Creative Ways to Serve, Play and Pray this Fall (Downloadable PDF)

Creative Ways to Serve, Play and Pray this Fall

Searching for ways to make the most of this season?

Let’s set aside the TV, phones, and other devices ⏤ Fall is here! Crisp winds, punkin’ patches, football, and fur-lined boots. Yes, please.

Gather the family—whether that’s two or twenty—and choose a favorite activity to boost your time together, and especially with the Lord. After all, a family that serves, plays, and prays together, stays together.

 

Serve Together

🍁 Host a yard sale and give the proceeds to a church fund, missionary, or charity.

🍁 Donate to a local missions store. If you prefer to skip the yard sale, you can still spend time together as a family gathering clothes, housewares, and toys to donate. Make plans to stop by for a treat on the way home.

🍁 Treat an elderly or disabled friend to a yard cleanup day. Rake leaves, trim shrubs or pull weeds. Yard work offers service opportunities for all ages. Want to go a step further? Leave a bucket of mums or another fall floral arrangement to brighten their porch.

🍁 Bake pumpkin bread together. Wrap up the loaf and attach a small note with Psalm 34:8, “Taste and see that the LORD is good,” written on it. Brighten the day of a lonely neighbor or friend by hand-delivering it with a smile.

 

Play Together

As a family, brainstorm twelve activities that won’t require a great deal of prep or money. Write each one on a slip of paper and put it in a jar. Draw one slip (or more!) every week and decide the best day to carry it out. Some ideas might be:

🍁 Take a nature walk to engage your senses. What catches your eyes? How does a particular leaf feel? (Steer clear of poison ivy, of course!) How does the air smell in a forest? What do you hear? (Silence counts!) As you walk, gather color-coated leaves, rocks, acorns, and evergreen branches to decorate your mantle or tabletop when you return home.

🍁 Go on a picnic. Choose a lovely location. Maybe it’s beside a creek, on a mountain, in a park, or your own backyard. Let the children help plan the menu and prepare it for the picnic. Or plan to pick up a bucket of chicken. Don’t forget a blanket/tablecloth, utensils, napkins, and bug spray.

🍁 Game night! Whoever chooses this slip of paper gets to choose which game the family plays. Turn off the TV and turn on the laughter.

🍁 Popcorn & Puzzles. Create a designated table to work on a puzzle throughout the fall season. On the nights this slip of paper is drawn, plan to serve popcorn and lemonade or any family favorite food/drink.

 

Pray Together

Teaching our children that meaningful prayer can be both simple and enjoyable is a gift they will carry throughout their adulthood. Here are a few ways to get the creative juices flowing when praying as a family:

🍁 Walk & Pray. Before you set out, as a family, discuss various ways to pray for your neighbors, such as God’s blessings, God’s healing, for them to draw closer to God, for wisdom as a family, etc. Perhaps there are neighbors who need specific prayer. Share how God is the only One who truly knows what each person or family needs but that He honors our desire to pray for them. Then take a walk around your neighborhood. You can either pray quietly as you pass by neighbors’ homes or silently while keeping your eyes open. This helps children to learn that while closing our eyes during prayer helps us to concentrate it’s also okay and biblical to pray with our eyes open too.

🍁 Journal as a family. Purchase or create journals for every person in the family. Set aside a few minutes each night to journal together. Consider lighting gas logs or candles while you write. Younger children will enjoy coloring during their time. Setting aside fifteen minutes each night (or weeknights/weekends only) will help to develop a pattern that is sure to bless your children for many years to come.

🍁 Create a prayer board. Hang a designated “Prayer Request Chalkboard” in an accessible place in your home. When prayer requests arise, write them on the board and pray for them after dinner.

In a world that currently thrives on division, it’s refreshing to intentionally create togetherness.

What would you add to the above list and/or which one will you try first? We’d love to know! 

Keep this list handy! Download your PDF copy here.

(If you received a copy of “31 Ways to Pray for Your Children” or “Praying Throughout Your Home”, you’re in the right place. Welcome!)

[This post was shared first on the In The Quiver site.]

 

Pauses for the Vacationing Soul Mountain Devotional Guide

God is Still Speaking Through This Devotional (And How to Win a Copy!)

Awaken by Priscilla Shirer

 

It’s the only devotional I’ve read four (soon to be five) consecutive times.

Priscilla Shirer’s Awaken: 90 Days with the God Who Speaks welcomes my soul like an old familiar friend. It settles in smoothly but never grows weary of speaking truth and timely words of advice. Who wouldn’t want to welcome this kind of friend over and over again?

 

One benefit of reading a devotional multiple times, especially when jotting down notes along the way, is to see how God is moving and stretching us over a span of time.

 

For instance, on the second read-through, these questions were posed: What are you waiting on God for right now? What does faith and confidence look like, knowing He’s undoubtedly working for you in the distance? I answered, “I’m waiting to see God’s plans for my book.” The next time I read it, a few months later, I answered, “Thank you for Cynthia Ruchti — my dream agent — and thank You for confirming Your work in my life.” I paused to consider God’s goodness in bringing this dream to fruition.

You may remember my first post on this devotional, but I’m here to testify that the joy discovered under Shirer’s tutelage continues to build. Pour a cup of tea and savor these excerpts from Awaken:

 

Day 70

“Storms will do that to you sometimes–wash you ashore in unfamiliar places, around unfamiliar people. But if not for the storm (Acts 28:7-9), Paul wouldn’t have been in this location to meet these people and help them. God’s sovereignty had not been shipwrecked by the storm. His plans were not derailed just because the sailors’ plans had been thrown off course. God’s hand had steered them to the exact place where revival was primed to break out. And the storm was the instrument He used to do it. Are you in a fierce storm right now? Are you watchful and mindful of the various places it’s unexpectedly taking you and all the various people it’s unexpectedly introducing you to? Next time you’re frustrated or perplexed by where your latest storm has dumped you, pray for the joy of discovering that God is using this storm to intersect your life with someone else’s life, becoming part of answering their prayer, even as He’s answering yours.”

A fierce wind called the “northeaster” rushed down from the island. Since the ship was caught and unable to head into the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along. Acts 27:14-15

Day 78

“From your current vantage point, you may not be able to see how God is working out His purposes in your life. You’ve gotten your feet wet. You’ve tried to believe. But life just seems to roll on like always before, oblivious to your prayers and to the faith you’ve placed in God’s ability to change things. But be convinced that even though God may be working a great distance away, He is working. He hasn’t forgotten you or His promises to you. He has not run into a snag that may prevent Him from following through.”

The vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3

Day 88

“The tumor is still there. Your family is still in crisis. The church is still without a pastor. Your son or daughter still can’t find work. It’s one thing to believe that God is able to do anything He wants. He is God. You know that. But it is quite another thing to believe that He is willing and able to do it for you.”

Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yes, our God is compassionate. Psalm 116:5

Day 90

“An encounter with God is meant to change us. To stagger us. To blind us to old pursuits, interests, ambitions, and fleshly desires, while miraculously opening our internal vision to eternal pursuits. What a waste to simply get up and go back to our normal habits after being in His presence and sensing the exhilaration of His nearness–after powerful moments in His Word, in prayer, in places where He’s made His way so plain to us.”

The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. Psalm 119:130

 

Does a particular sentence or excerpt stand out? We’d love to know! Comment below, and you’ll automatically be entered into a random giveaway for a copy of Awaken! 

(And if you received a copy of “31 Ways to Pray for Your Children” or “Praying Throughout Your Home”, you’re in the right place. Welcome!)

 

Break Free from Spiritual Claustrophobia!

I’m no stranger to claustrophobia.

Let’s see. There’s the time I almost took out an entire Boy Scout troop trying to get out of the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, and the time I climbed six stories instead of taking the elevator…two weeks after a c-section.

Enclosed spaces squeeze my lungs and numb every limb on my body (except those required to climb over scouts).

 

King David also knew something about cramped places.

 

While on the run from Saul and his enemies, he spent many a day crouched in the cleft of a rock or sleeping in deep dark caves. But in Psalm 18, David tells how God drew him out of “deep waters”, rescuing him from his enemies.

Most of us won’t find ourselves hiding in a dark cave — but what about these spiritually cramped spaces?

  • an unteachable spirit
  • unforgiveness
  • discontentment
  • bitterness

No one wants to be hemmed in with these enemies of our faith. Though not framed in flesh and blood, each has the potential to limit the freedom that is ours in Jesus:

 

An unteachable spirit

 

Proverbs 12:15 (The Message) sums it up like this: Fools are headstrong and do what they like; wise people take advice.

The opposite of headstrong is obedience, God’s love language. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:3) Just as God delighted in David because of his trust in Him (Ps. 18:19), He also delights in us when we intentionally cultivate a teachable, obedient heart. Oh, the places God wants to take us with a teachable spirit!

 

Unforgiveness

 

Allowing thoughts of vengeance, anger, and bitterness to take root in our hearts is to slap down bricks on our own walls, hindering God’s work in and through our lives. It’s no secret that unforgiveness confines us, not those in need of our forgiveness.

 

 

Recently, in our Creative Pauses Facebook Group, women shared some of the most moving testimonies on the power of forgiveness I’ve ever read. They could’ve easily chosen to stay imprisoned by unforgiveness and the world would’ve understood. Instead, they chose forgiveness because of the forgiveness they’ve received from Jesus. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)

 

Discontentment

 

Few things drain God’s power from our lives than grumbling.

 

When we choose contentment, we open ourselves to God’s best, freeing us to be the women God created us to be. Now that’s a spacious place!

 

Bitterness

 

“Anger and bitterness are formidable detriments to biblical love, harmonious relationships, and maturity in Christ. Failing to put off anger and bitterness grieves the Holy Spirit, gives Satan an opportunity in your life, obscures your witness to others, and disrupts the unity in the Body of Christ. Dealing biblically with anger and bitterness requires wholehearted obedience to God’s Word in every circumstance and with every person, even if your feelings dictate otherwise.” John Broger

One freeing truth about God’s commands is this: He doesn’t command us to do anything that He has not equipped us to carry out. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Ephesians 4:31 ESV

 

 

Trusting God unlocks the cage of spiritual claustrophobia.

 

Trust is the key and obedience turns the lock to provide a spacious place ⏤ unspeakable peace, joy, limitless opportunities, and abundant living!

Creative Pausers, God doesn’t want to confine us⏤He wants to free us! {Thank You, Jesus!}

What (or who) is God asking you to trust Him with today?

 

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