I challenge you to spend 20 minutes a week being intentional about passing your faith on to your kids
           …and all you need is a bag of marshmallows.

This week: Teach your Children to Pray

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6 

I tip my hat to the monthly moms group at the Regina Christian School for the ideas presented here- thanks ladies!

Families sometimes feel stuck in a prayer rut, where our prayers are repeating over and over. Kids, too, can fall into a habit of monotone praying. There are many great prayers, and this one does a good job of reminding us to pray for other people in our life. Have you heard of the “FIVE FINGER PRAYER”? It’s an easy way to teach kids to pray selflessly.
Five Fingered Prayer
The twist on this of course is that we’re going to eat marshmallows while we pray!
Have the children choose 5 large marshmallows each:
One to represent somebody in their family, one to be a pastor or teacher, another to represent our Pime Minister, one to be a baby or sick person, and one to represent themself. Now place a marshmallow on each finger of one hand. This is our 5 Fingers of Prayer. If you have those little cake decorating tubes of icing you can find at any grocery store, you can let the kids decorate each marshmallow. Perhaps a tie on the Prime Minister, a thermometer in the mouth of the “sick” marshmallow, or a cross on the marshmallow for the pastor. Craft stores even have markers that are edible-that might be a good investment for some of our marshmallow adventures!
Now we pray.
First, our thumb. This is closest to us. Pray for our families and friends to be healthy and blessed…then eat that marshmallow.
Second, our pointer finger. Pray for those who point the way, ask for wisdom and support for our pastors and teachers… then eat the marshmallow.
Third, our middle finger- the tallest one. Pray for wise decisions from our leaders,government and Prime Minister… and then yep, eat that marshmallow.
Fourth, our weakest finger. Pray for those are weak, sick, or hurt. Ask God to intervene and provide health and wholeness to their lives. Then, you guessed it- eat up the marshmallow.
Fifth, our baby finger, the last finger is ourselves. Ask God for things you need before you eat the last marshmallow.
The palm is the surprise ending in our 5 finger prayer. Now that the marshmallows are all eaten, show your child how to hold their hand open, palm up, like they’re receiving a gift. To remind them that God has given us so much, ask your child to thank Him for 5 extra blessings. After you have prayed this final prayer of thankfulness you can drop one last marshmallow into their palm, to surprise them with one extra gift.  Yum 🙂 marshmallow people
***Just in case you’re worried about the sugar, my bag of Kraft Marshmallows says that 6 large marshmallows has 150 calories and 26 gr of sugar, which wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it might be. I’ve had granola bars that were worse. Still, you could adapt this and use real markers on the marshmallows for the fingers, and then of course don’t eat them.***
Finish off with a quick family prayer. God cares about every area of our lives; let’s encourage the children to pray about whatever is on their hearts. Add to your prayer journal weekly, and be sure to leave space to jot down a quick note when God answers the prayer. Your kids will grow stronger in their faith when they can look back and see what the Lord has done. How did this work for you? Did you adapt it to fit your family?

Welcome to the easiest family devotional you’ll ever come across- Marshmallow Madness! We can do this!

I challenge you to spend 20 minutes a week being intentional about passing your faith on to your kids
           …and all you need is a bag of marshmallows.

This week: Family Time Training

“… If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation”  2 Corinthians 5:17

This week we are going to showcase another wonderful family ministry. In addition to being licensed as a presenter with the National Center for Biblical Parenting, I had the privilege of meeting the founder and president of Family Time Training, Kirk Weaver, when I was in Houston for training. I appreciated his genuine heart to teach biblical truths using family fun. As you’ll see, these activities are meant to be super exciting -the neighbourhood kids will be inviting themselves over!  Head on over to his website at www.famtime.com where you’ll find a free monthly activity (and more free ones in the archives) as well as details to subscribe to unlimited activities that you can choose based on the ages of your kids or the values you want to teach. Brilliant!

Here is a portion of this months free activity:
Teaching Goal: God created the “family” as a vehicle to get His children safely
to the home in heaven He has prepared for them.

Materials: A shoe box
1 raw egg
1 zip lock bag
Newspaper
Tape
Markers
Shiny piece of fruit

Read Deuteronomy 6:7. One of the most important reasons God created families was so
that parents would teach their children about His laws—the Bible is filled with God’s law.
God’s laws are designed to get us to heaven safely so we can live with God for all eternity.
Family Time is one way we, the parents, try to teach you God’s laws for living. Can you
think of other ways our family learns about God’s important life lessons? Listen to answers.
Going to church. Children’s and/or youth programs. Christian radio. School. Grandparents.
Other Christians. The Bible. Prayer.

ACTIVITY: This shoe box represents our family. This raw egg represents a member in
our family. Pick a family member who has a personal relationship with Jesus. Write the name
of that family member on the egg. Write the name “Jesus” on a zip lock bag, put the egg in the
bag and seal it tightly. The zip lock bag represents Jesus. {Name} is a Christian so they are
in Christ. We are going to use strips of newspaper to protect the egg from breaking during the crisis. Tear the
newspaper into strips. We are going to write on some of the paper strips ways that our family learns about God.
Pack the box full of newspaper strips. Remember, these strips of newspaper represent having God’s lessons in
our lives. Let’s see what happens in a crisis when we know and follow God’s lessons.
Drop the box- if packed securely the egg should not break.
Open up the box and point out that the person is in Christ. Point out that the lessons kept the person from breaking. Remember, the box represents our family. The most important thing is that each of us is in Christ represented
by the zip lock bag. That means we believe and follow Jesus. Next, as a family, we need to
be reading our Bible, listening to our parents, doing Family Time and participating in
church so we can be safer and more protected when hard times come.

Memorize: Family is God’s way, To safely guide our day.

Finish off with a quick family prayer. God cares about every area of our lives; let’s encourage the children to pray about whatever is on their hearts. Add to your prayer journal weekly, and be sure to leave space to jot down a quick note when God answers the prayer. Your kids will grow stronger in their faith when they can look back and see what the Lord has done.How did this work for you? Did you adapt it to fit your family?

Welcome to the easiest family devotional you’ll ever come across- Marshmallow Madness! We can do this!

I challenge you to spend 20 minutes a week being intentional about passing your faith on to your kids
           …and all you need is a bag of marshmallows.

This week: Fiery Darts

“… In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”  Ephesians 6:16

This time we are not specifically teaching about the whole Armor of God, we are focusing on the shield of faith and defending against the fiery arrows of the evil one. Depending on the age and maturity level of your children, decide how open you will be when you are teaching about Satan’s attacks.  You might want to play the game below and have a quick discussion now as a family, but be prepared to explain it more in depth later to older kids. The point of this game and lesson is to be able to recognize some of the “fiery darts” the enemy uses to mess with our faith, and that the “shield of faith” is what we need to use to resist him.

The kids are going to love this game- we’re taking turns pelting each other with tiny marshmallows!  Have one child sit on the floor and the other members of the family receive a certain number of marshmallows to try and hit him/her. It shouldn’t hurt, especially if you are using the mini-marshmallows.  Thankfully, we aren’t going to light them on fire and send them over!
Now give the child something to try and block the mini-missiles. This is representing the shield of faith that we are commanded to use. It could be a plastic plate, an aluminum pan, a rubbermaid tote lid, anything at all.
Afterwards, ask the kids what those fiery darts of the evil are anyway? What does our enemy throw at us? I think, since we are to use faith to rebuke them, they are things which cause us to doubt. I think our enemy puts wrong thoughts in our mind: mean thoughts, thoughts to distract us when we are trying to pray or read the Bible (It’s amazing how many , harsh thoughts criticizing our teachers, parents, or pastors. Terrible thoughts can cause us to question our own salvation and our belief in our heavenly father. Some might even wonder if Jesus really saved them at all!  We don’t have to accept every thought that burns into our head. We need to extinguish lingering darts and recognize that they are an attack of our very real enemy!
But how? The shield of faith protects us, but only if we use it. And holding up this shield is as simple as speaking God’s Word. “I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” 2 Timothy 1:12 and  “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). That is putting on the shield of faith.  When a thought falls into your mind, ask yourself if this is from God. Would God say this? If not, then rebuke that fiery dart for what it is, a lie from the devil.  As a family, declare the truth of our amazing God and encourage each other to be strong with their shield of faith.
Finish off with a quick family prayer. God cares about every area of our lives; let’s encourage the children to pray about whatever is on their hearts. Add to your prayer journal weekly, and be sure to leave space to jot down a quick note when God answers the prayer. Your kids will grow stronger in their faith when they can look back and see what the Lord has done.How did this work for you? Did you adapt it to fit your family?

This New Year brings new choices. We have an opportunity to invest in ourselves and others. Set yourself up for success.

 

Just like God’s grace for us, we have a clean slate to begin anew. Many of us are disheartened by the failings and missed goals of previous years, however. We can become cynical and forget that oftentimes those failings are the vehicle to push up to success when the time is right. 

A new year is a great time of reflection. Consider the good and the ugly of the year before: perhaps we need to relinquish our great expectations and focus on just 1 or 2 baby steps. Improve on what is already working well, or maybe start a whole new routine? 

Whatever you resolve, know that there is a reason most people fail. IT IS HARD! The full-bellied determination we feel while relaxing beside a fire dissolves in the 6 am gloom. We eat a rice cake while reading/sleeping through the Book of Exodus. We are hungry and tired. Like the children of Israel in the desert- we are little children ourselves. We don’t want to do our chores, We don’t want to do our reading and prayer, we don’t wanna eat the food that is best for our bodies!

BUT if you can persevere you WILL reap untold benefits. Your confidence in yourself will grow because you will have accomplished that hard thing. Your children will be rewarded with more time and attention. Your body will become energized and strong. And most importantly, your loving Father will reward your diligence and grant you wisdom and peace, the greatest treasure of all.

Pray and ask what He wants you to work on this year. And then DO IT! Know that it will be difficult but worth it, and that if you feel peace after praying about it then rest in the knowledge that if God says you are ready, than you ARE!

A fun family activity is to discuss the purpose of resolutions together and pray for God to give each of us wisdom in setting our goals. Have each family member write them down separately on a piece of paper and seal them individually. (Young children can draw a picture of something they would like to work on this year.) We store ours with our Christmas decorations so they won’t be lost or forgotten, and next year we will open them up and celebrate our achievements.

 

What are YOU going to do this year? Do you have any tips for success?