Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lenten Prayers Week 4

I try not to do this often, but today I'm posting an idea for a way to pray together as a family during Lent that might not actually work for those of you with really young kids.  I still think it is a great idea though, and who doesn't need a little time and space to "get away", slow down a bit, and be reminded of God's love and the promise of a fresh start?

I can think of many times when I could use that sort of space, and even though she's not yet four, I think Esme could benefit from that too.  After all, no one is too young or too old for forgiveness or a do-over.  Calling it the "fresh-start place" gives kids a practical name for it and is a tangible way for them learn how to transition away from snarly behavior and start again.

I found this idea on Anne Voscamp's website: A Holy Experience.  You can find her full explanation, some pictures, and a printable here.  As always, this is just an idea.  Feel free to take it or leave it, or to tailor it for your family.

To set up your family's "fresh start place", designate a corner or area for this purpose.  Put some comfy pillows on the floor or a chair to sit in.  If your kids are at an age to handle it, place a bowl of flour in the area.  You might also put a candle, Bible, or other object near the bowl.

Print out the following "instructions" if desired.  Either way, explain to your family what this place is all about.  Then, the next time someone in your household is having a day that seems to have come out of "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day", invite them to go to the "fresh start place" to calm their body and start again.

Here is the outline that Ann wrote out for her family to guide them in their "fresh start place."  Like I said, this part of the idea is really practical for those with young kids, but for any other age group, it could be very powerful. 

FORGIVENESS: fresh starts

Jesus took the nail for your sins. He had to find a way to forgive you.
He couldn't live broken away from you.

Right now you hurt. Jesus can give you His strength to forgive. Do you want to find a way to forgive? You too can't live with the brokenness. Remember how God has forgiven you?
  1. Lay your finger in the dust and write a word or draw a picture of two ways God has forgiven you.
  2. Bow your head and thank God for graciously forgiving you.
  3. Pass your hand through the dust, erasing the sins and know that God completely forgives you.
  4. Is there someone God is calling you right now to forgive? Write or draw it in the dust.
  5. Ask God for His love to forgive the same love that has forgiven you.
    Smooth out the dust and the memory of the sin. How do you feel now with God’s forgiveness working in and through you?
  6. Write or draw that feeling in the dust, a gift for the next person who comes behind.
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