The way to my children’s hearts is through their tummies. They love food. They love thinking about food. They love knowing what’s for dinner before breakfast is over. And they loved every delectable bite of the Ritz crackers and string cheese I served them for snack this afternoon.
With that in mind, I decided that if we were to successfully pass on the value and practice of prayer and praise, then a good food analogy was in order.
Before we begin our family prayer time, we start out with “popcorn praise”. It took some explaining as Jackson kept expecting a bowl of popcorn to accompany his words of praise for the first several nights, but he eventually figured it out. ”Popcorn praise” is a time when we offer random words of thanksgiving and praise to God. There is no order. If you have something you want to say to God, then go ahead and say it. Be spontaneous. Let it pop right out of your mouth like a kernel of popcorn in the popper.
“Enter his gates with THANKSGIVING and his courts with PRAISE; give THANKS to him and PRAISE his name!” Psalm 100:4.
After we spend a little time thanking God and praising Him, we have our “popsicle prayer” time. A girlfriend of mine found this great idea on Pinterest, and she got me started with a bundle of wide craft sticks (”popsicle” sticks). Everybody has someone or something new to pray for each night. It is a pretty ingenius idea, and we have found it to be a great way to get the kids involved in- and take ownership of- our family prayer time.
Just to be clear: prayer time in our home is sometimes loud, sometimes long, sometimes short, and sometimes crazy. Yet even while we are somewhat rough around the edges when it comes to prayer etiquette (ie: not interrupting your sister while she is thanking Jesus for you!), I feel immensely joyful having this special and quality prayer time with my kids, as well as confident that we are teaching them the value and practice of praise and prayer.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12.