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A New Way to Help Your Family Pray Together

Something as simple as a decorative bowl can inspire a seasonal prayer practice for parents and kids.

Family praying together
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
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Just inside the front door of my home is a small wooden bowl. Anytime I arrive, I drop my keys into it. Anytime I want to remember to take something with me the next time I leave, I put it in or next to the bowl. It’s handy. It’s simple. It’s helpful. 

A similar device can be used to help your family pray together.

Try placing a bowl in a high traffic location, a place your family passes many times a day. Maybe it’s the kitchen counter. Or a hall table. Your family room. Perhaps family members have decorated the bowl, decoupaged it or bedazzled it. In it or next to it, place a pen or marker and pieces of card or paper. You might use a different color of marker or paper for each member of the family. Then ask family members, any time they feel thankful, worried or concerned for someone, to write a one-sentence prayer and put it in the bowl. 

A child might scribble, “Thanks, God, for my bunny rabbit.” 

A parent may jot, “Please heal Aunt Sophie.” 

A teen could plead, “Help me not to fall asleep again in first period.” 

The adults in the household can set the example, especially at first, in “feeding” the prayer bowl, encouraging everyone to participate. 

Then, once a week—perhaps at a family meal or on the drive to church—prayers from the bowl can be read together. Family members can rejoice in those that have been answered and renew others still pending, returning them to the bowl until an answer can be celebrated. 

You might even use a second prayer bowl to collect the answered prayers and—say, on Easter, Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve or at the end of a school year—pull them out to praise God for His kindness. 

You may use your prayer bowl only through a season, like Lent. Or, if you continue beyond Resurrection Sunday, you might use it to focus on a family member’s birthday month with prayers celebrating that person. In the month of November, prayers of thanksgiving might dominate, enlivening the traditional “what are you thankful for” conversation around the table. 

However you use it or adapt it, with just a little encouragement a prayer bowl might soon help your family develop a habit of praying “sentence prayers,” even when they can’t write a prayer for the bowl. And everyone might learn to expect and celebrate answers to prayer all year round.

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