When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, "Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." This was Job's regular custom. Job 1: 5In regard to my ongoing thoughts about homeschooling and grown kids, (I guess I didn't say absolutely everything I wanted to say) I've always loved this bit of Job I've quoted above. What a great idea! I don't make burnt offerings, but as much as my distractable self remembers to do so, I pray and offer up the trials of the day for them (and for future spouses of my children, as well).
I did not think this up on my own, obviously. Once when my mom was talking to me about some parenting mistakes she thought she had made, I asked her if she thought she had done anything really right and she said instantly: "I prayed. ALL the time."
Though I did not have children at the time I immediately made that my life model. Thank you Mom. In her last couple of decades, as her life got less busy, I know Mom was CONSTANTLY praying for all her grown children and their children. This has been very consoling to me. "I had a mother who prayed for me....." If there is one thing I want to do for my children, it is to pray for them, because I got scraped off the very edge of the boiling pot through grace, and I have to think my Mom's prayers had a lot to do with it.
No materials needed, no special abilities.... so easy. My main challenges are just (1) remembering to pray (2) intentionally carving out time to do so. Before I got sick I would wake up early in the morning and journal and pray. I haven't done this so well recently because my hands cramp when I write and if I pray in my head I get distracted very easily or fall asleep. But people who are very busy, or in poor health, or grieving or gravely preoccupied, or have focus issues, can pray in little aspirations during the day. They can even just offer up their difficulties in prayer. ... or ask others to pray for them (has gotten me through many a dark day).
Sometimes I also struggle with that thing where you feel you should do it yourself and not bother God, that you somehow have to win back into His favor before you reach out to Him, but hardly ever any more. When I feel like that I read Psalms or a bit of St Therese of Lisieux --- that always clears that attitude right up. Plus I've seen so many prayers accomplish so much where my efforts have gone absolutely nowhere.
Furthermore, they are always answered in such an odd, adventurous way that I never would have thought up by myself. Sometimes heartache is involved, yes, as with Job, but my true self, the one I want to become, does not mind that so much because it is somehow in touch with the day I will see the other side of the tapestry where there aren't knots and ravels and cut-off bits.