Getting into the habit of family prayer can feel awkward in the beginning. What do you say? When do you do it? How formal does it need to be? The first step is to relax! Family prayer can be a beautiful, comforting part of your family’s daily dynamic once you get in the swing of it. Here are a few ways to get started:
1. Start with family prayer at mealtimes.
Sharing a meal together as a family daily is a huge indicator of a healthy home life. You probably already say grace together as a family, so start there. And then go a little deeper. Don’t just give thanks for the food, but take the time to pray (even very briefly) for what’s going on in each family member’s life. And even for your friends and neighbors. This doesn’t need to be a marathon, but it’s a great time to bring each other before Jesus for a few moments in a comfortable setting.
2. Your kids are never too old for bedtime prayers.
Come heck or high water, my mom still says a quick prayer before bed with my 6ft 4in, 17-year-old brother. Whether your littles still sleep in a crib or they’re about to go off to college, taking a few minutes to pray with them before they rest their heads at night can become a treasured ritual. As they get older, this can be a wonderful time of bonding and sharing that is harder to do during the hustle and bustle of the day. Take these precious moments for conversation, prayer, and some much-needed cuddles.
3. Let go of the formalities.
Matthew 6:7 says: “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again.”
How many times have you sat in church and listened to someone say “Lord” about 8,000 times during public prayer? Jesus knows His own name, I assure you. There’s no need to be formal. Jesus already knows your heart, so there’s no need to try to impress with flowery Christian-eze. Prayer is a conversation. Pray like you would normally speak. Speak from your heart and your children will follow suit.