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Scriptures For Those Dealing With Grief and Bereavement
Prayer boxes can be life changing. Any scrap of paper will do, anywhere, any time of the day or night. Put them in the box and… Let. Prayer boxes have a long-standing tradition, both among early Christians and among Jewish families. Jews and early Christians often wore small leather or carved bone boxes on the body. These phylacteries or tefillin were a means of keeping scripture close to the wearer. Large boxes, called mezusah cases are still affixed to the doorposts of Jewish homes today. I hope the information below will help you start off on your prayer boxing journey. Want to increase family unity and communication? Having trouble talking to your kids about difficult subjects? Wondering if there are things they are worried about, but not talking about? Want to create an environment of teamwork, support, and prayer in your house? Get the family together to build a family prayer box. Keep your box in an accessible place, with slips of paper nearby. Decide how, when, and whether prayers will be shared out loud, and how often. At the dinner table? In the last few minutes before bed? During a few quiet minutes reserved amid the morning rush? Even in the car on the way to school. Even unspoken requests can be prayed for. They know and God knows. Sometimes, just realizing that a family member is struggling is enough to build empathy and unity. Ever feel that your family is suffering from that thoroughly modern disease, the wantsies? Ever feel like entitlement is stealing the joy of the ordinary things? Create a blessings box for your house. Ask each person to commit three gratitudes per day to the blessings box. Either share these regularly, or open your box at the end of the week, month, or year and count your blessings. Sometimes just hearing the things others count as blessings can make family members appreciate each other more and can be a great way of affirming the positive traits and talents of each person in the family. Going through a difficult transition within your family? The step from middle school to high school, or high school to college? Pray for all aspects of the transition and all who are involved. The Holiday Advent Box. As a meaningful twist to the advent calendar, create a prayer box as a family time capsule during the holidays. Have family members recount struggles and joys of the past year, and include prayers for the next year. Pack the box away with the Christmas decorations. Talk about which prayers were answered and which might have been answered in unexpected ways. Think about which prayers should be continued during the next year. Are old hurts festering beneath the surface within your family? Why not use a prayer box as a place for giving those feelings over to God and letting them go? Put a slot in the lid, and glue, tape, or seal it securely so that family members will feel safe in writing down their feelings. Plan to turn these negative feelings into ashes at a time when all of you can pray together and watch the issues go up in smoke. Encourage family members to realize that love can be a fire more potent than hate and selfishness. As you watch the fire, talk about the issues discussed in the box, the attitudes that need to change, the effects of careless words or selfish behaviors. Ask each family member to pray for forgiveness for poor choices of the past and a changed heart toward the future. Take a poll on whether the issues are resolved or whether a new box should be started. Is the family struggling with sibling rivalry and competition and putdowns? Create an affirmations box, specifically for thanking God for the people in our lives, just as they are. Each family member should write one for every other family member. Take turns sorting these each week and tucking them into backpacks, briefcases, sneakers, or lunch boxes. If you notice one child having difficulty affirming someone specific in the family, take time to talk and pray together about the issue. Have someone in the family graduating, or know someone who is? Consider creating a graduation box, or a pair of them, early in the year. Jot down your memories, worries, thoughts, and prayers throughout that all-important senior year. Give your graduate the box as a graduation present and encourage the graduate to develop a prayer box habit. What a gift to know that you have been, and will continue to be, actively praying for that fledgling adult as he or she leaves the nest. Why not start another box for that first year of college, or on-the-job life? The Storm Shelter Box. Is someone in the family struggling through a difficult event, or the after effects of one? Why not create a private prayer box where just the two of you can share and pray together? If the prayer box is to be kept private, between the two of you, be sure to respect that confidence and not share details with anyone else without permission. The Traveling Prayer Box. Having trouble staying close to family members across the miles? Wishing you could be more connected to other families in your church? Create a traveling prayer box that is kept by each family one week at a time, then given or mailed to the next family. Unpack the prayer requests when you receive the box, commit to praying for needs, and add prayer needs of your own while the box is in your possession. Families can pray privately and individually and also take turns praying aloud for the requests at the dinner table or family meetings. Using Prayer Boxes as Gifts Going to a wedding shower? How about providing a beautiful box as a prayer box for the young couple? Guests can include notes and prayers for the bride and groom, sharing encouragement, advice, and favorite scriptures. Forming a new household and family can be filled with financial and emotional challenges. Teaching a young couple to contemplatively pray together and to actively seek to remember the things they love about each other will help them though these life-changing hurdles. A gift similar to the shower box, but for use at the wedding. The couple can include prayer cards in wedding invitations, or put them by the guestbook, or by the box, or at each place if a meal is served. Ask guests to share a special prayer or word of advice for the couple and put it in the wedding prayer box. Want to have one of the most unique gifts at the next baby shower you attend? Decorate with photos of Mom and Dad, sonogram pictures, photos of nursery selections, even historic pictures of family members HINT: Make or bring some cards or stationary and encourage attendees at the shower to jot down a prayer for the baby. Explain the use of the prayer box to Mom and encourage her and Dad to document prayers for the baby before birth and during that all-important first year. Seal and save the box to be given when the baby is all grown up, at graduation or as a wedding gift. What a treasure to unearth that time capsule and share the hopes and prayers that were held from before birth and during that first year. Best Friends Traveling Box. Best friend moving away? For a birthday or anytime create a traveling prayer box to send back and forth between the two of you. Include ongoing prayers for your friend and your own prayer needs. This is also a wonderful way for grandparents, godparents, or divorced parents to be there for bedtime prayers with a younger child. What better gift than to let that child know you are actively praying for his or her future? Around the World Box. Looking for a way to create world citizens in your home or in your Sunday school class? Consider building an Around the World box and keeping it on your table. Each week, choose a different country. Study the culture and the challenges faced by people there. Identify missionaries or missions at work in that country. Each day as you gather at the table, talk about the needs and difficulties of the people there, and how their lives differ from yours. Write down specific prayers and commit them to your Around The World Box. Employing Prayer Boxes In Ministry The Way We Were Box. Working with older high schoolers who may be butting heads with their parents? Are those parents grieving the life transition as a member of their brood leaves the nest?
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