Family Check-ins: Praying with Emotions

Making The Saint John’s Bible a Part of Your Home
National Bible Week 2015

“National Bible Week provides a unique opportunity for parents to revisit and renew their understanding of the power of the Word of God in the life of their family. As leaders of the ‘domestic Church,’ parents are encouraged to be not only the first but the best of teachers for their children in the ways of faith.” -USCCB

Day Six

Teach—Discuss with your children that God, who created us, gave us our ability to feel and that these feelings are our emotions. When we pray to God, we do not need to hide anything from him. Prayer is a time to be honest and express any feeling that we have, including the emotions that are considered “negative.”

Show— Throughout the Bible, there are a vast array of emotions expressed as people cry out to God in varying circumstances. Identify some Bible verses that show the variety of ways people express their emotions to God. After you read each one, discuss which emotion(s) it expresses.

Examples:

Joy & Gladness – Psalm 4:7; Psalm 149: 1
Sadness – Psalm 119:28
Humility – Psalm 8:4-5
Thanksgiving & Gratitude – Psalm 28: 6-7; Psalm 30: 11-12; Psalm 107:1
Sorry & Repentance – Psalm 51:3, 12
Distress – Psalm 120:1
Comfort – Psalm 23:4, Psalm 34:18
Assurance – Psalm 121:1-4, 7-8; Psalm 145:18-19

You can also use the illuminations to discuss the emotions you see depicted in The Saint John’s Bible. Search for faces and identify the expressions you find.

Brainstorm— Naming emotions can be difficult, it but can be more accessible if there is a list of emotions to reference. After discussing some of the emotions found in Scripture, spend time as a group thinking of as many emotions as you can. Write them down and leave room to add more as you think of them later. This list can be used each time you talk about feelings.

Check-in and Share—Many families already have a system for checking in with one another such as having each individual share the highs and lows of their day. There are many names and versions of this, but the concept is to give every family member the opportunity to express something good and something less than desirable that occurred throughout their day. By doing this in the context of reading Scripture, the connection will be made that God cares for the whole person and all aspects of human life. Invite each member of the family to identify how each particular high and low made them feel, referring to the list of emotions when necessary.

For example:

Today ____________ happened. Because of this, I feel ___________.

Pray: Allow each person to have time to express how they are feeling in a prayer directly to God. This may be done out loud to the group or silently. You may also choose to spend time writing your own psalms. Conclude with petitions that arise from what has been shared or reread one of the Psalms you used.

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