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!