Call to Prayer in Our Homes

Our family lives in Turkey, where five times a day, we either barely hear or are audibly assaulted by a man's voice singing the call to prayer (depending on how close we are to the nearest mosque). Last night, as the Arabic sounds came dancing into our open windows, I began thinking about what the "call to prayer" would look like in Christian homes.

Of course, our first reaction may be that we don't want to be legalistic or formulaic in our prayers and addresses with God, and that is true to a point. And yet the Old Testament is full of examples of external "reminders" of God's faithfulness for God's people. (Think of the altars built to recall a certain event, and the unflinching regularity of sacrificial offerings.) The church as a whole, particularly the American church, could do with a little discipline. Regularity and a consistent commitment in our walks with God would be a refreshing change from the have-it-your-way brand of casual, comfortable, and convenient faith of so many that call themselves "Christians".

Anyway, last night as the call to prayer rang out, I began asking myself, and I want to pose the question to you as well:

What things regularly happen in your home to remind you and your children to praise God and take your requests to Him throughout each day?
  • Regular times of prayer together (mealtimes, bedtime)?
  • Daily time spent reading Scripture?
  • Wall hangings/decor?
  • Praise & Worship music, audio Bibles, and Bible stories playing throughout the day?
  • Other?
I've shared some things about our home before (here and here)... but I'd like to hear from you and possibly get some fresh ideas for all of us to consider as we strive to raise our children to love God and take their burdens to Him, and as we strive to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. So tell me, what does the "call to prayer" sound like or look like in your home?

19 comments:

danica said...

I am the oldest of nine, and for awhile growing up, my mom adopted an hourly "call to praise." She set the oven timer every hour, and when it buzzed, dropped what she was doing and gave thanks to the Lord, out loud and with joy. She laughingly tells now of how many times that buzzer caught her when she was just about to lose her cool! :)

Catherine R. said...

I apologize if I always leave comments that are a reminder of how much growing I need to do...BUT, there are very few times that I am called to prayer in my home. Periodic guilt is the main one and I would really like for that to change. We have not developed a worship rhythm in our home (yet) and I really hope to do so.

Speaking of worship music too, I think I might need to open myself up to Christian music in general. I have spent many years as a music connoiseur/ snob and Christian music, especially contemporary Christian pop music, has always been too easy for me to dismiss as being poor quality/ corny and even a laughable imitation of the worst secular music. I wish I enjoyed worship at church too but it is always highly uncomfortable for me. I don't know exactly what my problem is aside from lingering attitudes from my worldly thinking that Christian music is dreadfully uncool. Maybe it's something else too.

ANYHOW! My husband and I probably need to 1. get over ourselves and 2. surround our senses with things that remind us to worship every day.

annie said...

We have frequent "calls to prayer" in our home! Some of them we started when we married, some when my daughter was born, and some when we moved to the area we live in now.

We pray first thing in the morning as soon as we wake up (our daughter sleeps with us), thanking God for the day and asking for wisdom, before each meal, before and after our daily family worship time, and before bed.

We usually have the radio or worship cds playing throughout the day. Our local radio station prays four times a day (once per segment) and we stop and pray with them if we have the radio playing (I don't like 90% of the music played on the radio, but I like variety and I like the prayer times so I end up listening to it more often than not). Otherwise we usually have Waterdeep, Vineyard, MorningStar, David Crowder or my former church's praise band cd playing and we bounce around the house singing throughout the day.

We also have various index cards with Scripture written out on them taped to walls and doors around the house. They're verses we want to memorize, what we feel God is impressing in our lives at that time, or verses of blessing or protection. It's nothing fancy, but it's helpful and (I hope) setting a good precedent for my daughter to surround herself with the loving Word of God.

I do like that hourly oven timer idea, though. :)

Wendy said...

We pray during school time and at meals, but we also have a special prayer time whenever we hear sirens. We've taught our children to pray for wisdom and safety for the emergency worker, the people they're helping or correcting, and for God's glory to be revealed in the situation. I have added a prayer for the wives and children of the police officers, EMTs and firefightes, since they often are on call and might have to leave family gatherings to go help in an emergency.

Our hope is that not only will our local heros be covered in prayer as they do their jobs, but that when our children grow up, wherever they are with their relationship with the Lord, they'll think of prayer and God's provison when they hear sirens.

:..Rebekah..: said...

I really enjoyed this post. I definately need more discipline. In our home we have regular times of prayer, such as bedtime and mealtime. We also have spontaneous times of prayer. For example, when we know of someone who is hurting or sick, or after the discipline of the kids, or when one of them is having a hard time about something(problem with a friend or at school, or fear of something). I listen to alot of christian music that will lead me to praise him and talk to him, but I don't have any wall hangings or decor with scripture on it, although I've always wanted some. You've actually inspired me in this area, because I've been planning to frame some of my photography, but now I think that I would love to also include scripture. I would love to see scripture all over my house(what great gifts that would make too).
I do need to establish more of a worship rhythm(as Catherine R. put it)in our home though, because I have always been weak in this area.
Thanks for this post...I'm challenged to grow in this area!

naomi said...

Catherine R-
Thank you for your honesty and realness.

Britt said...

Our "regular" prayers are done before we eat (even snack...my 21 month old will remind us when she folds her hands) and before bed.

But, other times throughout the day...we pray whenever we feel the urge - you know...I don't want to use the word "nagging" but sort of soul pushing please-pray-now sort of feelings. For example: I accidentally hit a sparrow while driving the other day (or rather he flew right into my van) and we prayed that God would take care of the bird...I felt God was urging me to show my girls how to show compassion for ALL of His creatures.

Terry said...

You know, I was reading Catherine's comment and I thougt I may be able to offer her a little help:

Find a CD of great hymns of the church. They are a wealth of Biblical encouragement and a welcome change from what passes as gospel music these days.

As for our family, we have sadly, no formal "call tp prayer" unless you count bedtime and meals. We do, however, have ongoing conversations daily about how each of our experiences that day provide opportunities to let our light shine and obey God in the face of challenging circumstances. That's one benefit of families having dinner togeter. More families should because it is a great ministry opportunity.

LisaM said...

I appreciate these thoughts/reminders so much today. My husband has traveled in Muslim countries before and related the same stories of the call. In India he watched the ritual Hindu prayers each morning on rooftops toward the sunrise. I felt - and still feel - convicted. Here we claim to have the True God, and to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, and yet we fall far behind in our dedication to worship in prayer. In our home, to answer your question, we are also a meal and bed time praying family, with extra times thrown in. Not very reverential or respectful of the awesomeness of God when you just "shoot up" a thought now and then as if He was just a guy sitting on the couch in the room. That's what's on my mind right now anyway. Thanks for your thoughtful posts. If only we will act on our thoughts!

Joy said...

I think one of my favorite "calls to prayer" is over my front door. I painted/stenciled it probably 48-72 hours after moving in, I felt so strongly about it. Our church had just been built not to soon before we bought our house, and before all the finishing work was done, they had parishoners come and pray over the church- they also wrote bible verses all over the church on the drywall, before they painted. It's even under the carpets. The church is literally covered in prayers and bible verses. So when we moved in to our house, I painted the blessing from Numbers 6:24-26 over the front door, where everyone can see it and everyone passes through. It reminds me daily to pray for those that are passing beneath it.

We also start the mornings with instrumental praise music set by alarm- the whole house wakes up this way.

Love all the suggestions and thoughts!

julie said...

hi!/merhaba!
your post caught my eye asap because i didn't know you lived in turkey. over the past 8 weeks my 8y/o son and i have lived in southern california at a ronald mcdonald house while my son was receiving treatment at ucla hospital. while at the house, we met and became close with a wonderful sweet family from turkey. they live in the mersin area of turkey. anyway, i am trying to find some way to communicate with them better. the husband had to go back to turkey and his wife and little daughter will need to stay in southern california while the little girl has extensive surgeries/treatment etc. my question for you is can you recommend any type of websites/language sites that would word for word translate my letters/cards to my friend while she is still at the ronald mcdonald house? she doesn't speak english as well as her husband did and he won't be returning for about 6 months. she is so lonely. our family has grown to love them so much. can you recommend anything? thank you so much for this. may Jesus bless you, julie

Anonymous said...

I had no idea you were in Turkey! I think of that as part of Europe, so when you said you were moving to Asia, I thought you meant east Asia or one of the former Soviet republics in central Asia.

I've never been to Turkey. There is so much history there--it must be a fascinating place to live.

Laurie B

Jess said...

Julie,
I don't have any great recommendations to make. One online language resource I use is called flashcardexchange.com. But that would only help you find individual words, not entire sentences and paragraphs. You could do a google search-- or you could even e-mail me a letter and my husband and I could try to translate it for you. (Extra language practice!) We'd be happy to try.

Aside from that, I don't have any great solutions. Sorry I can't be of more help.

~Jess

julie said...

thank you jess, i will look at that site and also try to see what i can come up with for you to translate. thank you for your kindness!
julie harris

Mrs. Amy Brigham said...

We have family prayers in the morning, evening, and after each meal. I also have a personal prayer time following my morning bible study and have a little prayer list of "mommy prayers" for other mothers who are expecting, having any sort of difficulty, hoping for children, and so on, and like to do these "mommy prayers" while nursing my precious little daughter. It just seems like the perfect time to pray for those dear people! :o)

We also play praise music every day, oftentimes hymns or else children's praise music, and find this adds such a wonderful, God focused positivity to our homes. And we celebrate Sabbaath every week--beginning with a night of special dinner, challah bread, prayers, worship music, bible study, and board games or crafts, either just as a family or with whoever else might want to stop in for the special night. Sean & I like to keep an "open door policy" for Sabbath, so anybody who wants to is welcome. It's a lot of fun and a wonderful way to stop & celebrate God's bountiful blessings each and every week.

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

This is kind of different from what your other commenters have mentioned, but one of the things that we try to do is use "triggers" in daily life to remind us to pray. A good example is the sound of a siren - we hear them often because we live in the city. Whenever we do, we say a prayer for the person/situation.

Lylah said...

fantastic post....didn't know your family lived in turkey...i'd like to read more as to your work there....lylahl@aol.com

blessings...lylah

Lisa said...

I'm not sure why, but I thought you were in one of the former Soviet republics. Our family lived in Turkey for five years - we're back stateside now, but miss Turkey. Would be excited to 'talk Turkey' if you're ever interested.

Mom said...

I really felt like I needed to comment on this one because of being there recently. Hearing the "call to prayer" for the first time "live" is still something I can't get out of my head. And, you are right, we should have times each day that we give praise to God. Your dad and I do pray together at mealtimes, and other times when we are concerned about someone, etc. I walk every day, usually for about 45 minutes and I really try and use that time for openly talking/praying to the Lord about things/family, etc. I absolutely love Praise and Worship music-in the car to and from work I listen to a Christian radio station all the time, and I really love it. I also have CD's at work, and pretty regularly listen to a CD off and on during the day-Favorites are Casting Crowns and Mercy Me, Johnny Cash singing hymns. It also helps me use all of the CD's that I have collected over the years. I do have a few wall hangings/pictures with verses on them. I work at church, and am blessed to have our pastor email daily devotionals to the staff. I don't always have time to stop and read them when he sends them out, but I have made a notebook and I print them out, and I'm trying to read a couple of them every day. Bible reading and prayer is where I really fall short sometimes. Your dad is so great at praying and remembering to pray at all times of the day. I want to work on that. I appreciate this section a lot. I also have thought about the "call to prayer", and have asked myself some questions.