We’ve been looking for interesting and natural feeling ways of praying together as a family for some time. Some of the more ‘staged’ ways of praying in creative manners that I’ve used in small groups – from the high tech video meditations to the low tech throw a dice type prayers just dont seem right for a family situation.
So a while ago we settled on an idea which we thought would work. We gathered a load of small smooth stones – the little grey ones you find on beaches are ideal. I think we’ve got about twenty altogether.
On the stones, in black marker pen, we’ve written names, places, and issues which were volunteered as important by different members of the family. Involving the children at the first stage – collecting the pebbles was important in terms of giving them a feeling of ownership of this. In the same way they had an equal say in what should be written on the stones, and of course their names were put on stones too.
The idea is that at a convenient time we each take a stone, and one after the other, pray for the person/place/theme on the stone. We struggled to find the ideal time for a while, and the stones sat to one side for quite some time. But now we’re in a rhythm which seems to work, using the prayer stones after each evening meal, before ‘bath time’.
I share this here because I know how hard it can be to find good ways to pray together without it becoming stale for all concerned. I hate the idea of forcing an external religion on my kids too, so this way is a good opportunity to open it up to them too.
My children are five and seven, I know this wont work with them forever, but right now its seems ideal, and it certainly ellicits some very beautiful prayers.
A nice bowl is an important touch by the way!