I barely get breakfast on the table before the two year old starts yelling, “PWAY-ER CHAIN! PWAYER-CHAIN!!”.
It took maybe a few days for this routine to set in. Sometimes her brother beats her to it. Either way, the
yelling chanting gets louder and louder until Mommy or Daddy removes a chain link from the prayer chain to see who we are going to pray for today. We originally were doing the prayer chain as a dinner activity, the meal where we were most likely to be all together, but after only a couple days of listening to the kids ask for the prayer chain from morning until dinner, we decided to make it an all day activity. Which means the person or people we’re praying for gets prayed for at all meals and usually bedtimes too. The kids’ enthusiasm has not waned!
Instructions: We use purple (for Lent) and white (for Sundays) construction paper. We cut them into 1 inch strips down the long side of the paper (so 11 strips per sheet). I date each strip on one side and write a person or family (or a cause like “world peace”) on the back for each day. Then I glue the strip in a circle (using a glue stick), connecting each link to the previous link and build the chain as I go. Choose a time when you’re all together and remove a chain link each day and pray for that person. Maybe even text the person or send them a card to let them know they have been prayed for.
- Let your kids pick the people for the chain. Last year, Matthan helped by suggesting people until he ran out of ideas. This year too, it has been a blast to hear who is on his brain. He came up with a significant portion of the list last year and this year. I also don’t write the people down in the order he gives them to me. They get SO excited about the mystery of who is going to be each day.
- Let them cut the strips for fine motor skill practice. This year, Matthan cut the strips and he thought this was SO MUCH FUN. (Keep a close eye on them with scissors).
- Let your kids write on the strips for handwriting practice. Since we squeaked the whole project in at the last minute by starting the night before Ash Wednesday and finishing up the day of, I ended up doing all the writing. We were just trying to get it done.
- Date each strip. I do this because when we miss a day (which inevitably happens at least once), I don’t have to count chain links and guess where we’re suppose to be. Also, when we travel, we grab the dates we’ll be gone and take them with us. I also number my strips…if you’re dating them, you probably don’t have to number them as well. Just remember to start 1 on Ash Wednesday and don’t count the Sundays in your 40 days of Lent.
We love the visual of watching the chain get smaller and smaller as we get closer to Easter. We’ve found this to be cheap and simple and easy to execute with little kids. And best of all, it has increased our prayer together as a family.
Have a blessed Lent!