Mealtime prayers: what we do

Once upon a time, in our home, in our eating nook, around our table, we'd sit down to a meal and our children would bicker about who got to pray for the meal. For a season we let them all pray, but that was getting a bit long and the food was getting a bit cold.

A couple of years ago I stumbled upon the ingenious idea (I think from Amy's Humble Musings, if my memory serves me correctly) to select a day for each child to pray, and we've been doing that ever since. I love this little system. If it's a Friday, it's Isaac's day to pray. If it's a Tuesday, it's Isaias' day to pray, if it's Sunday? Ella prays. It just simplified everything and I like simple.

For the past several months we've been doing this other thing for mealtime prayers.

See this bowl?

It sits on our kitchen table. Inside the bowl are little folded up pieces of cardstock, and on each piece of paper, there's a name or family or request written on it.

Written on the papers? There are grandparents and great-grandparents, family members, friends, our pastor, President George W. Bush, the AIDS orphans in Africa, our Compassion child, our adoptive kids' birthmom's, our neighbors, specific needs of friends and missionaries.

Then at each meal, whoever's day it is to pray gets to draw from the bowl and include that in their mealtime prayer.

Another little system I'm enjoying.

And the kids? They absolutely LOVE the drawing-out-of-the-bowl idea. It is such a fun surprise for them to unfold the little paper and discover who it is they've drawn. They look forward to it immensely.

What has been neat for me to see is that God really leads us to pray for those who need our prayer the most. There have been days where we keep drawing the same person, and at first the kids would get a bit frustrated: "But I just prayed for them!" We pointed out that God directed them again to choose that person, and that must mean that that particular person or family or missionary really needs our prayers at this time. Now when that happens they're all excited that we're taking part in something big that God might be doing in that person's life. :)

And what a treat it is for us to hear our children's earnest prayers for all of these things.

***While we're on the topic of prayer, please pray for Kendra's little Joseph!


  1. After observing this fun routine of yours I was thinking about how it reminded me of the Biblical drawing of lots. Of course the Lord always directs those lots!
    How cool for your kids.
    You should have mentioned also that you always hold hands when you pray at the table. It's another cool tradition in your family!

  2. Love this idea!

    Since we live on the other side of the world from all my family and many dear friends, we have made a rotating picture album which sits on the table. Every day we flip to a new picture and pray for that person or family. It really helps my preschoolers remember faces and names between visits and reminds us all to keep praying for them.

    Still enjoying your blog from Thailand!

  3. We do a similar thing - we have a jar that we take a name out of each morning and pray for that person. The kids love it.

  4. I love the idea of drawing names to pray for. The kids' prayers (like mine, I suppose) can get 'in a rut' and a bit mechanical. We'll be making a bowlful of slips today!

  5. STacy,
    What a great idea. We do that during the Christmas season (ok, til March!!) with the Christmas card drawing and prayer during dinner. I love your ideas. I think I'll steal them!!! ha.

  6. You inspire me to be more intentional. What an incredible mentor mom you're going to be to all the moms who come after you in your life.

  7. I'm inspired as well. I love the frustration with a child saying 'but I just prayed for them!' That's real not fully getting it, but MOMMY stepping in and explaining God's guidance of all things....even little paper drawings.

  8. I love this idea... I think we'll rob (I mean borrow) this idea.
    Blessings, Annie

  9. Now that is a wonderful idea! I love it.

  10. Hi Stacy :) Agreeing with the others - thanks for a great idea!

    We're beginning summer school on Monday, and I think we'll make our slips as a part of our celebration. Love, Q

  11. Hey Stacy. We had the same problem, only Joshua always wanted to TELL US whose day it was to pray, and we liked to take turns, but of course, we all (meaning him vs. us) had different recollections of who had recently prayed. So one day during one of these "discussions" over whose turn it was to pray, I spontaneously grabbed a small rock that Joshua had brought into the house and declared "This is the Prayer Rock! Whoever has this rock is whose turn it is to pray. We will rotate it at every meal." And it has totally solved that problem! Yay! Only now of course, JUST a Prayer Rock won't do. No, now we also have a Prayer Frog (plastic of course) and a Prayer Person (a little figure) who travel with the Prayer Rock. And they all MUST be together, of course. :)

    I am totally going to start having prayer needs/people to draw out of a bowl! I love that idea and I know Joshua will too! Thanks for sharing your always awesome ideas, Stacy. :)

    Good to talk to you today.

  12. Those are great ideas, Stacy!

  13. Thanks for sharing these ideas! I like the slips of paper one a lot.

  14. Brilliant, brilliant idea - I think that would work great round our family meal table, thanks for sharing!


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