Does Your Family Pray BIG Prayers?

Building a culture of prayer in your home

Growing a Culture of Prayer (1)Do you ever feel like praying as a family is just “going through the motions”?  

As parents, and as Christians, many of us place great value on prayer. But sometimes figuring out how to grow a culture of prayer can be difficult — especially if our personal prayer life is consistently a challenge. If we do not value prayer it is unlikely that our children will. God wants us to pray. God calls us to pray.  Are we prepared to PRAY BIG as a family?  

We’ve gathered five practical ideas to make your family’s prayer life a team effort and shift it from self-focused to others-focused:

1. Pray BIG prayers.

Our kids get a sample of the size of God we worship by the size of prayers we pray. Do we believe in the God of the Bible, who the apostle Paul said in Ephesians 3:20 could do “immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine”? What if we spent more time praying for others than we do for ourselves?

NOTE: As you pray God-size prayers, are you willing to be part of the answer? Funny how God works that way, sometimes!

2. Ask kids about their perspective on prayer and why it is important:

Talking about prayer with our kids can sometimes be intimidating or create a sense of shame in us; especially since we don’t have it all figured out. It’s important to gain our kids perspective. Include them in the conversation! Some possible questions might be:

  • Do you think it is important to pray?
  • Why would God tell/want us to pray?
  • How could we incorporate prayer into our family?
  • What difference do you think it makes if we pray?
  • Who/what do you think we should be adding to our prayer list?

3. Allow prayer to be an ongoing conversation throughout your day, even allowing your kids to listen or join in.

Deuteronomy chapter 6 gives a good outline about how to pass faith along to our kids. In verses 5-9, God outlines the importance of making faith and discussing God’s commandments an everyday activity of life. In much the same way, praying out loud in the car for a friend or thanking God for a blessing you have received, sends a message that prayer is not a mealtime or bedtime ritual. It’s a part of our everyday life; just like eating, sleeping and breathing!

4. Engage kids on their level and with their preferences.

When creating a culture of prayer sometimes a child or two may be less interested than you hope. Generally, keep prayer times short. It’s not the time to pull out a laundry list of family issues while you have a captive audience! If kids don’t want to participate, that’s okay. No guilting. No shaming. Just good modeling and acceptance for where they are at this point in time. Kids that are too shy to pray can be the ones to suggest a person to pray for, and they could even draw a simple picture of that person while a parent prays. Imagine Gramma’s and the child’s delight when he/she helps you mail Gramma the picture with a note, “We prayed for you today!”

5. Keep a record of how God responded to your prayers.

If we are going to be honest, sometimes as parents we can wonder about why we pray as well. Is God really hearing us? Does He really care? Keeping a prayer journal can help remind us of how God has answered in the past which can spur us on to continue our praying ways.

Apply It Now:

  • What God-size prayers could you pray as a family?
  • Put a map on the wall in a prominent place to mark people/places that are in your prayers.
  • Put photos on your fridge to remind your family to pray for specific people.

At Connected Families we believe in the power of prayer and so we’re inviting you to both pray for us and to share your personal prayer requests with us.  Do you consider yourself to be a person of prayer?  We’d love to have you join our
Prayer Team where you will receive a monthly email from us with our updated prayer requests and praises.

What Does My Child See On My Face In Times of Discipline?

What Does My Child See

Our faces. They say a lot to our kids. Before the first words roll off our tongue, we’ve already begun communicating.

Studies show that between 60% – 90% of all communication is nonverbal, with 55% related to the face alone.*

Take a common scenario like your child leaving a trail of food, wrappers, or toys. What might go through your mind at a time like that? “I’ve talked to him about this for weeks, numerous times a day, and nothing has changed! This place is constantly a mess!”

With all that going on inside, it’s sure to show up on your face. Your facial expressions may be sending messages like,
“Child, you are a disappointment.”
“Child, you are hopeless.”
“Child, you are a walking mess!”

The faces we get in return from our kids confirm those discouraging messages have been received. What do their faces often show us? Perhaps some fear. Maybe anger. Or the one that gets many parent’s blood boiling: defiance!

Anxiety and Control: Partners in Parenting Crime

Will my kids choose good friends? Will they do well academically? Will they make wise choices when I’m not around to guide them? It’s normal to consider questions like these. However, if the answer is “no” to any of those reflective questions, anxiety can begin to rise and often a parent’s effort to control their child rises right along with it. It’s the brain’s natural coping response – when feeling internally out of control, we try to take charge of the situation to feel less anxious. This kind of reaction can become problematic, because we are not wise or helpful parents when we’re anxious and controlling. (Imagine how it would feel to have a boss at work engaging with a dip in your performance by anxiously reading your emails and checking every report!)

Anxiety and Control
The Anxiety and Control Cycle

Anxiety and Control are partners in crime. They rob us of joy, contentment and peace. They rob our kids of encouragement and independence. In my parenting, and as I’ve coached parents over the years, I’ve noticed the spiraling impact of anxiety and control:

The more anxious I am about my child, the more likely I am to project a negative future for them, and the more likely they are to begin living out that projection. This makes it easy it is for me to rationalize doing things for them that they ought to be responsible for themselves, which builds their resentment and resistance towards me, which feeds my anxiety… and the beat goes on.

Are We Setting Our Kids Up to Be Uncooperative?

are setting up kids uncooperativeParents can get in ruts. That’s true for me and I’m pretty sure it is for you, too.

One rut that is familiar to many is the hurried race out the door because “we’re going to be late!!” Or how about the chaos of bedtime and the barking of orders that can consistently ensue? In our house lately it’s the questioning of completed homework and interrogating of my kids’ screens that is especially exasperating to all involved.

If we were to video ourselves at these times and watch it through the eyes of our kids, what would we see?

When My Child Asked for an iPod, Here’s What I Said…

ipod touch 2Last week I wrote about how my junior high daughter creatively and proactively asked for an iPod by preparing a well-thought-out list of answers to concerns she thought I might have. Here’s the rest of the story!

My daughter’s proactive list was a breath of fresh air and showed me a growing capacity in her to think more broadly about the impact of purchasing the iPod. Her pleasant, non-demanding tone was another sign of her maturity and thoughtful processing of the situation.

Some parents may believe that asking for the iPod in such an impressive manner should gain her access to it immediately. She deserves it, right? Others may view it as a form of my daughter manipulating me to get what she really wanted and saying yes will only mean more of this new “tactic”.

But here’s what happened in our situation:

My Daughter Asked for an iPod Again… But This Time Was Different.

ipod touch

Ian Lamont | Flickr

My daughter approached me with a typical question — one I’ve heard one hundred seventy-three times (but who’s counting). “Dad, can I have an iPod Touch?”

But this time, her approach was different.

She made a good pitch — she had an unbelievable opportunity to obtain a friend’s iPod for the extremely reasonable price of $20. Having experienced this conversation with me one hundred and seventy-three times, she came with a written document that detailed her plan to address many of the questions or concerns she thought I would have. I was pleasantly surprised and very impressed!

The document was entitled, “If I got an iPod…” and went like this:

Does Your Family Pray BIG Prayers?

Growing a Culture of Prayer (1)

As parents, and as Christians, many of us place great value on teaching our children to value prayer. But sometimes figuring out how to grow a culture of prayer can be difficult — especially if maintaining a strong prayer life is a challenge for us.

Here are six ideas we’ve used in our family to help move toward a culture of prayer as a family.

Should My Kid Get a Participation Trophy Just for Showing Up?

trophies for participation

terren in Virginia | Flickr


This week a former NFL player, James Harrison, sent out an Instagram message regarding his two sons receiving “participation trophies” even though they didn’t win anything.

Harrison, the youngest of 14 kids and a two-time Super Bowl winner himself, struck a chord with many who believe that trophies should be given to those who “earned” them and not simply to those who “tried their best”.