Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Calming the Child

Sometimes God calms the storm, and sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child

A framed version of this hung on a wall in my childhood home and I always loved it. A recurring concern of mine lately has been what I feel is a lack of peace in my home. My husband and I have discussed it several times. He feels it too but not quite as strongly as I do. We have come up with several things to try that might help the household to feel more peaceful and for everyone in it to be happier overall. But, the strong message I've been getting the past few days is that if I am in tune with God, He will give me peace no matter what is happening around me. So obviously I'm not in tune with God. Today, in an effort to rectify this, I spent some time with one of my favorite devotional books - God Calling. This is a great book to use for quiet time. I am always amazed at how perfectly the entries fit whatever I am going through. As I was reading today's entry the verse Matthew 18:20
"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them"
popped into my head. I started thinking - so if you're alone God isn't present? What's that all about? I know that is not true but it's what I was thinking - I'm weird. Anyway, all of a sudden I realized that it doesn't matter because when you are a part of a family, you are hardly ever alone. And then I realized that my family has a special opportunity to always have God present with us as long as we are gathered in His name. And then it hit me that not only do I need to be in tune with God to have peace, but my family needs it too. We need to gather in His name through prayer as a family so that He is present with us and can bring us peace. He will calm each child in our family - even if the storm rages on.

We have prayer time every night before bed but a lot of times it happens while they are still running around getting their dolls or just trying to avoid going to bed. Most of the time I am exhausted and just want to get them down so I can work on getting the baby down and subsequently myself! I am guilty of rushing through the prayers and doing them while there is other chaos going on even if no one is paying attention. I'm horrible at remembering prayer before meals. And a morning prayer would probably do WONDERS for our day.

So I'm going to make this a Lent activity. I'm going to try for:

*a morning offering - I found this cute one for children on Two Hearts Design (the cute clipart is from there as well and they do beautiful design work!):
Good morning, dear Jesus, this day is for you. I offer you all that I think, say, and do. Amen.
*prayer before meals - God is Great or Bless Us O Lord

*bedtime prayer - Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep and then we say:
"Dear Jesus, please help everyone and thank you for everything"
*And then once a week, I'd like to get the girls together to do at least a decade of the rosary.

I think that sounds doable!

Feel free to share what you're family does in the way of family prayer!


veronica said...

Hi Stevie! We do a family prayer each evening. Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be. Than we do a shared prayer. Each of us takes turns to pray, minimum that the kids do during shared prayer is pray for each other and for the godparents.
Hubbie also blesses each one of us by drawing a cross on our forheads and saying a small prayer before he heads off for work.
I pray the Angel of God with the kiddos in the car each day on the way to school.
The kids put up such a fuss if we forget our meal prayers. Than the each have to say a prayer... our meal is usually blessed three times before we even take a bite!!!
Routine, routine, routine!!

nicole said...

We are most consistent with meal prayers and bedtime prayers. We have the kids say one thing they are sorry for (usually a generic "not listening") and some things they are thankful for. Then we say some recited prayers and go to sleep. We keep meaning to add a decade of the Rosary in, but we have not done it.

One thing I do that I think really does promote peace in our household is listen to a lot of Christian music. Especially in the evening, when I am cooking dinner and we are waiting for Daddy to come home. I turn on my Praise and Worship playlist on the iPod and get moving. Sometimes the kids have some things to clean up, sometimes they are coloring or playing. It really helps set a peaceful tone in the home though. And there is nothing sweeter than hearing your child singing something like "Blessed be the Name." I'd be happy to email you some of my favorite music if you want me to. None of it is sung by kids, it is all regular music, so adults enjoy it too. :)

Stevie said...

Veronica - You are so right about routine! That is the key. And that is what I'm HORRIBLE at! For example, I'm terrible at novenas. I start out strong for a day or two and then forget! I'm trying though! I love that your hubbie blesses the whole family before leaving! What a neat idea.

Nicole - we love Christian music around here too. I know what you mean about hearing them sing it. We have a CD with a song that says, "I have decided, to follow Jesus". When I hear them sing this, I just well up! We also sing Amazing Grace every night and when they sing the verse, "a wretch like me" I crack up thinking of my sweet little angels being wretches!