A time to connect, to ask, to listen, and to pray.
Life can be busy for families. In the midst of school and work, sports, music lessons, theater and everything else, it’s hard to find time to explore faith together as a family. We understand this challenge and offer you the Family Devotional. updated seasonally.
The season of Lent is here. During Lent, we make time to be with God. Every day we talk with God in different ways. Sometimes we pray with words. Sometimes we sing or listen to music. Sometimes we get out paints and crayons and create many-colored prayers. Colors are like a different language we can all speak even when we have no words. God understands.
At other times we make silence. We turn off the computer and our phones and stop talking for awhile. Then we practice listening. Sometimes we read stories from the Bible and we wonder about what God might be telling us. Sometimes we just sit and rest in the quiet.
During Lent we pay attention to how we live. We think about the choices we make every day. Lent lasts forty days and forty nights, plus six Sundays. Forty days is a long time. But it takes time to get ready.
Lent gives us the opportunity to grow in our relationship with God through intentional practices, especially together as a family. Lent isn’t really about what you “do,” but it is about re-focusing our spiritual life through prayer, fasting and giving. The resources we share below are intended to serve as simple suggestions for your family.
As we lead up to Easter over the next two months, how might your family prepare together?
Isaiah 58:6-9, The Message
This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer.
You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’
- Lent is a time to pray. How do you like to talk to and listen to God?
- Lent is a time to fast. When we withhold from a habit, it offers us the opportunity to turn our attention to God. Ideas for what you can fast from: a favorite tv show, dessert, or negative talk. Is there something you would like to give up for Lent?
- Lent is a time to give. You can give of yourself by volunteering at a local non-profit. You can give donations to an organization you care about. Or you can give your time by helping someone in your family or a neighbor. Is there some way you would like to give during Lent?
Dear Jesus, you are our friend at all times.
We pray that we may walk with you in faith, hope and love through the weeks of Lent.
Help us to grow in faith during this holy season and to be people of prayer always.
May we be aware of the needs of others so that we can reach out to them in your name.
Turn our hearts and our footsteps toward your kingdom of peace and justice.
We pray this through your Holy Spirit, who shows us the way to God’s love. Amen.
The Bible is less a book of answers than it is an invitation to explore and engage with stories and meanings. Through this Family Devotional, we invite your family to read the Bible Story together and ask questions, to use your imaginations, to see what catches your attention, and to consider how the story can relate to your lives.
The Story of the Pretzel
A very long time ago, there was a man who worked for God. His job was being a monk. He lived in a special place with other monks who spent their days praying and reading the Bible. They lived together in community in a place called a monastery.
Monks would make and grow their own food. One day in the kitchen the monks were making bread for the season of Lent, the six weeks leading up to Easter. During Lent, monks could not eat meat, eggs or milk. So they had to make a special kind of bread. The monk saw the leftover pieces of dough and decided to use the dough for something special. The monk formed the dough into long thin strips and then twisted it into a loop to form a new shape. The shape looked like the folded arms of children in prayer.
The monks gave this treat to children to teach them how to pray. They began to call the treat “pretiola” which is a Latin word meaning “Little Reward.” Soon it became known to the whole world as a pretzel. The shape of the pretzel reminds us that we can pray to God anywhere, anytime. So every time you see a pretzel, remember to take a moment to pray and talk to God!
| (estimated time for activity: 1 hour)|
Ingredients for the Dough:
2.25 tsp instant quick rise yeast
1 cup warm water 110 degrees F
1 tsp sugar
12.5 oz all purpose flour, by weight (2.5 cups, if measuring)
1/2 tsp sea salt
Ingredients for the Topping:
1/2 cup warm water
1 tbsp baking soda
vegetable oil for greasing the sheet pan
coarse sea salt for sprinkling
3 tbsp unsalted butter melted
|1. Combine the yeast, warm water, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, and let sit for 10 minutes until foamy. This indicates the yeast is alive and working. Add the flour and salt. Mix with the dough hook by hand for a few seconds to roughly combine, then fit the hook and bowl on the mixer and knead on medium low for 5 minutes. The dough should feel soft and smooth, not sticky to the touch.|
2. Cover the dough and let rise for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F, and lightly grease a baking sheet with vegetable oil. You could use parchment paper or a silicone mat.
4. Place the dough onto a lightly oiled countertop. Divide the dough into 8 pieces (just cut it with a knife).
5. Whisk to combine the warm water and baking soda and cook in the microwave for 1 minute. FYI it’s not going to dissolve completely, and that’s okay.
6. Roll each of the eight pieces into a long rope, and shape each one into a pretzel (see the step-by-step photos on the blog post to see how to do this). Dip each pretzel into the soda wash and place onto the greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, then let them rest for 10 minutes.
7. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes until the pretzels are golden brown. Brush the pretzels with the melted butter while they are hot out of the oven. Enjoy while they are hot, and keep in mind these don’t taste as amazing the next day. Enjoy!
Tricia Guerrero (right)
Pastoral Associate for Family Ministries
(310) 393-8258 ext. 104
Jamie Jones (left)
Children and Family Ministry Intern
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