If you are praying for those on a mission trip or praying for someone going through problems, creating a prayer pill box with slips of paper with a prayer written on it for each day of the week is a great way to give them daily encouragement.

How to do this prayer practice:

When we went on a week-long mission trip to Romania, the children’s ministry gave us a small round pill box designed to hold one week’s worth of pills.  However instead of containing pills, they had placed rolled up strips of paper with encouraging words for every day of the week.  Here’s how to adapt this idea to let someone know that you’re supporting them in prayer.

1. Decide who could use a week’s worth of encouragement.

The children’s ministry at our church made these as a Bible school activity for those in our church going on mission trips and projects.  Since most mission projects last a week, the weekly prayer pill box was perfect.

Prayer pill boxes can adapted for use to give to anyone who is launching out on a difficult week, such as college students taking final exams, those traveling to attend to the needs of an aging parent, someone going through the legal process of divorce, a long job search and an important interview, etc.

Prayer pill boxes are especially appropriate for those hospitalized, having operations or going through long recuperations.  In medical situations we receive medication and these “prayer pills” provide a spiritual boost of healing power.

2. Purchase a plastic pill box.

You can purchase weekly pill boxes at drugstores starting at about $2.00.  Choose one that has a big enough compartment to accommodate a rolled up slip of paper with your prayer message on it.  The kind we received on our mission trip was round and 3 inches in diameter, which gave it more space than the square ones where the days are in a straight line.

3. Cut strips of paper that when rolled up will fit into the compartments of the box.

Experiment with cutting strips of paper that will fit into your compartments.  The children used strips that were about 1 inch wide and 11 inches long, which is the long side of a typical sheet of typing paper. They also used several different colors of typing paper.

After a message was written on each strip, the strip was folded in half length wise to make it ½ inch wide to fit into the pill box.

4. Write your prayers and encouragements and put them in the box.

The children wrote short words of encouragement on the strips of paper, such as, “God loves you!” (with a heart drawn on it), “Keep up the great work!”

To adapt this encouragement idea to prayer, you might want to write down one specific thing that you are praying for the person each day, such as, “I’m praying God will give you the strength you need today,” or “I pray that you will be comforted by God’s love today.”   

You might also want to quote a short Scripture that is connected with your prayer.   

Since each compartment is labeled with a day, if you know events that are planned for that particular day, you can write your prayers accordingly.  For instance if you know that the person will be traveling on Saturday, you could gear that day’s prayer toward safe travels.

After you have written 7 prayers, one for each day of the week, if you are using a 3 inch round pill box, fold the strips in half lengthwise so they are ½ inch wide, then tightly fold the strip over and over itself in ½ inch folds.  Then put your prayer pills into each of the daily compartments.   

5. Present the prayer pill box

Prayer pill boxes can be given in many different ways.  You might give it to someone during a personal visit or you might include one in a “care package” for final exams.  They can be passed on to others to distribute like the children’s ministry passed them on to the missions committee.  Since they’re extremely light weight, they can be easily mailed in a padded envelope.

 6. Pray during the week.

After your recipient has received your prayer pill box, be in prayer for them during the week.  It might be good to take notes on what you’ve written so you can be specific as you pray.

My personal experiences and tips:

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I was the recipient of a special pill box when I went on a week-long mission trip to Romania.  We were given our special pill boxes Saturday when we left from the church and since it was small and light, I put it into my carry-on bag.

Little did I know that it would be one of the few personal things available to me for the next 4 days!  We ran into a huge fiasco with our air travel and we didn’t arrive in Romania for three days.  On top of that, we were never re-united with our checked luggage during that time!  On Monday when we finally arrived in Romania, our checked bags didn’t!  We had to go out and buy underwear and toothpaste and quickly put together an emergency Bible school program for the next day because all of our teaching and craft materials were in our luggage.

The bottom line was that we had four days of unexpected stress on our trip – three days of botched travel attempts and then one day and night at our destination without our luggage.  Obviously our faith and endurance were tested in unexpected ways.

Each of these crazy days we opened up our pill boxes and unrolled the slips and eagerly watched as the as large child-written words gave us small but significant messages of encouragement.  For instance, on Sunday, when we were stranded between Chicago and Boston, the little slip of paper read, “Your help is everything!”  I’m sure the child meant that we would be doing good things to help others – but it also reminded me that God’s help is indeed everything when things go wrong.

On Monday night in Romania when I was desperately trying to pull together a Bible school lesson with no materials, the message from my pill box read, “Keep up the great work!”

The Biblical origins and traditional roots of this method of prayer:

The early Christians were often the recipients of letters of encouragement, many of which told of very specific prayers that the writer was praying for them.  An example is found in Ephesians 1:16-17 where Paul writes from faraway in Rome: “I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.  I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spriti of wisdom and revelation so that you may know him better.”   (New International Version.)

Other links of interest

Mission Trip Prayer

Mission Trip Prayer Outreach Ideas

Pill Box Daily Prayer Gift Project

Copyright Karen Barber 2012  All rights reserved.