Our family has evening and morning Bible (devotional) times together almost every day. During the school year, I lead our kids in a Bible time during breakfast. We read a passage of scripture, work on a memory verse and often a hymn, and then pray for our day. During the summer we aren’t so consistent and we feel this lack of consistency. By the end of the summer (like right now as I write this) we are ready for those regular morning times together again.
Throughout the whole year, almost every night, Eric leads us in family Bible times together. Eric reads a story from a children’s Bible and then asks our children questions about what he just read. Then we open our Prayer Box and pray together as a family. After our time of prayer, we all praise the Lord together at the same time. We will speak out praises like “You are the kind God.” “Lord you are strong.” “You are wise. You are loving. You are fun.” We end our spontaneous praise by singing the songs “Praise the name of Jesus” and “Jesus loves Me”. Sometimes we may sing another song. We end our Bible time with listening to the Lord. We all get quiet and ask the Lord what He wants to speak to us. Our little ones usually get an instant word or picture from God while it takes the rest of us longer. We often have to make Tirzah and Judah wait to tell us what they heard from God so the rest of us get a chance to listen. When we travel, we add high point/low point to this mix. Everyone shares the high and low point of their day. Then it’s time for bed for the littles.
Why do we do this? We want to put God first in our home. When we daily spend time in God’s word, pray, and worship together, we grow closer to Jesus and to each other. There is more peace in our home and we feel connected. Deuteronomy 11:19 tells parents to teach children the Word of God at home, on the road, and when you get up and when you go to bed. Our children, oldest to youngest, do not like it when we miss a night of family Bible time together. If it’s a super busy week, we will even do Bible time in the van, sharing verses and doing “imaginary” prayer box.
What is Prayer Box? Our Prayer Box is a box filled with names of family members, friends, missionaries, pastors, and random people God puts on our hearts. Every night, each family member draws a name out of the prayer box and that person prays for the person or family name written on their piece of paper. We all love prayer box! Prayer box is FUN!!! We get to see how the Holy Spirit orchestrates who we all pray for. It’s no coincidence when we draw names of people from the same family, or we draw the same person’s name night after night, or when one of of us draws my name after a really exhausting day and I need prayer. Prayer is not boring and prayer box teaches our children the value and fun of prayer. I got the idea for our prayer box years ago when Josiah and Emmy were little. I cannot remember exactly where, but I think it was from an Above Rubies book or article I read. We been having family devotional times since Josiah(13) was a baby and using the prayer box since he and Emmy (11) were very young.
Here is what your need for your prayer box:
A small box with a lid (can be a shoe box, or a pretty wooden box, or plastic container)
Small pieces of paper (we use colored 3 by 5 cards cut in half then folded)
Write down names of family, friends, and anyone God puts on your heart onto those papers and then put them in the box. Each person in your family can pull out a name and pray for the person they drew when you have your family Bible time.
Over the years I’ve had some women ask me how they can help their husbands be the spiritual leaders of their home. Family Bible times are a great way to do this. I encourage wives to pick out a simple children’s bible story book and/or a simple devotional book. Ask your husband if he would be willing to read one of these stories to you and your children each morning or night or whenever works best for your husband (if your husbands schedule makes this difficult, even once a week is better than never!). If he says yes, wonderful, if not, pray for him and start doing this with your children yourself. If your husband does decide to lead in this way, don’t criticize his reading or add a whole bunch to what he reads or does. Let him lead! Simplicity is great and sufficient. Prayer Box takes the pressure off of him to pray “perfect” prayers. Have fun as you spend time with God as a family. Our kids often get seriously goofy during Bible time. For the most part we let them, laughter is good, and we’re not trying to be religious. We are putting Christ first and prioritizing our family.
If you have teenagers who grumble when you start this, don’t let them stop you, and don’t be offended by their grumbling. They need family Bible time and will thank you eventually!
Statistics show that couples who pray together stay together and I believe the same is true for families who pray together.
So…..start having Bible times together as a family and make your own Prayer Box! See what God will do!