A gentle breeze ruffled the surface of the lake as I wandered along the shore line, eyes to the ground. Oh, there’s a good one! I picked up a smooth, round, grey stone and put it in a container.
By the time I was done collecting rocks, I had a small bucketful.
I’m not a rock hound, nor did I need more stones for the landscaping in our yard. So why was I collecting rocks on a mountain lake shore during our summer vacation?
I wanted to work on developing gratitude in my life—and you can use this same method for your whole family.
My “gratitude craft” involved the rocks I’d gathered, a black sharpie marker, and two glass fish bowls. (That’s about as complicated as I’m willing to get when it comes to crafts!)
I used the marker to write down prayer requests in simple words or phrases. Then I placed the rocks with prayer requests in one of the fish bowls.
The next time my husband Scott and I prayed together, we pulled rocks out of the bowl to remember what to pray about, and then put them back in after praying.
Then came the day a prayer was answered.
We moved that rock to the second bowl, which was designated for answers to prayer.
We also added rocks to that bowl when God blessed us in a way we had not thought to ask him for.
As time went on, we saw more and more rocks in the second bowl—a visual reminder that God was hearing our prayers and answering them.
This is a powerful way to demonstrate to children that prayer matters—including theirs.
Kids can watch the rocks pile up in that second bowl as a testimony to the faithfulness of God. The whole family can give God thanks and praise as you see his hand at work in your lives.
(Younger children may want to decorate their rocks or draw something on them to remember their request, especially if they can’t read yet.)
Of course, there’s nothing magical about this method. You could also use colored strips of paper and two glass jars in the same way, or some other method that appeals to you and your family.
One bowl or jar is for presenting requests:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” –Philippians 4:6
The other is for remembering and thanking God for answered prayers:
“Pray without ceasing; give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” –1 Thessalonians 5:17-18
When you do this on a regular basis, your whole family can literally see how much God has done on your behalf. That’s a faith-builder!
That big bill got paid off. That sick person suddenly got better. That family member got the job he/she needed.
Would you remember such answers to prayer if you didn’t record them and look at them? Maybe—but more likely not.
It’s amazing how quickly we tend to forget what God has done.
Life constantly presents new challenges, and it’s easy to let our focus go there instead of first reminding ourselves of what God has already done for us.
God instructed the Israelites to erect memorials from time to time, so that their children and children’s children would not forget his might acts on their behalf.
Your family can honor God in a similar way—and watch your faith and gratitude increase.
What method sounds good to you?