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 or do we feel like we are just “going through the motions”?
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.