Creative Ideas

Teaching My Kids to Pray God’s Word Plus FREE Scripture Prayer Cards

Teaching My Kids to Pray God’s Word Plus FREE Scripture Prayer Cards

 by Kimberly Amici

I wasn’t sure what to pray with my kids in the evenings. I got tired of giving thanks for the wonderful day and then asking God to give us a good night sleep. “Now I lay me down to sleep…” didn't seem like a good option.  I can remember as a little girl saying it before I’d go to sleep at night, though I could never remember if I was supposed to pray for my soul to keep or to take. Eventually, fearing that I was going to get it wrong, I stopped praying this prayer altogether.  [Continue Reading...]

Enjoy what you read? Share it with others...

Memorizing Scriptures from the Bible with Your Kids

Memorizing Scriptures from the Bible with Your Kids

It all started when I sent my kids off to their very first Vacation Bible School.

At the end of the week, they came home with a set of dog tags. Each tag featured a different Scripture they had learned. I could hardly believe it when my then three year old was able to recite more than one Bible verse to me, complete with body movements. “Wow, this is awesome!” I thought, then over the next few weeks I taught my kids a few more Scriptures.  [Continue Reading...]

Enjoy what you read? Share it with others...

Dear Me - My Story of Reflection

4-24-13 reflection.png

REFLECTION - A fixing of the thoughts on something; careful consideration.

Have you ever taken the time to reflect on the beauty of who God is and the many ways He has shaped your life?

Recently, I felt a tug on my heart to take time to dig deeper into my relationship with God. I sensed God leading me to write a letter to my younger myself.

I have to admit, at first, I thought this was a great idea. Then, as I started journaling, I wasn’t so sure. I soon realized how hard this was going to be. Not necessarily because it was painful to look back, but because there was so much I wanted to share with this young, precious girl.

What is the purpose of reflection?

While it’s not healthy to live in the past, I have found there are times when the Holy Spirit prompts a time of reflecting back on my life.  He’s at work in ways I may not recognize at first, but proves to always benefits me in the end. (Instead of the above sentence: I don’t always understand the purpose of the prompting, but this Spirit-led process always benefits me in the end.

In writing this letter to myself, God has taught me:

To See God More Clearly

Psalm 106:2 (NLT) | Who can list the glorious miracles of the Lord?

As I looked back on my childhood, I experienced an eye-opening recognition of how God has loved, saved, rescued, healed, provided, protected, guided me throughout my entire life. Even though I have been through many hard experiences, knowing looking back I know that God was there for me through it all. It is a wonderful comfort.

To Encourage Others

Psalm 40:10 (NLT) | I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness.

Walking down memory lane and having the Holy Spirit show me all the ways He cared for me, gives me great joy. That joy overflows to others as I share the good news of Jesus Christ and all that He has done for me. We all have a story to tell and our story is powerful…yes, even the good, bad, and the ugly!

To Forgive Others and Myself

Matthew 6:14-15 | If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

The Lord used times of reflection to reveal where that has been unforgiveness in my life. I have found out how important it is to forgive. Forgiveness frees me from the bondage of bitterness and pain, and closes the door that can allow the enemy access to my life. Sometimes we can easily see our unforgiveness; other times we have to ask God to show us. Regardless, unforgiveness holds us captive. Let’s not wait another day to forgive the offenses others have committed against us. We also need to forgive ourselves so we can be free.

To Remind Myself That Disappointments Happen…But God Is with Me

John 16:33 (NLT) | I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

The Bible is clear that we will encounter trials and sorrows even as Christians. There may be times that we have a life altering experience or endure a circumstance beyond our understanding.  During those times we may be tempted to take our eyes off of Jesus. This is when reflection can be one of the most powerful tools we have, especially if we’ve written down our reflections. Not only can we read His Word and renew our mind with His promises, but we can also take out our journal and revisit what God has shown us about the past. This empowers us to fight, to praise, to worship Him in the midst of any circumstances!

Even though reflection typically happens at the end of December as people make resolutions for the New Year, we need not wait until then. Periodic introspection is beneficial. Doing this through writing a letter to my younger self helped me clearly see how far God has carried me in my past. I am encouraged knowing He will continue to carry me into my future.

Do you ever reflect back on where God has been in your life? Do you journal or write this down…or maybe even write a letter to your younger self? Tell us here.

DJ Pic.jpg

Diana Jones is a compassionate wife, mother, grandmother and friend. She is passionate about sharing God's love and all that He has done throughout her life. She is also looking for opportunities to grow spiritually through reading, prayer, singing and being in fellowship with others. She is thankful for the opportunity share her stories here at Circles of Faith. You can follow her at Twitter

Enjoy what you read? Share it with others...

Seeking and Finding Retreat and Renewal

4-17-13 turning 60.jpg

An Unconventional Way of Celebrating 60

I recently turned 60. Months before the date, my loving family and friends began asking me how I wanted to celebrate: a party, a weekend with friends, a trip, etc. Each was fun in its own way, and I considered them all. But when I finally gave myself permission to stop and consider—apart from any of these ideas—what my wish would be, I realized that what I longed for was something very different. I longed for time to be still, to listen for the voice of God; I longed for renewal. 

The seeds of this birthday wish were planted eight years ago when I began my work as a hospital chaplain. As the sole Protestant on the Spiritual Care staff at a Catholic hospital, I learned—and continue to learn—so much from the godly Sisters and priests with whom I have the privilege to work. Perhaps most impressive for me early on was this: the Sisters were obligated by their communities to designate time each year for retreat. This, I must emphasize, was separate from their vacation days. It was considered part of the work; a requirement for sustenance and growth and fidelity in their vocation. How enlightened!  The little bit I have tasted over the years of the benefits of retreat have only served to make me want more, but lacking a community or authority mandate….it hasn’t  happened. Here, in the context of a milestone birthday when I felt free to choose whatever I wanted, was my opportunity.

I took the time to pray until this longing metamorphosed into a concrete plan that would actually serve as a birthday celebration. 

As I prayed, the steps became clear. 

1. Where—The meeting place would be a local retreat property run by the Sisters of Mercy. 

2. Who to Lead—The leader I asked was a woman I’ve long admired: a Christian counselor and godly, prayerful woman who passed her 60th birthday milestone nearly 20 years before mine. 

3. Whom to Invite—I felt strongly that I wanted to spend the day with women, but didn’t want to exclude men—especially those in my family, from the celebration. The solution was to spend the day with sisters, and in the evening, have a dinner celebration in our home with spouses, etc., included.  

4. The biggest challenge—Do I invite only my friends with whom I share a faith? My like-minded sisters? Or, with full disclosure, do I invite all of my closest friends and let them decide whether or not to come to the Christian retreat and dinner, or just the dinner. In the end, that’s what I did, trusting the Lord to sort it out. 

Following is an excerpt from the invitation that I sent to my family and friends: 

I’m turning 60. As I’ve considered the options for marking such a milestone I realize that what I want most of all is time to be still; to trace the movement of God in my life over these past 60 years, and to re-tune my focus for whatever is ahead.

I want to know that this adventure of trying to live for God will only deepen and grow. I want to defy that still, small voice within me (and the huge, monstrous, deafening voice within culture) that relegates these years to a post-peak descent, sprinkled with occasional perks and graces. I want to know that this temporal existence—even and especially NOW—has the potential to explode beyond the boundaries I have drawn with my own subtle but potent (and fear-fed) values to stay safe, stay in control and look good while you’re doing it (with, of course, only a modicum of success at any of them). And I KNOW that “explosion” can happen because we follow Jesus—the unpredictable, uncontrollable, unsafe incarnation of love and goodness and truth and freedom. 

So that’s what I want to focus on, but I don’t want to do it alone.

I want to have a “retreat” day. I want to invite my sisters and a few close friends…..

To my surprise, of the 15 women I invited, only one declined the retreat day. 

It felt like heaven. Sitting in this holy, prayer-soaked retreat center with the women who mean the most to me in the world; knowing each one had worked hard to wrest this time from their busy schedules. For my Christian sisters, this was familiar territory. For those who may not be practicing Christians…what joy to see them all together!!! And, how brave of them to accept and open themselves to this new experience. 

The morning began with Jessie—our facilitator—reading a well-chosen Scripture, inviting us to respond, then sending us out to enjoy the beautiful grounds in silent contemplation. That order was repeated throughout the day. 

My greatest gift of the retreat: 

I had stated in the invitation that I wanted to “trace the movement of God in my life.”

Little did I realize that so much of that that movement would be reflected in the faces of those women in the room.

My only complaint: 

One day was not enough. Sharing in group time and over our meal was so sweet; sharing quiet together, even sweeter. We all left, I think, longing for more. 

Perhaps that longing had something to do with the verse that Jessie chose to form the substance of our meditation that day.  I offer it to you now: 

Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

Susie Minno Head Shot.JPG

Susie Minno is a hospital chaplain living and working in Bucks County, Pa. She is married to David, and the mother of three adult children. Chaplaincy is a second career for Susie, and she is daily delighted and forever grateful that God surprised her with this calling so late in the game, granting a desire of her heart that she never realized she had. (Her hero of the moment is Mother Antonia, founder of the Servants of the Eleventh Hour.)

photo credit: Aih. via photopincc

Enjoy what you read? Share it with others...

Creative Ideas to Focus on Your One Word

Creative Ideas to Focus on Your One Word

by Kimberly Amici

There has been a lot of talk online about choosing One Word for the New Year. In fact, we just talked about it here at Circles Of Faith the other day.  The whole idea is that instead creating a resolutions list, you choose one word to be  your motto for the year. Choosing just one word can help fine-tune your thinking, creating focus throughout the next twelve months.

Enjoy what you read? Share it with others...

Prayer Boards: An Effective and Fun Way to Stay Connected

by Noelle Rhodes

One of the challenges of being a missionary, living an ocean away from friends and family, is staying ‘connected’ to them. Thanks to modern technology , we now have ‘skype’ and ‘facetime’ to help stay in contact with those far away. But no thanks, to the minimum five-hour time difference, chatting with folks back home can get tricky.

Enjoy what you read? Share it with others...

7 Ways to Celebrate Your New Year

by Elise Daly Parker

There seems to be as many ideas for celebrating as there are people who celebrate. Choosing how you’ll mark the New Year may be as hard as keeping resolutions. So here are a few ideas that work for me, along with some creative ideas from others I’ve come across recently.

Enjoy what you read? Share it with others...