I gave my students an assignment to write a story for a blog that they liked. They could actually submit their story to the blog if they so desired. I wrote along with them and submitted the following to a blog that I like. Unfortunately, they were not accepting any guest posts so I wanted to share the blog post here.
Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deut. 6: 4-9
About five years ago I was challenged in a prayer group to start writing my prayers in a notebook. At first it was one word lists and I was very self-conscious about the entire process. Those first years I “prayed” on paper and then put the bible and notebook in a drawer or out of sight. I was slightly embarrassed to be writing prayers. Now, I keep it stashed on the kitchen bar so that I can work on it throughout the day.
I find that my prayer notebook has grown from a simple list to a journal, cataloguing my deepest fears for my family, my worries, my wishes, and my thanks. Not only has it helped me, but increasingly it has influenced our children’s lives.
- My Prayer Notebook sets the example. When the kids see me writing in my notebook they know I am praying for someone or working on my bible study. I suppose a little notebooks counts as “writing on the doorposts.” The kids certainly know what the notebook is for.
- My Prayer Notebook gives me an avenue to share my faith with my children. Often the kids see me writing in my notebook or they see it on the table. They wander by and inquire if I am praying for them that day. Sometimes I say, “Yes” and keep writing. Other times I stop and show them the prayer that I wrote on their behalf. The encounter is usually only a few seconds but I like to think that I am helping them define just how important prayer is in their lives.
- My Prayer Notebook helps keep them grounded. Over the years I have run out of notebooks and had to borrow from the kids’ school stash or sent a teen to the store to buy me a new notebook. They know and understand that my life is grounded in prayer. Theirs may not be yet, but mine is and they leave the house each day knowing that they are being prayed over.
- My Prayer Notebook creates a connection to their lives. Nothing pleases me more than when one of my children calls me and asks me to pray for a friend of theirs or for a situation in their lives. We end up having a conversation about the situation and that keeps us connected. One time one of our sons called me up and said, “Quick mom, say a prayer for me.” And he hung up the phone. Later his older sister told me that he was going in to ask a girl for a date! We laughed but it gladdened my heart to know that he was willing to ask for a prayer.
- My Prayer Notebook creates a connection to the spiritual world. Each child knows I pray for their physical well-being but they also know I pray for their spiritual well-being. I often pray for them to have courage to face the challenges of the day. I pray for their self-esteem. I pray for emotional healing. I pray that the Spirit surrounds them in times of trouble. I told one that I prayed for courage for him every day. He asked why and I told him that it takes more courage to do what is right than it does to go along with the crowd. We talked about how difficult that can be and we talked about how easy it is to say a little prayer before a situation.
- My Prayer Notebook lets them know that I am broken. Of all people on earth, children know how broken their parents really are. In the Jr. High years they are able to identify our faults with pin point accuracy. As their life journey takes them away from home they begin to understand just how difficult it is to journey without the strength of the Savior. They know that I can’t do it on my own and that it is OK if they can’t either. They know where to turn for help.
While my children do not write in notebooks of their own, they frequently contribute to the lists in my notebook and have become more open to conversations about spirituality and the need for prayer. And who knows, maybe, someday, they will pick up a little spiral along the way and begin their own prayer notebook.