When it comes to prayer, and the purpose of this post, the term family can take on a variety of meanings. Maybe you are a 20 something in a city distant from those who share your last name, consider your family the group that you eat meals with, hang out with, go to church with. Your roommates could be your family, or even your co-workers in some settings. Regardless, be bold, share your faith and journey together through prayer.
We’ve all heard it. “A family that prays together, stays together.” Prayer is difficult enough on your own. Family prayer is even more difficult, especially if you have never done it or have not done it in a while.
Family prayer is not only vital, but it is also transforming. Family prayer solidifies the greater mission that your clan has. It models to the younger members the values you hold. It forms relationship with the one who should be central to your family, Jesus Christ.
Below is the info-graphic are 10 great actions to take to get your family praying together. If you would like to share the info-graphic click here.
- Start Simple: If family prayer is new, start with something simple. You could say grace before meals, and then add a few intentions. Once you’ve established this pattern, incorporate something new to continue to create quality prayer experiences for your family. One way to do this would be during the season of Advent or Lent, or to take a day like Sunday or Friday and extend the family prayer time.
- Expect Awkward: Romans 8:26 states “We do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Simple enough, scripture says that you do not know how to pray and then goes onto state that the Holy Spirit helps us with groaning. If the Holy Spirit is going to make prayer awkward with groaning, then you can expect awkward in your prayer attempts as well. Prayer is an art, not a science. It’s o.k. if it feels weird at first. There may be times when something happens that makes everyone laugh. Embrace the awkwardness and remember that joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
- Be Consistent: Family prayer should be daily, it should be done at the same part of the day, and it should be done in the same location. Often this can be a child’s bedroom, the living room or the family table.
- Never Make Prayer a Punishment: Prayer is never extended or delegated as a negative result of an action. This can destroy a child’s understanding of the Father’s love quickly.
- Always have Gratitude: In prayer, be grateful. Thank God for your family and each member if possible. Especially when tension exists in your family pray out loud with gratitude. This reassures your family of the bigger picture and connects them to God’s plan.
- Be Specific in your Requests: Pray for the events taking place that day: Tests, Practice, Sports, or Work. Lift it up to God and ask God to be generous, because our God is generous.
- Live It: In a survey, 65% of teens said they want to experience God more than learn about God. Take prayer into the street and volunteer, have a family mission, and put your faith in action.
- Journey Together: Recognize that everyone is at a different place in their personal relationship with God and do things to honor each others journey. Maybe a member of your family connects more with music or nature. Be sure to take time in the family schedule to create experiences that reflect their preferred mode of connecting with God.
- Foster Critical Thinking Outside of Prayer Time: Allow the spirit of prayer to extend beyond the set times. A great way to do this is in the car. If the radio plays a song with questionable lyrics, ask your children “What do you think is the musicians understanding of love? How does that line up with your understanding? Or How does that line up with God’s plan for Love?
- Pray for your Prayer Time: Yeah, I know this one feels like the movie Inception, but offer your children and family members to God and ask God to bless your prayer time before it even occurs.
God has an amazing adventure for you and your family. Family prayer connects you more intimately to that story and allows God to author it more clearly. Yes, a family that prays together, stays together, but that same family also laughs more, serves more and lives with more meaning. Be that family!