Thursday, March 24, 2016

Our Family's Prayer Box

Our evening routine has gotten to be one of my favorite times of day. Not because it means it's almost bed time, but because of all the pieces that come together and how much the kids enjoy it. We've been working on and tweaking this routine for quite some time and I think we've gotten it down pretty well. The kids know what to expect and are actually disappointed if any part of this routine doesn't happen as planned.

My aim is to have dinner on the table at 6 each night. It doesn't always work that way, but it's a good goal to aim for. My children are slow eaters and most of the time that's okay. They like to talk a lot during dinner too. Some nights I have to hurry them along and some nights, I just let it go.

They know however, that at 7, the focus changes. If they aren't finished eating by 7, they won't get a piece of candy after dinner. That's usually enough incentive to get them moving! Seven is when they need to start getting ready for bed. This means getting on pajamas, baths or showers, washing faces, brushing teeth and combing hair. It also means getting backpacks and lunches ready for the next day, if we didn't already do that earlier.

Once they've got their evening responsibilities taken care of, they are free to play, read, or color until 7:45. They are also allowed some screen time if they've had a good day. The boys have a game called Dragon City they like to play and like good little dragon daddies, they need to check on things before they go to bed!

At 7:45 my phone alarm goes off and everyone knows to head to my room. We all climb up in the bed and get comfy and it's time for reading. We just started Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Frances has read the books before (as have I) but this is the first go 'round for the boys. They love it!! Henry makes the best predictions based on what's going on. Then Benjamin makes funny predictions based on things we've already read. For example, one night at the end of Prisoner of Azkaban, Benjamin sat up suddenly and said, "MOMMY! I think I know who sent Harry that broom! It was Sirius!!" Then we all try not to laugh, because we already read that part!

At 8ish, I have to find a good stopping place and we then finish the night with our prayers. The kids take turns leading prayers, both at dinner and at bedtime. For bedtime, we have a prayer box. In this box are lots of prayer cards, pamphlets, encouragement cards, a list of prayer requests, and our deck of Happy Saints cards.  Each night, the prayer leader picks out a few items to read and adds in a few other prayers from his or her heart. After prayers, I use our lavender oil to give each kid a back rub before bed.

I initially started out drawing pictures on their backs with the oil. Then I realized I was praying for each child individually, so I started writing out my prayers. Most nights it's just a word, usually one of the gifts of the spirit. I write it out, and rub it in as I pray that word over my child. One of them needs self-control, one of them needs patience and kindness, and one of them has been alternating between peace and joy.

Once they started recognizing that I was writing words on them, I confessed my intent and now they try to guess which word I've written each night. They also know they can keep it private if they want to. The lavender helps them sleep and the prayers help them grow. Then I can send them off to dreamland with a kiss and a tucked blanket.

As we enter this Easter season, are there any prayer requests from you that I can add to our box? You can leave them in the comments or email them to me privately. I hope you have a blessed Easter season!

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