When my children were young, I noticed that we would mention an extended family member in a conversation but the children wouldn’t know who we were talking about. Since they saw those family members only occasionally, they didn’t remember them.
A Prayer Photo Album really helped in that situation. I collected a photo of each member of our extended family and compiled those photos in a photo album, one family or individual per page. We also included some friends who lived near or far away, as well as missionaries that our family or church supported.
Each day we would pray for one or two of those friends and family. We would open the album, look at the next photo in the book, and tell that person’s name. If it was a family’s group photo, we reminded the children of everybody’s names. Then we prayed for that person or family.
This practice was a great reminder of absentee relatives or friends. The next time we mentioned one of those people, the children had a face to go with the name. But it also helped to establish the habit of praying for others.
We soon discovered that the Prayer Photo Album could get a bit monotonous if we didn’t know what was happening in those people’s lives. We would have to pray a “generic” prayer for each one, and that got old after several days in a row. So the album was also a great motivation to keep in touch with family members and friends.
These days, with all the social networking Internet sites or even just e-mail, staying in touch can be pretty easy—if you make it a priority. You could make it a point to contact, say, the next five people in the book to find out what is going on in their lives. You wouldn’t necessarily have to ask, “How can we pray for you?” Once you know what is happening in their world, you will have a pretty good idea of how to pray. But feel free to let them know that you are praying for them regularly, if you think it would encourage them.
A Prayer Photo Album—a simple and effective way to value friends and family, plus instill the habit of praying for others.