Pray Without Ceasing: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for time to feed our faith as a family, and time to remember to take the time to pray.  Help our time together to be a holy time.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Bible Verses:  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NRSV)
Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Questions to Ponder:

  1. What is tough about these verses for you? What do you have trouble understanding?
  2. What do you like about these verses? What is your favorite part, and why?
  3. What is a story you can remember as you think about these verses? It might be about a time when you were thankful, or wanted to do something all the time, for example.
  4. What is God up to in these verses? What is God calling you to do or to be because of these verses?

This Family God Time idea came about because my girls received Prayer Boxes from their godmother for Christmas.  They look like this:


She purchased them pre-made in a gift shop, but I am sure that you could easily make your own from an Altoids tin or a travel soap container and some stickers.

Since receiving these boxes, our girls have come up to us at all times of the day, on all days of the week, to ask us to write down a prayer that they would like to put in their box (two of our girls can’t yet read, and the oldest likes to make sure that her spelling is correct).  Because they are embodying this idea to “pray without ceasing,” I thought that it would be a good snow day activity to make some really special cards to put in their prayer boxes.

Song:  Pray About Everything
This is the song that we listened to as we made our cards.  I like this version because the actions are clear without being too much.  Enjoy!

Activity:  Prayer Cards
I am calling this a snow day activity because it involves more than one step with drying time in between.  You can choose to spread it out over the course of a day, or, as in the case of my family, do one step per day until they are complete.  If you want to go the quick route, you can simply color the background with markers, crayons, or colored pencils and then add inspirational stickers right away.  Here’s how we did it:

Materials Needed:
Water color paper, cut into small pieces that will fit, unfolded, into your prayer box.
Water color pencils
Thin paintbrushes and small dishes of water
Bible Journaling stamps (we used “Pray without ceasing” to fit our theme)
Black ink


  1. Use the water color pencils to color in the background of each piece of paper.  We used mostly stripes, with some on an angle.  IMG_20180123_100343891
  1. Turn the backgrounds into water color backgrounds using the small brushes and dishes of water.  Start with the lightest colors and move towards the darkest colors, washing out your brush in the water in between colors.  Allow to dry completely.  IMG_20180126_084222948.jpg
  1. Stamp the Bible Journaling saying over the top of the background using black, or another dark or complementary color of ink. Allow to dry completely.  IMG_20180124_104706040
  1. Place in your prayer boxes. The next time that you want to “pray without ceasing,” write your prayer on the back of these pretty cards!

Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith!  I hope that this time was holy time for you.

Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you that you are always ready to listen to us, and that we are able to pray without ceasing.  Help us to rejoice in this gift of prayer always.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Be Strong: 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13


Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for time to feed our faith as a family, and time to learn about how you make us strong.  Help our time to be holy time.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
This week’s story is a letter of encouragement written by Paul, an early church leader.  I recently purchased the Whirl Lectionary Bible, and this was my youngest daughter’s favorite story as we flipped through it for the first time.  We always call her our small but mighty kid, so this favorite did not surprise me.  You can look this story up in the Whirl Bible, your family Bible, or you can follow the link to an easy to read version here:

Discuss as a family:  How did Paul encourage the people in Thessalonika through this letter to them? Tell a story about a time that you needed encouragement.  Tell a story about a time when you encouraged someone else.  How can you, as a family, encourage someone you know?

Activity:  Cards of Encouragement
Our family decided that one way to encourage someone else was to follow Paul’s example and make cards for those who need encouragement.  We used scraps of paper, paper punches, glue dots, and pens to make our cards.  All of my daughters love using paper punches, and I was just too chicken to break out the stamp pads with 2 ½ year olds.  Use what you have on hand, and have fun.  You can see the pictures, below.

The only limit is your (and your kids’) creativity!  I delivered a few of the cards right away, and my oldest daughter is still making these cards in her spare time.

Song:  Be strong!
This song is one that I learned at our synod’s high school retreat this past winter.  Even though it quotes Joshua 1:9, I thought it fit well here.  Here are the lyrics:

We made up motions to the song as well:
Be strong (muscle arms) Joshua 1:9
Be strong (muscle arms) and courageous
Do not (shake your finger “no”) be terrified
Do not (shake your finger “no”) be discouraged
For the Lord your God (sign “God”) is with you (hug self)
Wherever you go (spread arms out).

Again, my youngest daughter really got into this.  She loves to be strong, and loves anything that celebrates strength.  I hope your family likes it, too!

Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith!  I hope that this time was holy time for you.

Closing Prayer: (Can be a repeat after me prayer if you have non-readers in your family)
Thank you, God, for this holy time together to feed our faith as a family.  Bless us as we remember that are the one who gives us strength.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.