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How to Pray Together as a Family: 7 Helpful Ideas

  • Brenda Rodgers
How to Pray Together as a Family: 7 Helpful Ideas

Prayer does not always come easy for me. I tell you that first so that you can take a deep sigh of relief. Prayer is a discipline that I have to work through. Some seasons I am more diligent than others. There are times when it is a priority, and there are times when it is not. In his book, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God, Timothy Keller writes, "Prayer—though it is often draining, even an agony—is in the long-term the greatest source of power that is possible.” I know this to be true from personal experience, as you probably do, too. That is why it is important for me to make it a part of my family's daily routine and to teach my children to do the same.

What I share with you today are not ideas that I do with my family every day. Prayer in my home is not picture perfect with everyone sitting still, eyes closed and heads bowed reverently reflecting on Jesus. It's often chaotic, interrupted, and sporadic. However, we pray regardless.

Here are seven ways I add prayer into our family routine. Some of them will work for your family, and some will not. But I hope that these ideas give you a fresh perspective.

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1. Get Up Before the Rest of Your Family and Pray

1. Get Up Before the Rest of Your Family and Pray

I am a morning person, so getting up early is easy for me. However, even if you're not a morning person, I believe incorporating the discipline of getting up early to pray can be a game-changer for you and your family. After all, Jesus' example was to get up early to pray (Mark 1:35). You do not need to get up hours early. Even fifteen minutes earlier will do.

My struggle is not getting up early but getting up early and praying. I get up with the intention of praying, but I find myself scrolling through my social media accounts instead. I try to put my phone away and not pick it up again during this time. That means I can't use my Bible app or other resources that are online. I make sure I have my physical Bible available and I've printed off any other resources.

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Resources:

Resources:

Of course, all you need to pray is your heart, mind, and your voice. However, here are some other resources that I've used throughout the years that I like for praying.

  • Pray the Psalms - Open your Bible to Psalms and turn these into prayers by praying them back to God. Use first-person pronouns in place of the others so that you can apply the pray to yourself.
  • The Power of a Praying Wife and The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian - Stormie Omartian has several books about prayer, and I have used them often through the years. There are thirty chapters in a book, so I pray one chapter a day for a month.
  • Praying for Girls by Teri Lynne Underwood is a wonderful prayer book for girl moms. Teri Lynne also has a monthly prayer calendar on her blog for praying scripture over your girls. I will print this at the beginning of every month and use it daily.
  • Praying for Boys by Brooke McGlothlin - I have not personally read this book because I only have girls, but here is a resource that looks good for moms with boys.
  • Praying God's Word by Beth Moore - This book by Beth Moore has been especially helpful with praying over specific strongholds in my life.
  • Adoration Scripture Calendar by Sara Hagerty - Recently I have learned more about adoration and how to incorporate it into my daily prayer. Sara Hagerty's monthly adoration calendars are a wonderful resource. I print it at the beginning of the month and keep it in my Bible.

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2. Pray on the Way to School

2. Pray on the Way to School

Every day on the way to school, I pray out loud over each of my girls. I pray for their health and safety, their teachers, and their classmates. However, I also pray over their hearts, that they will feel God's presence, remember who they are in Him, and be a light in this world.

On the way to school, I also remind my children that they can talk to God whenever they want to and wherever they are. I tell them that their prayers do not need to be out loud, they can be in their heads, and they can be simple requests or statement of adoration. Then I give them examples and model what this looks like. Here are a few prayers I teach my children to pray at school:

  • Jesus, I need you.
  • Jesus, help me.
  • Jesus, I'm scared. Please comfort me.
  • Jesus, I love you.
  • Jesus, I trust you.

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3. Pray Over Situations You See While Driving

3. Pray Over Situations You See While Driving

Often when we're driving we see situations that need prayer. We see a homeless person or an emergency vehicle rushing to get somewhere. Maybe we see an accident on the side of the road. Since my girls were little we've turned off the music and prayed for the people involved in these situations. Now that they are a little older, they remind me to stop and pray.

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4. Teach Children to Pray, Not Just Sing Prayer Songs

4. Teach Children to Pray, Not Just Sing Prayer Songs

When I was growing up, the only prayer we said together was at the dinner table, and it was the prayer "God is great, God is good." I think I prayed this until my teenage years because I was embarrassed to pray any other way. When my girls were born it was important to me to teach them how to pray without using children's songs.

There's nothing wrong with children's song prayers. However, I think when we use them all the time we're doing our children a disservice. If we model prayer and teach them how to pray from an early age, with the understanding that we're talking to Jesus, it takes the unfamiliar out of the process. Prayer becomes natural because they've practiced it all their lives.

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5. Use Prayer Sticks

5. Use Prayer Sticks

One night at dinner I realized my children were praying for our family and our food, but not anything else. I wanted to teach them to pray for other people and needs in their lives and in the world. I made prayer sticks to help with this.

I took popsicle sticks and wrote a person or a need on each stick. We keep all the sticks in a small, tin pail (any cup will do). When we sit down for a meal, each person randomly chooses a stick and prays for that person or need. Then, we put the used sticks in a different tin pail until we've prayed through all of the sticks.

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Ideas:

Ideas:

Here are some of our sticks. (Each stick has one person's name or one need on it.):

  • People in our family and extended family
  • Our close friends or friends with specific needs
  • The girls' teachers
  • The girls' leaders at church
  • Our pastor
  • Our other church leaders
  • The president of the United States
  • Our other political leaders
  • People who are homeless
  • People who are mentally ill
  • People who are sick
  • Children in foster care
  • People who don't know Jesus
  • Unborn babies and their mothers
  • Children who are sick or disabled
  • People who are lonely
  • Missionaries
  • People who are oppressed
  • The elderly
  • For Jesus to come back soon

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6. Use a Daily Prayer Calendar to Pray

6. Use a Daily Prayer Calendar to Pray

Using a daily prayer calendar is similar to using prayer sticks but simpler. It also helps with remembering to pray for different people and needs. For each day of the week, I assign a general prayer concern for our family to pray over for that day. My daily calendar looks like this: Sunday - our leaders, Monday - missionaries, Tuesday - the oppressed, Wednesday - the sick, Thursday - the poor, Friday - our family/friends, Saturday - people who don't know Jesus.

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7. Pray Before Bed

7. Pray Before Bed

Praying before bed is probably common among many families, like praying before meals. In an attempt to make our nightly prayer time richer, I started incorporating a few routines. I start by asking my children what was their best part of their day and what was their hardest. I also ask them if they were hurt, scared, or sad at all during the day. This helps me to get a gauge on their hearts and how I might need to pray for them myself. Then, I ask them if there are any prayer requests that they have so that I can pray for them specifically.

After that, I give each child the opportunity to pray out loud. Then I pray over them. I pray for their health and safety as they sleep. I pray that their minds will be protected. And then I pray truths from God's Word about their identity in Christ. For example, I'll pray something like, "God, my girls are fearfully and wonderfully made. They are made in your image. I pray they know their worth is in you. I pray they know that nothing can separate them from your love." I want my girls to hear me talk to God about who they are and thank Him for who He created them to be.

Brenda Headshot Brenda Rodgers considers herself a “recovering single” after years as a single woman chasing after marriage instead of chasing after Jesus. Now her passion is to mentor young women to live purposefully and grow in their relationship with God and others. Brenda has been married for five years to a heart transplant hero and is the mom of a toddler girl miracle. She is also the author of the eBook Fall for Him: 25 Challenges from a Recovering Single. You can also read more on Brenda’s blog, www.TripleBraidedLife.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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