Thursday, February 27, 2014
Top 10 Ways to Bring God into our Homes
I love lists. And I am absolutely passionate about practical ways to invite God into our homes and families more. So basically this Top 10 Thursday post is one of my favorites. Let me start by saying 3 things-
-I am in NO way suggesting that these are the only Top 10 ways to bring God into your home or that these are even the absolute best. These just happen to be my husband and I's favorites. If you have ways that work for your family that aren't on this list, I would honestly LOVE it if you would comment below with what works for your family.
-Secondly, the absolute best, most important, and first thing we should do to invite God into our homes is simply...ask Him. Pray, pray, pray and when you think you've prayed enough, pray some more. I believe with all my heart that a cry for Him to fill our homes, our families, our marriages with HIS Presence will absolutely be honored. With that said, this list is full of some practical things that we like to incorporate into our routines that invite God to work and live in our midst.
-Finally, if this list makes me sound like we have a perfect home/marriage/family...we DON'T! This list is absolutely our desire and what we strive for...but there are days, weeks, and even months where we don't come close to incorporating half of this list. So we try again. And again. And again. Don't let mistakes and imperfections presently decide mistakes and imperfections for the future. Start today with just one of the ideas and you're doing one more thing today than you were yesterday!
I pray this helps give you some ideas!!
1) The Dinner Table Jar
This one is by far one of the easiest ideas but one of my favorites! Take a jar-any jar, empty out the pickle jar, save the mayo container, clean it, dress it up or leave it plain, take an old candy dish...anything! Put it on the middle of your dining room table or wherever you and your family eat dinner together. Whenever you hear of a need (whether it's in your own family or across the world in a missionary's family) write it on a little piece of paper, fold it up, and put it in the jar. Then every night that you sit down for dinner draw a prayer need out of the jar and pray for that need while you pray for dinner. Since the Mr. and I don't have any children we don't argue much on who draws the prayer need out of the jar! But I love the idea for once we have children letting them take turns drawing the prayer need and praying for them, teaching them the importance of prayer and praying for our friends and family.
2) Sticky Note Scripture
Memorizing Scripture is a huge part of our home, marriage, and even personal life. Hiding God's Word in our heart is absolutely KEY to being victorious in our life. So each week we try to memorize 1 new Scripture together. Once the Scripture is chosen we write it down 5-6 times on sticky notes or index cards. This helps first of all because the more you write it the more you memorize it. Secondly we tuck those cards away throughout our home. The bathroom mirrors are always the first stop, then as we wash our face or brush our teeth throughout the week we are still seeing it and working on putting it to memory. Other places are to stick it in a book we are reading as a bookmark, desk, kitchen, or even the car and school/work lunches.
3) Worship Music
I'm one of those people who like background noise. Sometimes I flippantly turn the tv on without even knowing what's on, just so I have that background noise. But when I think about what I'm doing I think it's a little ridiculous. Whatever is on the television, even though I don't know it, is filling our minds with whatever junk they're potentially talking about...even if we don't realize it. It's just as easy to push play on a "Worship" playlist and let those sounds and those God-honoring words fill our homes, and ultimately our hearts and minds. I mindlessly find myself singing along, or hours later those words will still be in my head while sitting in traffic or running errands. It changes the entire attitude of our home and I try very hard to have that going in the morning as we are getting ready for the day.
4) Family Devotions
The Mr. and I try to begin each day in the Word together. Realistically I'm sorry to say this does not always happen, and sometimes it does but it's at the end of the day instead of the start of it. This is one of the hardest ones to implement for us, but it also has one of the biggest influences. When we've gone weeks without getting in the Word together I can tell in a major way. We are so short with each other. The tiniest things annoy each other. We are biting and snapping like children. And it typically doesn't even make sense and we get to the end of a day where it seems like we've just "bickered" all day and look at each other and say huh? Why are we upset with each other? I'd say 99% of the time we can look back over the past few days and weeks and realized we've skipped out on our Couples Devotion time. Give us a few days back in the Word together, seeking God's will and praying together and we're back to normal. I definitely don't see it as purely coincidence that the thing we find hardest to find time for is also the one with the biggest effect. To me this has the enemy written all over it.
5) Church is Not an Option
I have loved church for as far back as I can remember. My sister didn't have the same feelings, and she didn't stay in the church as a result of it. My parents allowed her at a certain age to decide not to attend church with the rest of our family anymore. While I don't say this as a critical viewpoint against my parents (I see their side and I see their need for peace), I do disagree with it. As for my family church is not an option. If you're tired I'm sorry, you're still going. If you have extracurricular activities I'm sorry, you won't be participating on Sunday or Wednesday. Fellowship is a huge, integral part of our spiritual growth. Church is where I grew in my faith and made life-long friendships that have nurtured my faith. I believe there is power in attending church together as a family, setting aside that time as priority for church only, and serving together as a couple and letting that be a visual reminder to children of the importance of the church in their personal life. (Side note-sadly, my sister is a grown adult now and still has no desire to be in church. It breaks my parents hearts, as well as mine, and has stood out as a big lesson to me.)
6) Husband as the Spiritual Leader
This one is clearly Biblical, but there are practical ways to "live" this one out. One of the biggest ones for our home is the Mr. praying over me on the way out the day each morning. Each morning when he hugs me on his way out the door for work he stops and prays-out loud- over me. Ya'll...this changes my whole day. Honestly. This is so powerful. There are also times throughout the day when he may be able to just tell that I'm struggling with something that he will come over to me and do this again. May I just encourage some of you that may not have this kind of husband right now? Tell him. This may sound silly and it will most definitely feel awkward at first, but the spiritual benefit far outweighs that. If he doesn't know you want him to pray with you-ask him to. Pray that God will remind Him to do that. Also, when he does do it, make sure you tell him how much you appreciate that and how much that means to you. My husband was always very "off and on" with this one and never very consistent. But once I sat him down and told him how much I appreciated him for that and how that really did change my whole day, he started taking it a lot more seriously.
7) Pray for Each Other Throughout the Day
Make sure that you are taking time throughout your day to stop and pray for your spouse and your children. At first if this feels odd trying to get into a routine and remembering it I suggest setting a few alarms on your phone throughout the day. Put your spouse/childs name as the title of the alarm and stop and take a few minutes to pray for them. Eventually this will become so much of a routine that you can probably even delete those alarms. If you are a stay at home wife/mom you might even walk into their bedrooms and pray over their room-I really believe this is powerful. At the end of the day on your way to bed pray over your house, over each room even, and your people who live in it. Prayer walks in your pajamas around your house in the middle of the night can sometimes be the sweetest moments.
8) Talk about God
This one may seem to go without saying, but really...how much of the words that we speak talking about God. Open up. Talk about what He is doing in your life, in your personal quiet time, what you are seeking of Him, what He is doing in someone else's life. This not only is inviting God into our everyday home lives, but it's also encouraging intimacy within the family unit and letting our kids know it's ok and encouraged to talk about God. Anytime and all the time. I would be more than happy to be awaken by my child in the middle of the night to hear what God is doing in their heart. I'll take that.
9) Let your Kids see your Quiet Time
I don't have kids, but this one I remember from growing up. I vividly remember watching my mother have her quiet time every morning. As a result, I wanted one too. My parents never once told me to "go have a quiet time". No...that was a deep, grown desire that I feel was largely thanks to seeing it play such a huge role in my parents lives.
10) Serving Together
Maybe it's as simple as helping a neighbor out with their yard, or as large as taking an overseas mission trip together. Whatever it is I believe it is crucial for the family unit to learn at a very early age what it means to serve God together and minister to other people. One of my favorite ways to do this growing up was what my mom would call a "cookie day". We would spend all morning baking lots of cookies and talking and laughing together. Then after lunch we would group them on disposable plates, get in the car with the church directory, and pray that God would show us where to go/who needed a little encouragement that day. Those were some of my absolute favorite memories growing up. God never failed to lead us to a whole plethora of people who just needed a little something that day. From shut-ins to frazzled caregivers.
Linking up with: Domesblissity, Kathy, Hearts for Home, Thoughtful Thursdays, Proverbs 31, The Pin Junkie, Mother's Niche, Link'n Blogs. God's Growing Garden, Sweet Bella Roos, Lamberts Lately, Hope in Every Season, Moonlight & Mason Jars