a Sunday, but we made it to church and were rewarded for our effort.
There was no one else praying at that time, so we had the auditorium to ourselves. You could feel the peace and presence of God. I know that may sound a little hokey to some, but it was something you could almost feel physically upon entering the room. I've spent many hours in this place, and I don't think I've ever experienced anything like this before.
Since we were free to do our own thing, we all chose to sit around the prayer wall. I read aloud a lot of the prayer requests to my youngest who can't read, and then we all chose what we wanted to pray for. We took turns praying out loud.
Slowly we moved around the prayer walls, while some soft worship music played in the background. After the third wall when we had all taken our turns praying out loud for some requests, I started singing out loud to the worship music. My family joined in. It felt right. We sat there worshiping God together in a new way.
I looked at my phone to check the time, and realized we had only 10 minutes left before we needed to leave. (We planned to eat breakfast out, and had to get back to the church in less than an hour for Titus to have band practice and me to get ready for my Kidzone class.) We still had another side of the wall, and decided it was time to move on. Worship. That was the 4th side to the box. God had already transitioned us there.
For the last few minutes of our hour of prayer, we switched the CD to some songs the kids know from Kidzone. We all danced to the music and did our motions, while I sang loudly. I think the motions took everyone's concentration! It was a beautiful morning of communicating with God.
I don't believe it was a coincidence that in Kidzone that morning I was given the suggestion of making prayer books. This curriculum is literally planned out years in advance. I believe God orchestrated it. We all had the experience of God; we needed some practical application for the kids.
As I was putting together my example project for the kids, I started to feel a little convicted. I needed to use one of these books myself. It was such a practical idea; I decided to adopt it as my own.
I printed off a verse for the kids to use on either their front or back cover of the book. "Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you." 1 Peter 5:7
On each of the pages I had the kids write down different people's names that they were close to. I told them to start with each family member, and then start adding on friends and other people in their lives. I suggested a page for Kidzone, a page for church, our pastor, or a page for school. The list could go on and on.
If they already knew what they were going to be praying about, now was the time to write it down. I encouraged them to take their book home, and ask each person in the book what they specifically wanted prayer for. I made the books small so they could easily fit into a pocket and be carried around.
I don't think this has ever happened since I've been teaching; every single prayer book was taken out of the classroom. Not a single book was left behind for me to find. The kids really grabbed a hold of this idea and were excited to ask people what needs they had. When they finished early in my class, I suggested they ask the other kids at their table for prayer requests. Some were quick to fly through this project, and for those, I suggested to use the book now. Pray. Don't wait for later to start, take a moment right now and say a prayer. God is always listening.
When I left my classroom that day I made a promise to God that I would start my own prayer book. So many times I forget what others have asked me to pray about, or I remember to pray one time and then it slips my mind. I didn't want that happening anymore.
I put together my own prayer book. I wanted to have different sections to my book, to make it easier to find, and to have a little bit of order. I came up with 5 different headings. Amanda (Me), Family, Friends, Church, Nation. Under each heading, I can break it up even further. In the family section I have individual pages for each member. In the friend section I have the names of my friends on the top of each page. That leaves me with plenty of room to write, and I can always give them a new page when it's full.
I guessed at how many pages for each tab. You could count out the amount if you want to be precise. To make my tabs, I used about 3 or 4 inches of packing tape for each tab. I placed the piece of paper in the middle. When you go to lay your tape down on the paper, do it quickly. If you do it too slowly, the static force will pull the paper up where you don't want it. I had to redo a few before I figured this out.
The nice thing about having a lined notebook, it helps when you're applying your tabs. You can count lines to find out where the middle is and so forth.
that if we ask anything according to His will,
He hears us - whatever we ask -
we know that we have what we asked of Him."
1 John 5:14-15
If you know me well, hold me accountable on this. I would really like to prioritize prayer more in my life. And I would really like to serve my family and friends by praying for their needs.
"Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out." Ephesians 6:18 (The Message)
Grab a cup of your favorite drink. Pick up your Bible. Find a quiet place. Put on some soft worship music. Spent time alone with God. Share your heart with Him. Listen when He speaks to you. Be ready for change. Stretch yourself.