Help even the youngest children take five minutes a day for personal prayer by making them personal prayer boxes. Here’s how.
by Heidi Indahl
“Everybody be QUIET! I’m having my personal prayer time now!”
Plopped down in the middle of our living room, surrounded by books and toys, my six-year-old made this announcement. On one hand, there may have been a better time and place. On the other hand, we have been encouraging our children to spend at least five minutes every day praying on their own. This was his time and his place. He had his prayer box and he was ready to go.
You can help your child build their own habit of daily prayer by assembling their own individual prayer box. Here’s how.
- First, find a container. This could be a box, basket, or bag. It might be a plastic pencil case, deeply discounted now that school has started.
- Fill it with things to encourage a habit of prayer. Ideas include decade rosaries, pictures of family members (or others to pray for), prayer cards, sacred art, a timer, a cross, religious medals, or anything else that will help your child focus. Older children might enjoy having a small sized notebook and pen or a pocket Bible. In celebration of the new school year, I recently added a Tiny Saint for each child, a sand timer, and prayer cards from Give Him 5. Peanut Butter and Grace has a large archive of posts to help you pray with your kids and many contain ideas that could be adapted to include in a prayer box.
- When your box is finished, find a safe place to keep your prayer box so it is easy to use. We keep ours on top of our piano with some of our religious statues and other special objects that we want to keep away from little fingers.
You can build the box alone and present it as a special gift (and a treasure it is!), or you can collaborate on creating it, and create meaningful memories with your child. Whatever method you choose, be sure to encourage your child to personalize their prayer box by adding items that are meaningful to them.
Encourage your child to use their prayer box each day. Teach them how to gently care for their prayer boxes and the aids inside, always returning it to its proper home when not being used. Show them how to treat their box carefully and tenderly.
With supervision, encourage even young children to pray in this way. Toddlers and young preschoolers may benefit from a simplified collection of items, always taking care to avoid choking hazards.
Prayer certainly is a treasure to be cherished and it is never too soon to begin building a habit of daily prayer!
(Oh, and don’t be afraid to assemble your own prayer box while you are at it!)
How do you encourage personal or private prayer in your home?