Holding Your Family Together at the Table: Rest and Prayer

When truly valued and practiced, The Home Table (for families, couples, unmarried) is a place of spiritual nourishment as well as physical, emotional and mental. Rest and prayer go hand in hand to strengthen this opportunity for spiritual sustenance.

Times of rest, especially a weekly Sabbath, give opportunity to reflect on scripture, relational richness and needs, schedules, and any aspect of our lives that need to be brought gratefully to God or fined tuned to God’s ways.  Then, our prayers can be authentic, meaningful and truly brought before God for guidance and grace to experience the best in His plan for us and our loved ones.

So, what kinds of prayers does The Home Table invite?  Traditional?  Spontaneous? Long? Short?

Traditional prayers seem to be getting a back seat in many settings.  I pray them because they are beautiful and meaningful. They become familiar.  They give a prayer focus for my mind and heart.  They are rich with variety and meaning.  They allow one to meditate on the words, strengthening your beliefs.  They bring unity when said together and are rich in depth, like a well loved poem.

Here are a few  table blessings,  also known as ‘Grace’.  Does not God provide the grace we need when we ask?

  •         Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from thy bounty, through Christ, Our Lord.  Amen. [Said at my table growing up.]
  •  Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest, and may our meal by you be blessed.  [Martin Luther, 1483-1546]
  • Let us, with a gladsome mind,  Praise the Lord, for He is kind; All things living He doth feed, His full hand supplies their need. [John Milton, 1608-1674].

Now, spontaneous prayer.  Something about these, that I’ve noticed is that they can become long rabbit trails of anything that comes to the praying person’s mind.  So, here are some suggestions for sensible boundaries.

  • Teach your loved ones how to pray spontaneously.  The Home Table prayer can open with gratitude for what Christ has done on the cross, the real spiritual food for our lives; then for the meal and the cook and the company.  My opinion: meal time is not a time to pray long prayers.  There is usually temperature sensitive food to be enjoyed, other learning and loving to take place.  Make time for prayers for burdens and concerns at another time.  Conversation during any meal may bring forth many concerns. A time can be agreed upon to pray for these concerns. It can, for example, be immediately after the meal  Note:  Keep that appointment!

Here’s a sample of a spontaneous type prayer:  Dear God, Thank you for the love you show us by having sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.  We are grateful for this precious gift.  We also thank you for this meal, and all your care and provision.  Please bless the loving hands that prepared this meal and all who are here together around this table.  In Jesus name we thank you.  Amen.

Of course, seek the Lord and find in Him what works for you and yours.  I’d enjoy hearing what He shows you!

 

Holding Your Family Together at the Table: Make Encouragement Rich!

Monday, July 6, 2015 is here!   I’m just about ready to teach the Parent Room this evening for our (venicechurch.org) VBS.  My topic is ‘How to Hold Your Family Together at the Table’.  Below is a list of questions and ideas for your table that go beyond the good, starter questions: ‘How was your day?’ and ‘What was today’s high and low point?’  What you discover can give you better understanding of your loved ones and ways to pray for them too.

The first list is adapted from Dee Brestin’s list in the book, ‘Come to Our Table’, edited by Anita Lustrea and Melinda Schmidt with Lori Neff.

  • What have you been thinking about a lot lately?
  • What observations can you make from today’s (chosen) proverb? (The bible has a book of proverbs by King Solomon.)
  • What is one thing you appreciate about the person on your right?
  • On Thanksgiving Day: What are you thankful for this year that you could not have been thankful for last year?
  • During Advent, share a Christmas song, line by line, and ask for observations.
  • I Spy!  Between Ash Wednesday and Easter, or any time, teach the children (and adults, for that matter) to try to ‘spy’ God during the week.  Try these four ways to ‘spy’ Him:  answered prayer, unusual circumstances or timing which made you suspect God at work, unexpected grace and God’s help to do His work in the world.

I also liked these questions more suited for adult relationships gleaned from http://www.thekitchn.com/10-questions-to-ask-your-partner-at-the-dinner-table-219337.

  1. If you were by yourself and could do anything you wanted for one day, what would you do?
  2. What is your most vivid childhood memory?
  3. If you could wake up tomorrow and have one new ability or talent, what would it be?
  4. What advice would you give your younger self?
  5. What do you hope people think when they think of you?
  6. If you have kids: What’s the most important thing you hope your kids take with them out into the world?
  7. Who has been kindest to you?
  8. If you could hold on to just one memory for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  9. When you imagine yourself at 80 years old, what do you see?
  10. What are you most grateful for?

Why not give them a try?  Probably good to use just one at a time, and expand the conversation depending what is said and how it goes, of course. And, if you’re willing and able, let me know how they serve your relationships with family, friends and guests at your table.  Thanks!

Rejection to Restoration

Women of Hope Del Rey Bible study enacts the bible's book of Mark: 21:35. Do you know the story?

Women of Hope Del Rey Bible Study enact the bible story: Mark: 5:21-35. Do you recognize it?

Reaching out with faith in Christ against all odds rewarded the ‘woman with the issue of blood’ in Mark 5:21-35.  She had nothing to lose as she’d been rejected by society and had spent all she had to get well.  Ill and pressing desperately through a crowd that could easily have represented the social rejection she’d endured for so long, she humbly believed that Christ could and would heal her if she could just reach…touch the hem of His garment.  Though the crowd was bearing down, He noticed that someone had deliberately touched Him as power had gone out of Him.  Did He not know the whole story of her travail?  Why did He call her to account?  ‘Who touched me?’, He said.  He insisted that she be revealed as the new, healed person that she was. Her confession of what had happened to her and Who she believed restored her!
Who are you in Christ, my friend?  Who are you?

Speaking the Truth in Love!

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These beautiful girls were delighted to be told how beautiful they are and that God loves them so much!  How often do we ladies hear that we are beautiful and that God loves us from society?  GO!  Tell them!  It was delightful doing so yesterday at Mar Vista Gardens, Los Angeles with Pastor Hector!  The sharing of the good news of Jesus Christ made the girls smile!

His Banner Over Me is Love!

The fourth weekend in February, I was encouraged as I attended a conference in Visalia, CA called ‘Holy Fire’. It was wonderful, teaching the use of banners and billows to worship! I found it exceptional, truly Christ centered, professional, artistic; richly satisfying and learner friendly for all levels. Clear details would be at the instructor’s, Lynn Hayden, sight: dancingforhim.com. Very refreshing and inspiring! Be uplifted and move for the Lord!

My Web Site

Being fearless in creating a website that expresses what I want is the goal!  This involves encouraging myself!  I use my gifts for myself as well as others!  So, I pray for a clear and effective outcome!