"I'll Pray for You"

How often do we tell a friend that we will pray for them and then it slips our minds?  Do you, like me,  find yourself, in the midst of a task, when a friend comes to mind and you feel terrible that you haven’t remembered to pray for her during a time of suffering?

We’ve hit upon something that is helping us remember to pray for the ones we love.  As dinner winds down each evening, Russ gets the Bible from the shelf along with our prayer journal. He reads a short passage and then asks questions of the kids (we’re currently reading Esther – Honeybee’s pick), then we open our journal to the page for that day of the month, pull the photos out, pass them around, and pray for our friends.

A couple of years ago I got an email from a friend in Texas who mentioned that they pray for our family on the 24th of each month. I was very touched. She mentioned a journal, so I asked her about it and she explained that they place Christmas photos in a journal with 31 pages, and each night, they pray for the friends corresponding to the date.

I thought this was brilliant, so I went out, bought a nice scrapbook, and began placing photos on pages. It took time, too much time, and the book was large and cumbersome. We never really used it. Then last summer when Russ and I went to TBRI training at TCU with Karyn Purvis and other great folks, we stayed with our lovely Texas friends. Following dinner, they got out the journal, and I saw that it was a simple, open top, scrapbook with photos simply dropped down into the pages. They pulled out the photos and passed them around the table talking about the friends and reminding the children what their needs were.  The page for our family’s day had our Christmas pictures from the past two years, so there were multiple pictures to share.

This was much simpler than what I had attempted, so I returned from Texas and bought a smaller book with open-top pages. This year, in December, when I took our family and friends’ 2010 Christmas photos off the bulletin board, I put them into the book. Most pages have at least two families on them and I expect over time, there may be more. I grouped people together in ways that made sense to the children – Russ’ siblings and parents on two pages, mine on another, cousins, our pastors, missionaries and other friends in ministry. We currently have friends whose 13 year-old son is going through cancer treatment, so I plan to print a photo of them and use it as a bookmark in order to prompt us to pray for Thomas daily. There is plenty of room to tuck in a note, or a Christmas letter (especially if we don’t know the names of everyone in the family and want to pray for them by name).

Why is it so important for us to pray for our friends? The Bible tells us that we are to be “rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer.” Romans 12:12  God clearly tells us to pray.  The needs in this world are great.  Our friends may be suffering, they may be in need of Jesus, and although we may not even know their specific situation, our prayers are heard and the Lord, in His good kindness, answers.

I cannot tell you how much happiness this has brought to our family prayer time. It may not seem like much to pray for our friends and extended family once a month, but let’s be honest, with the exception of friends in crisis, it’s more than we were praying for them. Our children are learning about the ministry of prayer, their bonds to faraway family and friends are strengthened, and our prayer time has greater purpose.

This is such a simple way to teach our children to love God’s Word and prayer, and to create daily habits. Do we miss it sometimes? Absolutely. Every week we miss doing this at least once if not more. Last night I fed the kids at the kitchen island while the older boys went in and out on their way to various events. But tonight, we’ll pray for the people on the 8th and the 9th, and I’m already looking forward to seeing who it will be.

# 811 – 820 giving thanks

knowing our prayers are heard by a loving Father

the gift of a simple way to remember our friends with fondness and care

spring break beginning today

a day to clear the surfaces and clean

celebrating Samuel’s 19th birthday tonight

Thai pizza for dinner

chatting on Facebook with Sweet Pea yesterday

our niece and her friend arriving from Seattle tonight

good advice from a wise person yesterday

an invitation to speak to women

Lisa

 

 

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

34 Comments

  1. Maria
    March 9, 2012

    What a GREAT idea!!
    I also think that is a great looking family on the left =)
    Blessings!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 9, 2012

      Hi Maria! I'm glad you like the idea, and I agree about the family.

      Reply
  2. Erin
    March 9, 2012

    This past week I learned about a website called Echo Prayer Manager (www.echoprayer.com). It's free, and you can insert prayer requests to be e-mailed or texted to your phone on a weekly schedule. I'm definitely praying more than ever! Thanks for sharing this idea, too.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 10, 2012

      Erin, that is really interesting – thanks for sharing it. I'm continually amazed at the great techy things that are available.

      Reply
  3. Blessed
    March 9, 2012

    A friend of mine had something similar–she had a wall in the upstairs hallway of her house with a big beautiful collage of photos. It was not all framed and decor-ish, just photos, but this friend did have an eye for arranging, so even though the photos were just stuck on the wall (I don’t remember how they were affixed), it was really attractive. But her wall served the same purpose as your book. I liked the idea because you would remember people as you passed them by multiple time throughout the day–perfect for people with urgent prayer needs.

    Either way of doing it could morph into a beautiful, ongoing homeschool project, as we cut out pics of places where there is war, or famine, where children are suffering, countries in which Christians face persecution, etc.

    Currently I have two strategies for praying for people. One, I learned that if anyone comes to my mind during the day, to stop and pray for them right then and there. I might think my mind is wandering, but God may be trying to get my attention. There were at least two times last year when my thoughts kept “wandering” to someone, and later I found out they really needed prayer. Lesson learned!

    And then if I ever have trouble going to sleep at night, I start praying. A friend told me she does this, and it works! She figured if she could not sleep, it must be because God wanted her to pray for someone. So she would start praying for people while lying in bed, and said when she fell asleep she must have prayed for the people she was supposed to. ; )

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 9, 2012

      Thank you for the great comment. I love the wall collage idea.

      Reply
    2. Barb G
      March 9, 2012

      Blessed, I do the same thing. Praying for my loved ones always lulls me to sleep. Another thing I'm learning to do is not to say, "I will pray" but to ask if they have a moment so I can pray for them right then. Afterwards, I take a moment to put them in a small journal book I have. LOVE the photo idea. Thanks to both of you for sharing!

      Reply
      1. Lisa Qualls
        March 9, 2012

        I'm a terrible journal writer, but I love the idea! Thanks, Barb.

        Reply
  4. kim
    March 9, 2012

    Great idea! I like that! My husband is a pastor with a very short memory sometimes. So, when people ask him to pray for them, he says, "Can I pray for you right now?" And then he does! It is so meaningful for most people to hear the person praying for them.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 9, 2012

      Kim, that is a great idea – I often try to stop and pray in the moment, too, but probably not as often with the person present. I think I'll try it.

      Reply
  5. Sleepyknitter
    March 9, 2012

    Love this idea! What a great way to encourage kids to pray! This morning our four-year-old asked (with no prompting whatsoever) if we could pray for her oldest sister who just joined our family four months ago and does not yet know God. We were dumb-founded at her request and embarrassed that we have not placed a greater emphasis on praying in this way with our children. I have no idea what prompted our little girl to ask for that. It's not that we don't pray with our kids. We do! Every single day! But we don't ask them about their prayer requests or talk ahead of time about what we're going to pray for. Time to change, apparently! I need to proactively find a way to encourage our children to pray, and this idea that you've presented is a GREAT one.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 9, 2012

      The good news is that, as parents, we just get to keep learning and growing along with our kids. How sweet that your little one asked to pray. Lovely.

      Reply
  6. Alyssa
    March 9, 2012

    When I was a kid we had Monday night– missionaries, Tuesday night–Daddy's relatives, Friday night–friends far away, etc.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 9, 2012

      Very nice and simple. Great suggestion, Alyssa.

      Reply
  7. Abbey
    March 9, 2012

    Wow! That family on the left is sure a great looking family! 🙂 So humbled and thankful to be in your prayer book. I'm motivated to make one too. I think it would also be good to keep a list of specific situations on a piece of paper somewhere in the book, maybe for a breakfast-time or other minutes of time. I'm thinking of a family in our church right now that is in desperate need of prayer, having just lost their two-week old baby. We are close enough to care deeply, but don't have a photo to remind us.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 9, 2012

      Abbey, I am so sorry for your friends great loss. Yes, it was a joy to pray for your family in February and you'll come around again in March!

      Reply
  8. Laura
    March 9, 2012

    I love your idea and find it a very "God Thing" that you were praying for our family on the 3rd and specifically for Drew to find a job and he was in the midst of making a great contact and setting up a lunch date with the boss! Hopefully it will turn into something through God's grace and all our prayers. Have a great weekend and wish Samuel a happy Birthday.

    PS Madeleine is thrilled to be coming over with her friend….they are on the road!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 9, 2012

      Laura, I loved it when you told me about the timing of our prayers. We're already enjoying a houseful of college kids and look forward to Madeleine and her friend arriving in a bit.

      Reply
  9. Hannah Tucker
    March 9, 2012

    Thank you so, so much! I've been bothered with this for so long – I constantly forget something I need to pray for until someone's condition worsens, and then of course I regret my forgetfulness. This is a wonderful idea!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 9, 2012

      I'm glad you like it, Hannah.

      Reply
  10. Mary Andrews
    March 9, 2012

    Dear Lisa, when I was young Grammie taught me the same thing about praying for others – if they crossed your mind pray for them right then and if you woke up in the night someone needed prayers right then. Guess I have always been private about prayer and never passed those lessons on to my girls. Mom

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 9, 2012

      Mom, you passed them on! I pray for people during the night all the time, and I know you have prayed for us a ton in the wee hours.

      Reply
  11. Beth
    March 9, 2012

    What a wonderful idea! This will definitely be motivation to send out a Christmas letter/photo next year- 😉

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 9, 2012

      Beth, please get me a photo for our album. We would love to pray for you.

      Reply
  12. Christy
    March 10, 2012

    Thanks for sharing Lisa! What a wonderful idea.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 10, 2012

      I'm glad you like it, Christy!

      Reply
  13. Dawn
    March 11, 2012

    Thank you so much for sharing this idea. I"m not very creative and wouldn't have thought of that on my own. Love this!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 11, 2012

      Dawn, I'm so glad you like it. I love how simple it is.

      Reply
  14. 9to20
    March 11, 2012

    LOVE this Lisa!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!! 🙂 Now… I just need to get my printer working and make it happen… 😉

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 12, 2012

      I'm glad you like it! I need a picture of our close mutual friends for my notebook, so if you print one, will you send one to me?

      Reply
  15. Cindy
    March 12, 2012

    love it love it 🙂 This is so good for kids to enjoy praying with. Visual is such a big aspect to the creative spirit. Thanks Lisa.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 12, 2012

      You are very welcome, Cindy. Thanks for the comment!

      Reply
  16. Tom Vanderwell
    March 13, 2012

    Lisa – good idea – and if you wanted to use it for your personal prayer life (not necessarily for the family devotions) there is an app for that! I found it and have used it for a couple of days already. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pocket-prayer-pro-

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 13, 2012

      Thanks, Tom!

      Reply

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