We've all made them - the countdown paper chains - counting down days until Christmas, until vacation, until birthdays. It's a great visual for children to see days getting closer to something they are looking forward to experiencing. It builds anticipation and excitement.
But what if we took the countdown chain a step further, adding an element that will focus our hearts on Jesus while we countdown? We could turn a simple countdown into a discipleship tool to teach prayerful anticipating and expectation to our children.
How to Make a Prayer Countdown Paper Chain
Cut construction paper in 1.5 inch strips.
Write numbers on each paper strip according to your countdown calendar (i.e. if you have 25 days left, write each number on a strip of paper 1 through 25).
Write simple words next to each number to guide prayers or prayer requests for each countdown day.
Prayers can center around things about what you are counting down to, or can be general prayer requests. Consider writing different families or missionaries on each strip as you countdown days until Christmas.
Tape (or staple) strip 1 into a circle. Loop strip 2 through the first circle and tape to form a chain. Keep going until all your strips have made up links in a paper chain.
Choose a part of the day to rip of a piece of the countdown chain and pray for that particular request.
Pray as a Family
We use the prayer countdown paper chain when counting down to vacation to build anticipation (see more about How to Take a Family Vacation here). Each morning we rip a link off and pray for the request at breakfast. It gets the family excited and keeps our hearts on Jesus. It teaches our children how to pray and wait in eager expectation of the Lord to work.
A simple tool for family discipleship.