A Family Guide for “A Disciple’s Journal”

“It is undoubtedly true, that if you are steadily determined to walk in this path; to endeavour by every possible means, that you and your house may thus serve the Lord; that every member of your family may worship him, not only in form, but in spirit and in truth; you will have need to use all the grace, all the courage, all the wisdom which God has given you” (John Wesley, On Family Religion)

Suggestions for Using A Disciple’s Journal with Children

By Rev. Tanya Marie Eustace, PhD
Director of Children & Intergenerational Ministries
Discipleship Ministries

 

A-Disciples-Journal-2015

A Disciple’s Journal is an excellent resource for your family to use as you grow in faithful discipleship together. Using A Disciple’s Journal every day will develop habits that open your hearts to grace and equip your family to be witnesses to Jesus Christ in the world. I pray God will bless your family as you journey together.

John Wesley assures us that God gives us the grace we need to love God and neighbor. Ritual, story, and wonder are tools that children and adults use as they experience, claim, and respond to God’s presence in their lives.

Relationships require time, attention, and care. We all need space and time to connect with family, friends, and with God. In a culture that moves quickly from one thing to another, it is easy to get swept up into the chaos losing sight of what guides and supports us. Practicing ritual, story, and wonder throughout our days provides opportunities to pay attention to God’s presence. In this space we can hear, discern, and respond to God’s call; thus discovering purpose and meaning for our lives. I invite and encourage you to find time for God in your day, model using these tools for and with your children, and practice the Christian life together.

Practical ways to use A Disciple’s Journal with your family

 

Prayerfully consider your family’s schedule. Identify moments when you can stop, breath, listen, and share. Designate a place and time where your family can read Scripture and pray together. If you prefer to break up the daily prayers and readings some suggestions are listed below.

  • Create a worship space: use symbols, liturgical colors, and objects to identify this as a holy place.
  • Display one-three of the scripture lessons for the day in your home where family members can see it throughout the day. Place on a door, a mirror, or the refrigerator. You might choose to start with the designated psalm-leaving it up Monday-Wednesday or Thursday-Friday.
  • Provide a tangible object (a rock, stone, prayer beads) to pass or hold during your time together. Individuals may choose to keep this item with them during the day as a reminder of God’s presence and their call to live in response to God’s love.
  • Wonder After reading a prayer or scripture lesson, ask: I wonder
    • what this tells us about God?
    • what this says about you?
    • what your favorite part is?
    • what you could leave out?
    • what you wonder about?

Prayer in the Morning:

  • Call to Prayer and Weekly Lectionary Prayer: Begin the day in prayer. Upon rising, join together in the call to prayer followed by the weekly lectionary prayer. Over time you will begin to internalize the prayer as the words become written on your hearts.
  • Scripture: There are several ways you can include scripture in your morning routine:
    • write the scripture on a piece of paper and put it by your family’s breakfast plates or the sink where they brush their teeth.
    • Invite older children to find the passage in their Bible.
    • Read and wonder together.
  • Hymn:
    • You might choose to read or speak the words of the hymn:
      • during the morning prayer time
      • before or after a meal.
    • The words of the Hymn also provides an opportunity to wonder together:
      • I wonder what these words tell us about God?
      • I wonder what these words say about us?
      • I wonder how the music makes you feel?
    • Go on a weekly Hymn scavenger hunt:
      • Charles Wesley wrote all the words… your challenge is to discover who wrote the music.
      • What is the meter of the text?
      • Find the hymn in a hymnal or other source… sing it together.
    • Prayers for ourselves and for others/Lord’s Prayer/Collect for the Day: (This can take place in different locations- worship space, table, car, door before everyone leaves)
      • Share prayer requests:
        • Create a prayer board: Write- “Today I’m thankful for” and “Today I need God’s help with.” Ask family members to list their prayers here.
        • Make a prayer box: Invite family members to put their prayers in the box sharing their requests with God either silently or verbally.
      • Say a prayer together
        • lift up individual requests
        • ask God to be with your family during the day
        • pray for the church and the world (See Cycle of Intersessions for a weekly prayer guide)
        • Conclude with the Lord’s prayer and Collect
      • Blessing: offer each child a blessing. Example: Draw a cross on their foreheads with your thumb while saying: “God loves you and God is with you.”

Prayer at Night:

  • Say the Call to Prayer in the car, at the worship space, or at the dinner table.
  • Scripture and a time of prayer guided by A Cycle of Intersessions may also take place during dinner, a designated time in the worship space, or before bed.
  • Bedtime Ritual
    • Pray the designated Collect for the night together
    • Offer your child another blessing (“You are a blessing to me and our family. Sleep well, awake rested, and know that you are loved by your family and by God”)
  • Remember: You are:
    • surrounding your family in prayer
    • grounding them in God’s Word
    • modeling and practicing ritual, story, and wonder.
    • helping your family recognize, claim, and respond to God’s active presence in their lives.

 

 

My child, keep my words
    and store up my commandments with you;
keep my commandments and live,
    keep my teachings as the apple of your eye;
bind them on your fingers,
    write them on the tablet of your heart.

(Proverbs 7:1-3)

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