Praying for the World Around Our Dinner Table

The Lord has been doing a stirring in my heart about the importance of prayer. It is a discipline that is easily slipped under the table. I want to be intentional about teaching my children how to pray. I want them to grow up with a heart and love for others. I want them to be aware of the great battle for the gospel that is taking place outside our doorstep. I want them to care for the lost. How can this be done?

I stumbled upon an idea on Pinterest a few months back about putting together a prayer pail. It has been the best thing we have found to help cultivate a heart and love for prayer in our family.

Basically, you take large craft sticks (the wider popsicle sticks), and write the names of individuals, countries, ministries, neighbors, and whoever or whatever the Lord might lay on your heart to begin praying for on a regular basis. We decorated a cute mug and labeled it with stickers as our “prayer pail.”

Some of the people we have included:

Grandparents, Relatives
Leadership in our church
Our City
Our President
Our neighborhood
Sick friends or family
Members in our community group
Our sponsored children
Non-Christian friends we are seeking to show the love of Christ to
Other charity organizations we give to: Pregnancy Resource Center, Orphan home in India, Wycliffe Bible Translators, etc
Persecuted Church around the World
Human Trafficking
Ministries in our church

Then, every night around the dinner table, each family member takes a craft stick and prays for the listed person/ministry. For our littlest members, my husband and I will pray and have our child repeat after us, so that they can grow in understanding how to pray. Both our children absolutely love this routine. Every night they will faithfully remind us to pick a stick! And without doubt, they are eager to pray. It is the sweetest thing. We have no excuse. It helps keep us accountable and faithful in praying for the needs of others around us. Our eyes are being opened to see that there is greater needs beyond our own. And as we seek God’s face together, I am confident that God is going to do mighty things! There is power in prayer.

The prayer of a righteous man avails much!

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

29 Responses to Praying for the World Around Our Dinner Table

  1. Lois from Rhubarb Central March 14, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    This is such a great idea! I will definitely pass this link on to our children/grandchildren.

    It is a better idea than simply writing prayer requests on paper, and prayer requests can be added any time of the day. Also, when a particular prayer request has been answered, these could be kept in a different container, and it is encouraging to go back from time to time, and see God’s faithfulness in answering EVERY prayer (even if it is not answered exactly the way that WE wanted it answered)! That too is a good learning experience.
    Great blog btw!

  2. Heidi March 13, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    We are putting together a prayer jar today, I just love this idea. I myself have been feeling the Lord move in my heart to encourage intentional prayer in my family. When I saw this post, it was very encouraging. A great way to help my kid learn about prayer. Thank the Lord!

  3. Sabina March 12, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    I noticed someone else mentioned this being a great idea for Christian parents, but honestly it’s a wonderful idea for homes of all different faiths. I myself do not belong to any of the Abrahamic religions, but a prayer pail or even a “thankful” pail of things we’re thankful for is a great addition to any household. I look forward to making one for my home!

  4. Nichole Contente March 12, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    We do something similar. We use an oversized Mason jar with folded pieces of paper with our request on it. Each night after dinner and our devotional, each of us pull out a piece of paper and pray for that person or need, then put it in another jar. Once the Jar is empty, we put the others back in and start over again. We also had names and concerns to the jar on a regular basis.
    We keep our “Prayer Jar” as the center piece on our table, it opens up conversations with family members and guests about how we are praying for others and we use those conversations as encouragement to them to pray.

  5. St Moores March 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    Definitely going to give this a go asap, thanks!

  6. Lacey Wilcox March 11, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    Ok I just had an idea to tweak this amazing idea: one of the things I am wanting to teach my daughter (and myself) is the importance of the different aspects of prayer. While praying for the needs of others and ourselves is HUGE because it points our eyes to the supreme power, faithfulness, and glory of the Father, I also want to emphasize the importance of recounting God’s faithfulness, and taking joy in who He is and how He has revealed Himself to us. What if you had two jars: one with popsicle sticks of things to pray for, and one with things to praise for. I think we would be amazed by the things our kids could see as gifts of grace from the Lord.

  7. Andrea March 10, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    Great thing – I teach a Sunday School kids class – you gave me an idea!

  8. Mary March 9, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    What a wonderful idea :) I’m going to the store tomorrow to get some craft sticks!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

  9. Rebekah March 9, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    Yes, I agree. Glad that you are intentional in implementing prayer in your family and teaching your children to pray for specific needs. This should be encouraged in many families. Prayer is essential to our Christian walk. I like the popsicle sticks idea. My little sisters (5 & 10) also pray with our family. Later on, making their own categorized prayer lists with requests is great too!

  10. Jo Ann March 9, 2012 at 7:11 am #

    What a fabulous idea! Thanks for inspiration once again! :)

  11. Wendy March 9, 2012 at 7:07 am #

    What a great idea! I love it! Thanks so much!!

  12. Jen March 8, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful idea!

  13. Lanai March 8, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

    LOVE THIS!! Seriously! Wow

  14. Morgan March 8, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

    Love it! We have a prayer jar w/photos because my kids are too young to read. They like it and so do mom & dad. :)

  15. Kelly March 8, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    I am going out tomorrow to get what I need to make this! Such a great idea. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Kathryn March 8, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    Thanks so much for these great ideas on Christian parenting! I am so grateful that God helped me stumble across your blog. My husband and I both grew up in non-Christian families, and we often find it hard to know how to model faith to our son (22 months). We have been praying with him at bedtime and his first two-syllable word was “Amen”, which gave us great joy! But this is a great idea for helping to make prayer less ‘me’-centred.

  17. Amy Walker March 8, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    Oh, and one encouraging thing related to this… I’ve been using this website called echo prayer manager that sends email reminders of prayer requests. I had asked my hubby to design a website that does that and he found this already existing one. It has been amazing how timely those reminders have been…I never take them lightly because people come up almost always at what I later realize or already know is a time of need.

    I know it is the same with the sticks!!!!!I am so so so excited about doing this as a family!!!!!!!!!!!!! Prov. 16:33 “”The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.”


  18. Amy Walker March 8, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    We are so doing this. Thank you thank you thank you for sharing!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Danielle March 8, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    we made one of these prayer pails and the kids love it, I like the idea of doing it at dinner time great idea thanks!

  20. Stephanie March 8, 2012 at 10:11 am #

    What a terrific idea.

  21. Jessica Lynette March 8, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    I have a group of girls (though often times it is just one or two) come to my home Thursday evenings to pray for the people and ministries at our church … we have written every person and ministry on a Popsicle stick and draw to see what/whom we pray for that night. We’ve been doing it for a year now and it has been a GREAT way to pray for everyone and to eliminate gossipy prayer requests.

    We also do it with our children at bedtime, including more “fill in the blank” type things like “thank God for one special thing that happened today”, “ask God to help you with a certain attitude.” It has been GREAT to help lay a foundation of prayer and it is our prayer as parents that it will continue in their lives.

  22. Emily Bucher March 8, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    That’s a really neat idea! When we were younger, mom would do something like that with the Christmas cards we got. But this prayer pail functions year round!

  23. Theresa March 8, 2012 at 8:24 am #

    A similar idea I got from Dr. Dobson’s wife Shirley from their Facebook posting on Family Talk, was to save those letters and cards you get from people at Christmas time to pray for them. I like that idea because a lot of times we get those in the form of pictures, then my small kids (7 yrs. old and younger) can see who we are praying for, and get to know faces of family who live out of state. I kept them in a basket and we prayed at breakfast time, but I’ll admit that time if day hasn’t been working out to well. I think I’ll switch it to dinner time or bedtime. I like the idea of the Popsicle sticks though because it’s easier to store and you can add people or groups that you don’t get Christmas cards from!

  24. Abbie Long March 8, 2012 at 5:57 am #

    What a fun idea to incorporate prayer with your little ones! Teaching my children the power of prayer has been on my heart lately too and I am excited to try this out! I know they will love choosing a prayer stick every day! I am really enjoying your blog! Thank you for sharing what is on your heart and giving us great ideas. Blessings!

  25. Heather March 8, 2012 at 4:42 am #

    This sounds like a great idea! I think we will definitely work on making one of these maybe this weekend. Both of my kids are still quite small, so it might be a good routine to get into with them.

    • Lindsay March 8, 2012 at 7:43 am #

      Yes, my kids are 3 & 4 and it they are certainly never too young to learn how to pray!

  26. Suzin March 8, 2012 at 4:37 am #

    LOVE IT LOVE IT…it can be so hard to be intentional when they are young, assuming that somehow they will just get it when they are older… this is such a child friendly, yet powerful way..On way may to get some craft sticks!!

  27. Kristina Faleskin March 8, 2012 at 3:54 am #

    We do something similar in our home. We have printed out pictures of our sponsor children and children from an orphanage in Guatemala that we support. Our son (2) chooses one of the children each day and we pray specifically for them. Because he’s so young, I think the visual image really helps make the person more real to him. He’s actually starting to recognize some of the children. And like you said, he loves to choose one each meal and holds us accountable to pray. I like the idea of adding others- maybe I’ll print out pictures of some friends and family or add some with just words for other organizations, etc. Thanks for sharing this idea- we love it too!

  28. Lyndall March 8, 2012 at 2:04 am #

    This has been on my to-do list for ages since seeing it on Lu Bird Baby’s website while I was preparing a talk for my church mums group on prayer. I just bought the sticks last week! I am so glad to hear that it is working well for you and your family – praise God for such a simple yet practical idea!