But you are a chosen race who serve as Priests for The Kingdom, a holy people, a redeemed assembly; you should proclaim the praises of him who called you from darkness into his excellent light. (IPeter 2:9)
We made "priestly breastplates" for our time in prayer for others this week. We listened today to a pastor speak of Aaron's breastplate and how it was a reminder of how each of the tribes of Israel, symbolized by 12 gem stones set into the breastplate and laid over the pure white linen priestly garments, were carried into the tabernacle as the priest would intercede for them...In this way, the priest was truly carrying EACH person of Israel in before God's Presence...Later Christ would carry 12 disciples and then after dying for us and raising in resurrection, He would LIVE in intercession for us...
We suddenly got what we call around here, "a suddenly".
Since Jesus as our high priest has knighted us priests and kings of His Kingdom, why not make a breastplate to use in our times of intercession!! We too could "carry" 12 people before God every day.
The photo above shows the simplicity of our idea--12 circles on paper.
3 for family members--
We chose this time those family members who need salvation or healing. The kids loved choosing various people in our family. A couple even chose siblings but the prayer request had to be for something specific like a spirit of love/unity for that brother--something along gifted and kind lines!! We wrote the names in the circles and for the non-readers drew a little picture -- something that would remind them of that person, for example perhaps a cookie for a Grandma.
3 for friends--
I was amazed at how the children carefully thought through these choices. We had some choices for friends who need prayer for salvation, some who are sad, some who have special needs, some who need healing
3 for neighbors--
This was fun!! We now live on a busy street and have not gotten to know all of our neighbors--I think this prayer project will prompt this! Ava is praying for the family in the yellow house, the elderly lady in the blue house, and the couple in the brick house across the street--she can see every one of these houses from our living room window. Can't you picture her cute little face peeking out that window every day to check on her "gems"? I bet she will both fall in love with these precious people, thus we will have reason to meet them, and I know God will listen to a little girl's earnest prayers.
3 for strangers--
This was a harder concept for my littles. One wrote down policeman,fireman, cashier. Jack wrote, "lost people". Won't we have to make some friends now?!! The suggestions for the next children were to hold on this category until we could see some strangers and write them down this week as we go about our week OR think of some strangers we see every day and write them down. We asked God to bring some to mind...
And He did! Bruik, suddenly animated shouted out that he was praying for Africans. Ava is now praying for the mailwoman, and for two friendly muslim women who visited our lemonade stand this summer...she has now talked of them all night...they are already on the heart...
I love this category for faces become so much more precious ~YES, GEMSTONES ~ to our hearts as we pray for them. Who knows what God will do with this?!!
We lightly colored in over the names--they were already so excited!!
You could go so much more fancy with this with different foils and materials...perhaps faux gemstones...I could see the breastplate being made out of a paper plate (although they were rectangular) or hanging from a chain or yarn around the neck...I think the idea is WELL suited for adults too--Can't we all think immediately of people in each of these categories we could pray for every day?
Then we prayed over the names.
Sacred Beauty...from something SO simple..
But doesn't most beauty in this life come to us in containers such as this?
This is my happy "pray-er, Bruik.
He wanted to fold up the Breastplate, stick it in his pocket, and use it everywhere we go today--he told me!
Praying in a harvest...
We then hung the "breastplates" up in our stairwell on a clothesline of sorts..
The children have stopped by them to touch the circles and pray for people already as they pass them today--we will take them down for corporate prayer as a family. My teens and Richard and I will make some too and join in!!
This project was very dear to my heart for I am the product of a "harvest" more than 3 decades ago...In 1975 a sweet young woman, wife and mom of 2 looked out her window and saw my family playing outside...sweet Linda Wade, then in her twenties, I believe, committed to pray daily for our family's salvation. Within a year, my Dad became a Christian at a Bill Gotherd seminar, My mom got to know Linda and came to know Christ in a bible study Linda arranged to have at OUR house with other neighbor ladies...months later, after seeing sweet transformation and the joy of the Lord fill my parents, little 5 year old Gillian would place her trust and faith in Jesus...Boom!! All from one faithful woman's prayers. What if Linda had been too distracted or busy to pray, and then, what if she had been too shy to befriend and invite herself into my family's life? After all, there were many jokes about "those Jesus People" out there... Oh, I'm EVER thankful for one woman's obedience and discipline to bring me before Father God every day...Think of all the people who will NOT spend eternity in Hell and will spend it before the riches of Christ all because of simple actions and prayers and neighborly friendships...by the homemaker, the mom, the Grandma, the working man, the child peering out our living room window and across the street...
Peek out YOUR windows,your car windshield, your vantage from the checkout line, your view from the dropping kids off place, your place on the sports field,your work area room tonight...tomorrow...this week... and fill up the breastplate of prayer. Then PRAY!! Heaven will celebrate. Your Neighbors will thank you with eternal thank yous!!