In a culture of selfies and social media posts, others-centeredness takes great intention and practice.
When our children were younger, we had a more consistent family prayer routine. During this time, we intended to pray for others, but we often spent our entire bedtime routine praying only for ourselves.
To remedy this, we solicited input from our kids about their friends’ needs, which met with mixed results. But then, when I witnessed a friend’s way of addressing her family’s amnesia of others, a lightbulb blinked on. Using her model, we began writing names on a dry erase board, and prayed for everyone on the board and their intentions. Problem solved.
Writing names in black and white not only served as a reminder of others, it also showed us how many more needed our prayers than those that first came to mind. Then, another problem arose. We ran out of space on the whiteboard.
So we got a larger surface—a bulletin board—and used Post-it notes to attach names of friends, family, church members, and their intentions. “Higher priority” intentions rose to the top of the board while ‘lower priority’ intentions moved down. Our children, in charge of arranging and rearranging names and prayers, took great interest and ownership of “their” list. We lovingly named our bulletin board the Prayer Wall.
When Grandmom saw our bulletin board, she “oohed” and “ahhhed,” then made her own version in her house. Instead of a board, she commandeered an entire wall with a chalk-able surface. She added her own touches with pictures and notes to go with prayers.
While our Prayer Wall came down during a teen redecorating project, Grandmom’s wall is still up and active. When we visit her, we admire its grand scale while she reminds us that its inspiration came from humbler beginnings. It reinforces our small and ongoing efforts against amnesia of others and the power of sharing our prayer routine with visitors.
What creative prayer routines have influenced your time with God?
FB Smit is the author of two bi-lingual picture books, a blog writer, and a teacher. With Mary, Joseph, and the company of the saints, she pursues His designs with the sleuth of Nancy Drew. Read more thoughts on faith and connect with her here.