Value of Family Prayer
The value of family prayer is one that cannot be overstated or overemphasised. You will often hear it said that “A family that prays together stays together.” This is a quote that takes several other mutations for couples and other groups of people. In all of this, the principle remains the same.
At the risk of over simplifying it. Prayer is a place of great vulnerability. I have equated it to intercourse. It is a place of great purity, where you lay your nakedness before God. You show your flaws to another person, things that you do not love about yourself. We are raised to hide our weaknesses, and admitting to these tends to also be viewed as an even greater weakness. This is why prayer often does not come naturally to us.
Our natural predisposition is to hide our nakedness. [realised I was naked]. Yet this is the place that we are supposed to abide in at all times. Praying without ceasing taps into this. In fact this is its very foundation. When we have things that we would like to hide from God, our prayer life suffers. We could go on and on about this, but this post is on family prayer.
Why is family prayer important?
It ties into everything that we have mentioned above. Family prayer fosters a place of collective vulnerability. You don’t have to be the perfect parent for your time in prayer. You no longer have to be the ideal child. It allows everyone to lay themselves bare before God and man. When your children see the brokenness that you exhibit before the Lord, it teaches them lessons about prayer that no words could teach. [train a child]
Another great aspect of this is that it creates a space where all family members can settle their
How to get started
Schedule and stick to it
This is not for the sake of rigidity. It is more for the sake of building a rhythm, a habit and making it a part of who you are. Scheduling it and sticking to said schedule also allows for family members to structure their lives around that of prayer. Prayer becomes the spine of everything they build and do in their lives.
You can set your prayer times at the end of every day for the entire family, as well as at the start of the day. At the start of the day the focus will be on what is to come in that day. You are praying for the challenges and adventures that are ahead in school for the children.
Allow for them to voice their needs, desires and aspirations for each day. Ask them questions. Make prayer time as practical as possible. This makes it personal to each individual.
What are you hoping to do or achieve today?
What is your schedule like for today?
The same will apply to the adults as well. You may even take the approach of the parents praying for their children, and the children for the parents. This achieves a lot of things. Beyond bringing all of this before God. It also allows us to give each other the incredible gift of prayer.
Get right with your brother
Matthew 5:23-24 New King James Version (NKJV)
23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Our relationships with man are just as important with the one that we have with God. Priority is always to the relationship that we have with God. You should not compromise your relationship with God for the sake of relationships with mankind. This has been the fall of many a great man.
That being said, we cannot try to do right by God while we are going around wronging our brothers and sisters. In fact, the Bible teaches us that we should resolves issues that we have with people before we come before God. This is not something that we should carry on our consciences as we approach his throne of grace.
Lay your feelings bare before each other and before God. This is what you have done, and this is how it made me feel. It allows us a chance to know offences that we may have caused our loved ones without even realising it. It nurtures our relationships and bring restoration.
Collective Goals and Needs
Use this as a platform to share your vision for the family. What goals do you have for the family? Most parents do not realise the importance of sharing these with their children. Not only does it factor these into their prayer lives, but it also gives the children a vision to run with.
write down the vision
The Just Live by Faith
2 Then the Lord answered me and said:
“Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.
3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry.
Beyond that it shapes the journey of faith and prayer. They begin to see the results of prayers and the answers that comes from them. The word of God tells us that faith comes by hearing, and hearing of the word of God. Prayer in this case gives the whole family a front row seat in this.
As a part of the formula, reflection is very important. Start your prayer times by spending time individually reflecting. Do this in an open forum, where everyone speaks in turn. You all listen without passing judgement or holding anyone’s words against them. Build an atmosphere of love and trust.
Take turns to vocally reflect on what you are grateful for. This should also include thanking one another for the things that you may usually take for granted. We have a tendency to expect more from the people who give us the most. This means we become less and less grateful for what they do.
There are often elephants in the room within our families. We often cause one another offence in families. This should not be left up in the air. Apologise to those in the family that you may have wronged. At times you have not done wrong, but have offended someone nonetheless. Get right with each other before coming before God.
Planning is the foundation of all success, even in prayer. When you plan, it also gives you the chance to jog your memory with things that may otherwise have been forgotten.
What are your family goals for the day?
What are your family goals for the week?
Take turns to say what your personal goals for the day are.
Support and pray for each other.