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Home is where grace lives.

More corny jokes

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Home is where joy lives.

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Home is where peace lives.

Forgiving a wrong

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Home is where love lives.

©2020 Anna-Marie Durham all rights reserved

Prayer grotto a la home

Christians in South Korea have the benefit of going to Prayer Mountain. There they have created small prayer rooms that one can close themselves off to concentrate and pray. You can make a special place in your home for quiet prayer. Even a small corner or under a desk can make a great prayer grotto at home.

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Find a place in your home that’s not busy. a back corner, closet floor or even below a desk can serve as a quiet spot. If you’d like, put up some scriptures, reminders, small maps or pictures. Put a pillow you can sit on and you’re good to go. Children love secret spaces, so this might be right up your child’s alley. It’s a quiet spot where they can go to be alone and talk to God. Encourage them to take their Bible and prayer journal with them to write down anything God tells them.

Why pray as a family?

With  the busy pace of today’s life why should we take time to pray regularly as a family? There are many reasons.

Unity. People who pray together grow closer.

Teaching. It’s a great opportunity to teach your child (and learn yourself) how to hear from God.

Obedience. We are commanded to “pray without ceasing.”

Altruism. We think of the needs of others and not our own.

Peace. We know we have taken our needs to God and He is taking care of things in His time.

Perspective. We are concerned with what God is doing all over the earth, not just in our own backyard.

Contentment. It brings satisfaction and lessens our need for “stuff” and allows us to just “be.”

Family prayer journals

A family prayer journal is a great way to chronicle your journey together. All you need is a blank book and a pen. Everyone can add to the book as needed. Keep track of prayers and answers, keep pictures and drawings of things on your heart, and things your learn about prayer. Keep it as a sort of spiritual scrapbook for your family. Since it’s all together in one journal instead of each having their own journal–or in addition to your own–you have a great snapshot of your lives during a particular time. It would be especially good for important milestones, like an illness, loss of a job, a new addition to the family or other life changing event.

Just make sure you stay alert. Keep close watch over yourselves. Don’t forget anything of what you’ve seen. Don’t let your heart wander off. Stay vigilant as long as you live. Teach what you’ve seen and heard to your children and grandchildren.     Deut. 4:9 The Message

God says we are to remember His deeds and tell them to our children. What better way than in a journal?

Warning: mommy love overload imminent

Some of you have been asking about the baby. He’s two months old already. WOW! Time flies.

How cute is he? He wakes each day with lots and lots of smiles, smiles so big his eyes become little slits. He’s cooing little sweet nothings to us and loves to snuggle.

 Here are my other little blessings:

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Sophia has just completed her 3rd year of piano class. Next year she will start private lessons and she is really excited about that. She loves to write and is almost daily writing stories, songs and poems. She is a gifted communicator who loves to share Jesus.

Jack and baby brother:

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He can’t get enough of the baby. He loves to hold him in his lap. Jack wants to be a drummer when he grows up, so any time he has access to anything resembling a stick we have to endure the rhythmic banging. Actually he’s pretty steady with his beat, so who knows…

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Gabrielle is 10 now. She loves art and we are really into Art Academy Live and their affordable art lessons, so she is learning to draw from their instructors. She also helps me in my bookmaking studio. Her cheerful help at home is invaluable to me.

These are the reasons I do what I do every day. It is my joy to call them my kiddos and I am a blessed woman.

Welcome to the world baby boy

Well this is a terribly belated post but I hope you understand.

He found his thumb!

Micah Joseph Hawthorne joined our family on March 12, 2008. He was 6 lb. 14 oz and 19.75 in. of pure bliss. Labor was, well, labor, but it wasn’t unbearable. He was born pink and skinny and perfect. And his brother and sisters can’t get enough of him. But neither can we.

 Thanks for all your prayers and support during my pregnancy. It’s nice to have my body back to myself (except for the brestfeeding!). I can take a deep breath and rest peacefully again. Whew!

Sleeping on dad's shoulder.

He is quiet and peaceful and sticks to a schedule pretty well. We are settling into a routine that works for us, and just about the time I get used to that he’ll hit a growth spurt and everything will change. But isn’t that what life’s all about? Babies are the very best kind of change. We are truly blessed. I hope to post more pics soon.

Principles of family prayer (part 7)

Be Intercessory

This one can be a challenge for children, who (hopefully unlike their parents) are pretty ego-centric. It is nice to form habits early that include prayer for others.  It is scriptural and also practical.

We should always be mindful of the lost around us. We should also be quick to pray for anyone at any time, even in the store or in our neighborhood. If you encounter someone with urgent needs, I encourage you to stop and pray right then. It is very rare that someone will not accept an offer for prayer.

You can encourage your children to intercede on behalf of others by offering them opportunities. Things like prayer lists and bulletin boards can keep children mindful of the needs of others. And it helps even more when your first answer to a need they bring to you is to pray about it. Even a simple two sentence prayer can move mountains. Putting the needs of others before your own will develop children who are giving and loving. They will also see the scripture in Matthew played out in their lives, when Jesus said not to take care for your own needs, but to seek His kingdom first. They will see God’s blessing on their lives and it will increase their faith all the more.

Gal 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 

Jam 5:16  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Mar 13:33  Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.Luk 10:2  Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

Principles of family prayer (part 6)

Be effective

This may seem like a no-brainer to you, but there really is a strategy to effective prayer, according to God’s Word.

1) Pray God’s will. What is His will? His Word. Praying scriptures is a sure-fire way to get your prayers answered.

2) Get along. Especially live in peace as husband and wife. (1 Peter 3:7)

3) Live a forgiving lifestyle. James 5:16 mentions forgiveness and effectual prayer in the same verse. Knowing God like I do, I don’t think this is a coincidence.

4) Seek out peace in your home. 1 Peter 3:8-11 It is difficult to pray with and for people you are striving against. Live together as allies, as a team, as fellow soldiers in God’s army. Make sure you have one another’s backs and your prayers will become more meaningful, sincere and effective.

5) Pray with faith. James 1:5-8, Mark 11:24, Daniel 10:9-13. When you pray according to God’s will, you can rest assured He will answer.

6) Know what it is you are praying for. It is hard to pray with faith when you aren’t exactly sure what it is you are praying about. You don’t necessarily need all the details in every situation, but a general idea is very helpful in applying your faith and praying effectively.

Principles of family prayer (part 5)

Be Authentic

The Bible is full of honest prayers. See Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane. Or Moses at the burning bush. Or Paul in prison. Or Job in his struggles. God is not bothered by honesty. I believe He is bothered when we do not bring ALL to Him in prayer. It’s okay to question but don’t get stuck there. Allow God to do what He does best—work things for your good, if you belong to Him.

Be honest about your needs in your prayer time with your family. Don’t hesitate to ask  your children to pray about certain issues. Of course, you don’t discuss anything they don’t need to know about. When they see you have prayer needs as well they will be more willing to open up in your prayer time. (Heb 13:18 )

No need to be stuffy or formal in your prayers. Kids might question your authenticity if you don’t pray to God like you speak in your everyday life. Remember, it’s a conversation, not a speech. If you are willing to pray instantly, your prayers will be authentic and come from the heart. Get in the habit of praying without ceasing.

Be quick to show answers to prayer too. And keep record of them. It will build your faith and bring more authenticity to your prayer time because you have specific praise to bring to Him and not vague “Thanks for this day” prayers.

You are an example. Model prayers that will last. Jesus did just that with the Lord’s Prayer (Matt 6:9-13) Allow the Holy Spirit to help you pray God’s will (Rom 8 ) and you will most definitely be authentic.

Principles of family prayer (part 4)

Be inclusive

Family prayer, in its highest form, involves the whole family. Does God only speak to adults? Do children, even young ones, not need to bring adoration and supplication to their Heavenly Father? We must be careful to include even the youngest of our clan to talk to the Lord, and to hear from Him.

Let everyone express the Lord in their own ways. (1 Cor. 12:4-12) We all have unique ideas and vocabulary (especially children!) and prayer is not the time to be restrictive. Be careful correcting grammar or topics of prayer. When I pray with my children I take care that they are praying according to Scriptural guidelines, but aside from that I let them talk. I would not police their conversations with friends or grandparents, so why would I with God? Maybe they would rather draw a picture of their prayer, sing it aloud or write it in a poem. These are all wonderful ways to express prayer that everyone can join in on.

There are several examples in the Bible of the Children of Israel coming together for prayer and fasting, from the oldest to the youngest. They all called upon the Lord together. Parents are admonished to teach God’s ways to their children at all times. And make a study of the different types of prayer and how people expressed their individuality. Even a two-year old can pray simple prayers, even if they are repeated, until they can express their own thoughts.

Expect everyone to participate. Give opportunities to all. Anticipate what God will do in the hearts of your children as you encourage their prayers. If you expect more, they will rise to it.