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One of my favorite times of the day, when my children were small, was bedtime. Not because I was tired and ready for them to go to bed (although there were many times this was the case), but because of the nightly ritual I had of praying with them. I especially loved hearing them pray for missionary friends and families we talked about during the day. Offering prayer support as a family made me feel more connected to my children, and I think the children felt responsible when they were praying for a family, too. If you’re looking for ideas to use prayer as a connection in your family, read on!
Prayer Support as a Family
Just about every church, regardless of size, has one or more missionary families they support. When my children were little, we had prayer cards that included a photo of the family or individual, a little about their goals, and where they were serving, as well as contact info so we could write letters to them (or send monetary support) and request their newsletter. We loved to display these cards in the kitchen so we would remember to pray for “our” missionaries.
The Internet has made finding a missionary family to support even easier! For example, Scott and Kristin Morter are the parents of four children who plan to serve in Ireland. I had the pleasure of meeting this young family and look forward to hearing about their adventures. Ask your church’s mission board about info on families your church supports. Ask your friends who they support. Do a search online for various organizations, like the North American Missions Board, and find a family through them.
Once you’ve found a few families, take some time to pray and discover which one God wants you to support as a family in prayer. While it would be nice to offer monetary support, many missionaries are looking for dedicated prayer warriors to keep their family covered in prayer during their time of service. If you can find a family with children the same age as yours, bonus points!
Learning by Doing
Think about it: Children pick up a great deal of knowledge through what they see and what they hear. When my boys were small, they would watch an animated movie and then spend the rest of the day repeating everything they heard and acting out the whole movie. But, children also learn by doing. In fact, studies have shown they learn best by doing. So, while it’s good that they observe you having a quiet time during the day, it would be even better if they joined you for a time of prayer.
Some of the best times to pray together:
- In the morning: As soon as they are dressed and have finished breakfast, set aside 15-30 minutes to pray for the day with them.
- At meals: Saying grace before a meal doesn’t have to be short and quick and only about the food. Take time to offer thanks for the health of the missionary and for their willingness to serve. Pray that God would place them right where He wants them today.
- In the car: Prayer time in the car can be tricky, but it’s actually a great time for your child to practice their skills at leading prayer. (Be sure they understand that you need to keep your eyes on the road!)
- At bedtime: When you tuck your children in at night, take an extra few minutes to talk about the day, what they liked, and what they think the missionaries did that day.
Get Them Involved
Let them help you create a prayer chart for various needs. Take ideas from the missionary websites or newsletters, or come up with your own ideas. Here’s a few to get you started:
- Monday – Health
- Tuesday – Their own walk with God
- Wednesday – Their witness to others
- Thursday – That hearts would be opened
- Friday – That monetary needs are met
- Saturday – For friendships to grow
- Sunday – For knowledge of the culture
The Family Who Prays Together
Matthew 18:19-20 is an excellent example of the importance of praying together as a family.
“Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”
Prayerfully consider which missionaries you will offer prayer support as a family for, and then let them know you’re praying for them. If you can provide monetary support as well, all the better! Get your children involved by talking about the missionaries throughout the day, and by creating a prayer chart with your children’s help so you can offer specific prayers for the family you’ve chosen.
I’d love to know about any families you’re supporting in prayer! Leave a comment below, or stop by the Facebook page to start a conversation. And, speaking of Facebook, are you part of the Yes, You CAN Homeschool group yet? We’d love to have you join us!