Family Prayer connects us as a family with God. We share our faith and hopes together! Make sure you soar with prayer and help your children understand elements and ways to pray together. Tips for all that are in this post.
Importance of Family Prayer
Jesus said, “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” Matthew 18:20. Praying as a family invites Jesus to be with us as we pray. And according to new research from the Harvard T.H. School of Public Health, the practice of prayer during childhood is linked to better physical, mental, and emotional well-being among young adults. That’s only some of the many benefits of family prayer.
Family Prayer Benefits include
- Strengthens relationships
- Fosters unity with sharing purpose
- Encourages children to be cheerleaders for one another
- Inspires emotional health
- Develops better communication
- Builds wall of protection
- Gives us hope
As reminders of the benefits, Print and post scripture passages as reminders of God’s promises and the importance of prayer. Here are a few:
- Jeremiah 29:11
- Acts 1:14
- Acts 2:42-46 (note the unity including sharing meals)
- Ephesians 3:14-19
Five ways to Soar like Geese through Family Prayer
Canadian Geese God created provide examples for successful group dynamics that remind us of the value of praying together.
- The V-shaped formation that Canada geese use is a symbol of victory plus an interesting formation. An uplift wind, created by the formation, increases the flying power of all by 71%, each individual benefits. In your group, by uplifting one another in prayer, you’ll increase everyone’s power tremendously and all will benefit.
- Loyalty comes naturally for geese. If a bird is hurt and falls to the ground, two others join it. These two remain till the goose recovers or dies and then they rejoin their group or a new one. When someone in your family is hurting, pray for the ill member. Encourage a few to minister to them.
- These hearty birds mate for life only taking on a new partner if a mate dies. Individuals in the group should have a loyalty to Christ, one that will remain for life. As a family pray for each person to remain faithful to the Lord.
- Canadian geese go the distance. They fly thousands of miles each year. Set a goal to complete a Bible study or devotional book and go the distance to finish it.
- Encouragement never ceases. Canadian Geese, the noisiest migrating birds, continually honk as a way to encourage one another. Remember to encourage one another daily. You’d develop great family spirit and bonding.
Five More Prayer Lessons from Geese
- Canadian geese share the leadership. When the lead, or point goose tires and drops back, another goose moves up to take its place. Encourage members to be willing and ready to lead prayer times. That’s how children grow up to be leaders.
- Not pretentious or flowery, these birds are simply black, white, and gray. Simplicity equals beauty and truth, so be content as God made you and be authentic.
- The strength of the group makes a difference. When a Canadian Goose falls out of formation the drag and wind resistance cause the bird to tire easily. The goose soon rejoins the formation. If your family lifts up ieach person, they will miss your support if they drop out and soon return.
- Geese are productive, laying eggs that nourish. Make sure your family members are productive and making a difference in your home and community.
- Comfortable in water, air, or on land, these birds know how to get around. Make sure your group is adaptable. Move out of your comfort zone to try new skills and go to new places.
Consider buying a little stuffed Canadian Goose as a mascot to display where you pray. Discuss how you can follow the example of these magnificent creatures and soar together.
Tips to Make Family Prayer Successful
- Pray together at all times. Before a child leaves for school, starts home school, or starts other activities, pray with them. Ask for the Lord’s blessing in their activity and with tests and challenges. Also, pray for the people who will be with them. Pray in the car before leaving on trips.
- Share prayer answers with your children. Talk about times God answered prayer in a special way. Teach your children to turn to God in prayer by letting them see the importance of prayer in your life.
- Start a family prayer journal. Buy a blank notebook to write down praises and prayer requests. Fill in and date answered requests, with comments on how God answered, including your children’s comments.
- Practice Moment-ous prayers where you pause during the day to pray. These can be ordinary moments, moments where someone got hurt, or moments a child mastered a new skill.
Parents Be Pray-pared with P-O-W-E-R
Parents, be sure you are spiritually healthy before praying with your children. You’ll be a prayer warrior or become one as you teach your children to pray with you.
Part of prayer often overlooked is listening well. Practice these ideas on power listening to God. Make the most of prayer and communication with God. As you pray, stop and listen for God to guide you with a conviction in your heart, an idea in your mind, or a quiet voice.
As you pray, stop and listen for God to guide you with a conviction in your heart, an idea in your mind, or a quiet voice.
- Listen to wisdom of others.
- Ask Christians to pray for you.
- Seek a mature Christian to help you understand what you hear.
Word of God
- Read and reflect on God’s Word.
- Find key ideas and principles in Scriptures to apply to your life.
Evaluation of circumstances
- Evaluate events and opportunities to see what God is telling you through circumstances. Ask yourself:
- Did this happen after a certain prayer?
- Do I have a passion for the circumstance?
- Have I exhibited talent for this opportunity?
- Does the opportunity match my mission and my talents?
- Is there fruit from the labor of prayer? If so, God blessed the work.
- If there is only frustration, ask God to show you why or check your motives.
Communication for Great Family Prayer
Listening and sharing remain vital for healthy relationships and that’s true with God too. Praying is communicating with God and family prayer is communicating as a family with God. That also means being able to communicate with one another.
Sometimes we let our feelings interfere with communicating. So, an angry child may not want to talk, but may sulk or shout. We need to learn to release negative feelings and not let it come between people we love. Read and talk about two brothers where one was mad at the other, in Luke 12:13. Sharing can be difficult at any age and so can bullying or other actions of a sibling or even a parent.
Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-4 and discuss how we should love one another and then our prayers will be more effective because we will be praying in unity.
Family Prayer When Apart
Sometimes in life communication is difficult including when one person is deployed or away for an extended time. When my son served in Iraq, they connected online, even during his children’s birthday parties. They put the computer where they he could see the children play and listen to them. That helped them feel each other’s presence and love. It also made the homecoming easier because they talked and shared about it.
My son also had a doll of himself made for each child and recorded a message in the doll. They slept with the soft pillow like doll and could listen to the message any time. Little things can bridge the distance.
Basic Prayer Pattern
Prayers do not have to use big words or be long. I’s simply talking to God. Compare it to a conversation that opens with a greeting. As a family help your children understand that prayer is talking to God as we would talk to a friend or someone we love.
Start with greeting God like “Hello God, it’s me.”
Move to worship in prayer as you would parise a friend with a compliment. Praise shows you honor God. As a family, you can take turns saying a few words of praise.
Then go deeper with confession and forgiveness. This is a time to reflect on how you have been in your actions, attitudes, and words, and to be sure your relationship is strong.
Then. You can go to just talking about life and how things are going or where you need guidance.
Follow that with sharing about your needs as well as thanking God for answered prayers.
Family Prayer Choices and Methods
Prayer time can include songs and reading scriptures. Talk about how you want to pray as a family and try different ideas:
- Study people in the Bible who prayed like Nehemiah and Paul. They prayed for God’s people and for their friends. They trusted God to answer them. Or read also about three men thrown in a furnace because they prayed. God saved them from the fire in Daniel 3:19-25.
- Have a singspiration prayer time where you sing or listen to a song and that share how the word impacted you. Then pray according to what was shared.
- Use a family devotional to guide your Bible time and prayer time.
Types of prayer
Group prayer is when we gather together to pray. This can be a regular time or someone can call the family together, such as yelling out we need to pray or it’s time for the war room (for a prayer battle). This can also be the prayer at meals.
Individual prayer is anytime a person prays alone. This can be while falling asleep, a quick prayer before a test, prayer before meals when away from home.
Active prayer can refer to prayer that combines an activity so one with a ball where the way you move the ball is a reminder of a way to pray, hand signals, of lighting candles as you pray.
Reflective or quiet prayer has silent moments and is less noisy. This can be done watching aa sunrise, in a garden, or sitting quietly. One person can speak a prayer and then all can reflect on the words and journal thoughts, tor take turns sharing a response.
When and Where to Pray
Anywhere, anytime is a good time and place to pray although sometimes it needs to be done silently.
- Before you leave home
- When you return
- At meals
- Before bed
- As you do family devotions
- Whenever a member has a need
- Anytime you hear bad news
- To give thanks when you hear good news
- When God answers a prayer
When you’re in a crowd but want prayer, use some hand signals for prayer. Here are a few to use:
Thumbs up thank God
Little finger up for a small need you have now
Pointer finger up pray for the leader where you are
Peace sign to signal fear or anxiety and need for prayer to be calm
Many Ways to Engage in Family Prayer
There are many opportunities to pray as a family:
Check out 10 benefits of praying as a family and 9 ways to pray as a family
- While driving, engage in a drive along prayer time. Thank God for the families and creation you pass. Ask God to nbless areas that reveal needs such as fallen trees, old paint, and holes in the road.
- Listen for sirens. Pray whenever you hear a siren for those hurt, the workers, and the loved ones of the person hurt. Take a moment as you pull over to let the emergency vehicles pass and say a prayer.
- When a family member mentions a blessing such as a good grade or something someone did for them, pause to celebrate with a praise to God. Sing or shout out a praise.
Share Prayer Answers During Family Prayer
When you share a true story of a miracle, celebrate. It might be one you read or heard about, or it might be one in the Bible. God working among us helps us all believe in miracles!
We rejoice when we see or experience a miracle both small and large. We prayed for one son for eleven years to be healed of his 24/7 migraine. When he felt the migraine was God’s will and his testimony to show others his faith, he told God he accepted that. He thought, “Lord, this is as good as it gets for me but I can pray for you to heal others.” Then he prayed over someone else at a prayer meeting and for the first time felt his head clear of pain. God healed him. Sometimes we need to be willing to give up our prayer request.
Recently doctors diagnosed a young girl with leukemia. She had several rough weeks, but God healed her and she’s thrilled she is playing and doing well now.
God sometimes does the healing in a miracles and other times he uses people to bless one another with healing. Doctors, medics, nurses, and other who study the body learn how to help the healing process. We are grateful and thank God for their healing touch.
When we cover a wound with a bandage and later remove it and see the skin healed we smile. Children see that and rejoice in such little miracles. How wonderful that God created our bodies to be able to heal from many injuries and illnesses.
Take out a first aid kit and discuss how each item helps us feel better or helps us heal. Then discuss how in God’s timing he chooses to heal people. The power of prayers gives us hope.
Family Prayer Explorations
Explore questions children ask about prayer and various elements of prayer. Hands on activities can help children develop a deeper understanding and remember the concepts about prayer better. Here are three to try related to the book of Nehemiah. [add link to blog post]
- Study and explore Nehemiah’s prayers
Nehemiah 1:4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept . .
Nehemiah helped his nation of Israel and cared about them all as family. His family prayer started with tears. Tears, like water, tend to magnify problems. Check out that idea with a water lens.
Make a water lens
Cut three circles around the bucket, evenly spaced, and big enough to fit your hands through. Cut plastic wrap a little bigger than the top opening. Cover the top and keep plastic in place with elastic-tying it to form a rubber band. Fill the plastic with water to form a lens. It sags to make a concave lens. Hold objects under the lens and see how the water magnifies things.
Chat about the exploration
Think about something that made you cry and what helped you stop crying. Remember that no problem is too big for God.
- Nehemiah fasted as part of his prayer
Nehemiah 1: 4 . . . For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
Skip a meal or snack and use the time to pray. Discuss how hard fasting can be to do.
Importance of Worship in Family Prayer
There are four main elements in prayer: Adoration or worship, confession to receive forgiveness, thanksgiving, and supplication (asking for God’s help). Each one is important.
Worship means to kiss like a dog licking his master. It’s a way to show appreciation and honor God for who his character and qualities. Worshipping God is good for us as we focus not on ourselves, but on God and his greatness. That reminds us God is in control and can do anything. We need to understand God will not go against his character of love and will do what is best, not what we want.
Words that describe God can be used to praise him such as awesome, almighty, and creator. Say a word and shout it out as God, You are _____________. Discuss what the word means and what it tells us about God.
Importance of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is part of prayer. When we have sin that is not forgive we block our communication with God. Try this exploration to share about forgiveness.
Nehemiah 1:6 … I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you.
Stuff an empty paper towel roll with crumbled newspaper or dirty socks. Then put it to an ear and whisper a message to a friend. The junk gets in the way. Remove the socks and try again. Talk about how sin clogs the telephone line to God. Stop and ask forgiveness for any hurts you caused God.
Soft and hard hearts
When we’re filled with anger or hurt that’s like letting rocks sit in our hearts. It’s hard to hug a rock. When we forgive the rocks dissolve, and we have soft hearts like cotton balls. It’s much easier to hug a soft stuffed animal filled with cotton stuffing.
Discuss forgiving one another and how forgiving someone else helps us.
Family Prayer and Gratitude
Gratitude focuses on all the blessing we receive. As we thank God for what we have we learn to rejoice in our blessings.Gratitude helps us remember we receive blessings not because of our actions but because of God’s goodness. It is through his power that we live and breathe.
Gratitude is the time in prayer when we thank God and appreciate all he does. Read scriptures of gratitude such as Psalm 35:18, 69:30, and 118:1,24.
Read and discuss the benefits of gratitude named in the Bible
- Peace (Philippians 4:6-7)
- God’s gifts and presence (James 1:16-17)
- Encouragement and joy (Psalm 126:1-3)
- Strengthens us (Isaiah 40:29)
- He hears us (Psalm 5:3)
Supplication in Family Prayer
Supplication means to ask. We trust God to supply our needs. God wants us to give him our needs, anxieties, and fears.Read these verses as reminders of God working in our lives as we give thanks.
You can do concentric prayers of supplication. Start holding hands in a tight circle and pray for each other. Step back one step and pray for your neighborhood. Keep stepping back and praying for a wider circle of people. Include people you know need healing or help.
Read these scriptures about God answering prayers.
1 Peter 5:7
Consider creating a wall or bulletin board of prayers. Put up the photos or names of people to pray for. This can include pictures of your church or the country. As you pause at the wall pray for all the requests posted.
ABCs of prayer
Use one of these words a day to talk about that element of prayer.
A dore God-think about the wondrous nature of God
B elieve in God’s ability
C onfess you sins
D elight yourself in God and His creations
E xpress your need for God
F ocus on one need then on one desire
G ive thanks to God
H umor lightens the heart, so tell God the funny things that happen, too!
I nvite the Holy Spirit’s guidance
J oyfully interact, using God’s word in your prayers
K eep knocking, that is, be persistent
L ove God and express that love in words
M ean what you say for truth frees the soul
N ever Nag but persevere in prayer
O ffer yourself and your talents to God
P raise the Lord!
Q uiet yourself to listen and wait for God’s response
R epent and ask God’s help to avoid sin
S eek God’s help for others
T rust God and expect answers
U nite your mind with God’s
V alue yourself- God does not make mistakes
W orship God-humble yourself and recognize God’s worth
X-ray hearing, that is actively listen!
Y earn to learn from prayer and be transformed by it
Z eal to return and Zeal to share from prayer
Family Prayer Journals
Our children grew up with their own prayer journals. We also had a family prayer journal, but the one most treasured was the one we used only on New Year’s Day. We revisited the past years blessings and struggles, we read the prayers we had written down a year earlier and praised God for answers and chose to persist in one not answered. I still review past years and notice how much God answered us and blessed us. One stands out for the family.
- Get journal notebooks for each person and one for the family.
- Have stickers available for kids to decorate the pages.
- Remind them they can add in their thoughts, the main scripture used in devotions or scriptures that came to mind during prayer time.
- Encourage them to list prayer needs and check them off when they are answers.
The journal creates a record of their prayer life. The family prayer journal records the family’s prayer life. These are great as cornerstones of life that can be reviewed when inspiration or encouragement is needed.