The Habit of Prayer {31 Lessons From My Amish Family}

 

The Lord's Prayer in Deutsch Photo Credit, Kathryn Dienner

The Lord’s Prayer in Deutsch
Photo Credit, Kathryn Dienner

“Prayer is a moment of incarnation – God with us. God involved in the details of my life.” ~ Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life

My sister and I were sharing memories of our grandparent’s prayer habits today. After we conversed I was utterly overwhelmed by this priceless fact: As grandchildren, our most precious and vivid memories of our dear grandparents are the habits of prayer they humbly and beautifully displayed to us day in and day out. God was at the center of every part of their lives.

They prayed in the morning. They prayed before and after meals. They prayed during evening devotions, and again before bed. They prayed when times were good, and they also prayed through the most difficult seasons imaginable. Prayer was such an integral part of their daily routine I cannot even imagine trying to describe their lives without it.

When meal time came at Grussdaudy & Grussmommy’s house, we joined around the table and reverently bowed our heads in silent prayer, giving thanks to God for His provision. Grussdaudy sat in a beautiful old wooden chair on rollers placed at the head of the long handcrafted table, with sweet Grussmommy seated to his right.  Us grandchildren were lined up on wooden benches along each side. The Old Order Amish pray silently before and after their meals. We knew the prayer was over and we could lift our heads by the squeak that came from Grussdaudy’s chair as he leaned back.

As my maternal grandparents were New Order Amish, they spoke the mealtime blessing aloud. My sister recalls Grandpa’s dear & familiar prayer.

“Grandpa’s mealtime prayer, as I remember, always started out with, “Our kind, righteous, eternal heavenly Father…, we come before you this… (morning, noon, evening…) hour. We thank you for your many blessings…We thank you for Jesus…We thank you for the cross. We thank you for this here food that is set before us. We…ask that you would bless it and bless… the hands that…have prepared it. In Jesus’ name we pray,  Amen.”

The memory of my grandfathers leading their families in prayer throughout the day is so strong and dear to us that it literally brought my sister and I to tears while reminiscing.

I remember walking by Grussdaudy & Grussmommy’s open bedroom door at bedtime, and seeing the sillouette of them side by side, kneeling in prayer at their bed. What a powerful picture of humility and reverence it burned onto my heart. My sister shared; “I also vividly remember Grandma and Grandpa praying together on their knees that all of their children and grandchildren would follow the Lord”.

The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
Psalm 16:6 (NASB)

Thank you Lord for praying grandparents. Their legacy of faith is the greatest treasure any grandchild could ever ask for. You have blessed me indeed!

My grandparents taught me what it looks like to live a life with the habit of powerful, continual, grateful, humble and beautiful prayer. May we all display such constant light and truth, and leave an impression of Jesus on the memory of those who walk through life beside us.

~ Justina Dee

This is post number eleven of a series I’m sharing called “31 Lessons From My Amish Family”. Click here to read more. 

Links: 

Müde Bin Ich, Geh’ Zur Ruh
Translation by Margaret Loewen Reimer

Müde bin ich, geh’ zur Ruh, (Weary now, I go to rest,)
Schliesse meine Augen zu. (Close my eyes in slumber blest.)
Vater, lass die Augen dein (Father, may Thy watchful eye)
Über meinem Bette sein. (Guard the bed on which I lie.) Amen

My mother taught this German prayer to us as children, and I’ve done the same with my daughters. Saying the prayer is one of our favorite bedtime traditions. Click here to read a beautiful piece on the history of this traditional German children’s prayer. Three additional verses can be found as you scroll down to page six of the document. Here’s a video link to the prayer: 

Click here to hear The Lord’s Prayer in High German, as my Amish Grandfather prayed in closing of the family’s evening devotions. 

Justice Issues – The Single Most Important Thing Families Can Do

The most important thing a family can do to end injustice is pray together

This broken world is full of ugliness and injustice everywhere we look. Human trafficking, sexual exploitation, child slavery, religious persecution, ethnic cleansing and abortion, among countless other issues. If we’re not aware of the facts, we’ve simply chosen to comfortably close our eyes.

There are many ways families can become involved with solving and ending these atrocities. But where do we start? What can we possibly do in our own little corner of the world…with babies and toddlers and students and work and school and LIFE?

I believe the single most important thing a family can do to end injustice is PRAY TOGETHER. Informed intercession is a powerful thing. 

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:11-13, NASB

Children are incredibly important in the Kingdom of God. The prayers of our little ones are a powerful thing. 

Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger. Psalm 8:2 NIV

A praying, believing, unified family is a powerful thing.

Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. Matthew 18:19 ESV

Several things happen when we intercede on behalf of the people who so desperately need justice, and can be found in every area of our planet.

First, God answers our prayers. He really does! Our prayers are effective! He is for the downtrodden, for those in bondage and slavery. He cares deeply about the widows, the orphans and those who are being mistreated. He loves to answer our prayers on their behalf!

Next, as our families pray for these people, our hearts begins to come in line with the Father’s heart on these issues. And as we are given His understanding and insight, we begin to know what it looks like for us to take action as a family. Together, our family can ask God, “what do you want US to do about these horrible things?” And when we have chosen to become informed to these issues of injustice around us, God will make it abundantly clear to us what it looks like for OUR FAMILY to get involved and be part of the solution. However small the action may seem, it is not insignificant. Rather, it is of vast importance in carrying out God’s purposes and sharing His love and redemption.

So, how does a family pray for “justice issues”?

Here are three ways to get started:

1. Decide together as a family to become informed and to pray on a regular basis for these things. We need not go into the dark details of what is happening with our young children, but simply explain that there are people who are being treated unfairly, and they need us to pray for them. Little ones have a great sense of justice, and understand far more than we give them credit for. Children love to pray for people! Show them a map of the world and point to the places and areas you are praying for together.

2. Our prayers must be saturated with the Word of God and guided by the Holy Spirit. Look up verses about God’s power, justice and might together. Find out what He says about orphans, the downtrodden, and those who are unfairly treated. Look together in the Bible for descriptions of God’s character; His faithfulness and everlasting, never-ending lovingkindness, and the way He loves to rescue people. Then pray from that understanding. It’s that simple! Our prayers do not need to sound fancy or “religious”. All that matters is our fervent heart, coming from a place of understanding what God has done for US, and how He has saved US. We also love to play praise and worship music in the background while we pray, and join along and sing at any time.

3. Find other families who have the same passion for human trafficking and justice issues, then set time aside to join in your home and pray together!  

In closing, this is my prayer for your family:

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. Colossians 1:9-12 ESV

May you be blessed as you live & breathe, and see & move & pray through the lens of His love for us and for the world.

~ Justina Dee

Link : Human Trafficking Prayer Guides