Editor’s note: Jump into our online book club! We’re reading Jane Knuth’s The Prayer List…and Other True Stories of How Families Pray. This week we focus on chapters 13–15. Learn more about the book club here.
When my children were young and had their friends over to play, I would not necessarily join into their conversations. When they were playing together, they wanted my ideas and participation like they wanted toothpaste. I hung around, half-listening in case a quarrel broke out, and provided snacks when they were hungry.
Maybe God is that member of the family when we are gathered together with our children? When we are with our kids, doing ordinary family stuff, God kind of hangs back, ready with the juice boxes and pretzels. He isn’t going to interfere with our games and projects unless we ask him. He’s the father, not a coach. He’s the provider, not the police. He’ll take us to the beach, but he isn’t going to dig the sandcastles for us.
Family prayer is that moment when we look up from the food and say, “Hey, where’s Dad? Maybe we shouldn’t eat until he sits down.” Or we stop what we are working on and ask each other, “Do you think Dad might have the tool we need to finish this project?” Or we stop digging the sandcastle because the waves keep knocking it down, and we run to Dad, crying. And he wraps us in a beach towel and says, “It was a fine castle, but you can build another one tomorrow.”
The Prayer List Discussion Questions
- What ordinary things in your house do you use to help you pray? Candles? Water? Songs?
- When you pray, do you picture God as a father? Or do you picture God more like the human Jesus? Or do you have a different picture of God?
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