That was our challenge last week. We asked our kids to make a short list of people they wanted to pray for and it was so interesting to see how each of their unique quirky personalities processed this challenge. Before I dive into how this week went, though, I want to answer the question I was asked most this week ... especially from people who don't share the same faith views as I do.
Growing up in a Christian home, attending a Christian school and being at church pretty much any time the doors were open I began familiar with the language of prayer. I recognized prayer as part of our faith but as I matured I often chaffed at the mention of prayer and struggled to stifle my yawns during designated prayer times. Prayer was boring, lifeless and, from what I could see, useless. Whatever was going to happen was going to happen if I said a few words in prayer or not, so what's the point. Right?
During the last year I have rediscovered the importance of prayer. Or meditation. Or sending happy thoughts. I felt felt the power of good vibes sent my way and I have depended on the borrowed strength of well wishers. I don't believe prayer is about saying the right scripted words in a designated holy space and a designated holy time. To me, prayer is about two things; its about seeing the needs of others and surrendering control.
And that's why we challenged our kids to pray.
We wanted them to think about the people in their world. We wanted them to recognize that we all have needs, struggles and sadness. We also wanted them to see the goodness in their lives; we wanted them to identify the blessing that friendship is. In making a list of people to pray for, it forced our kids (and ourselves) to really think about the individuals we encounter every day and the struggles they may be facing and that in turn, increased our empathy and awareness.
Once we became aware we then needed to acknowledge our lack of control. We can't bend the world to our will, all we can do is offer support, good wishes and hope. Offer and let it go. Once we surrender that which we have recognized we are free to be filled with peace. The burden is not ours to carry because we have no power in and of ourselves to make anything happen. Its up to God. Or fate. Or the universe. No matter what you believe or who you believe in, the truth is still the same .. its SO not up to you to fix or control.
So we see the people in our world, we recognize their needs and then we surrender control. That's it. That's all we can do ... to start. Sometimes in taking the time to pray for others we also see where we can help. This happened for our kids. Like I said, all three of our kids approached this challenge from their own unique perspectives and they each had their own experiences of growth and understanding.
Dude sat for a good long while and thought about the people he sees regularly and what their needs might be and then he chose the top five people he felt were most in need. He prayed for those five people every night. He was very spock-like in his approach to this task, very logical and unemotional. Mischief prayed for everyone and I mean EVERYONE he came into contact with each day. His list changed everyday. His great big caring heart didn't want to leave anyone out so his prayers sounded a lot like roll call.
Crafty, surprisingly, had the toughest time with this one. She wanted to know why prayer, why out loud, what's supposed to happen, what's the point. I had many in depth and interesting conversations with her over the course of the week about prayer, faith, God and relationships. She challenged me on every point, not out of defiance but out of a desire to fully understand. She's never been one to buy into the 'because I said so' thing. I love that about her.
It took her several days but she finally made her list. It was a short list, just three kids. Two girls from school whose families are falling apart and one boy who is bullied on a daily basis. Her prayers were as short as her list. She just closed her eyes and said each f their names. That's it. But I can tell you I have never heard a more powerful or heart felt prayer in my life. She understood, she saw and she surrendered.
That's why prayer.
Week Three: Give Friendship
Dude, its your week to party! Plan a casual friendship party. Invite a few people you would like to be friends with or who need a friend like you. Crafty and Mischief you are the party helpers. You will help your brother get ready for the party, serve during it and clean up afterwards. This is a team effort!
Luke 10: 42
Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken from her
1. Read Luke 10:37 -42. Does this seem fair?
2. Why do you think Jesus said that Mary was doing the right thing when clearly Martha was doing all the work?
3.What were the attitudes of Mary and Martha? How could they reverse their attitudes (Mary grumbling and Martha being happy)? What would that look like?
4. Choose your attitude for this task. Decide to look past what may seem fair or not and choose to do your best. You never know what the future holds!