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Spiritual Growth

How Do I Engage My Family with Prayer?

Most parents can smile when thinking back to when their teenager was a small child who folded their hands at the dinner table or at their bedside and voiced their prayers to God. Most of these prayers were likely words and phrases that you taught your children to say. No one would argue the need to pray for and with your children when they were five years old. However, when you consider all they face, is a fifteen-year-old in any less need of prayer? 

The truth is our teenagers are in desperate need of us to come alongside them in this season of life as we pray for them and with them. If you as the primary disciple-maker for your children are not praying for your children, who will? Prayer must begin at home. We know that prayer matters, but for many parents, it can get pushed aside in favor of other things that feel more immediate and urgent. So how do we engage our family in prayer?

Here are four steps you can take to make prayer a priority in your life and the lives of your children.

  1. Pray – Obviously praying is exactly what we are talking about, but that is the catch for some people. Sometimes we can spend time talking about prayer, reading about prayer, and thinking about how we should pray more often, but what we miss out on is actually praying. Before we can engage our family in prayer we must first make prayer a priority in our own lives. Set aside time to pray each day and find those moments as you go throughout your day to redirect your heart to God in prayer.
  2. Pray for your family – What is it that drives your heart to pray for members of your family? Often when there is a crisis or some area of need in their lives, we will have a healthy response to pray for that area of need. Of course, this is a great thing for us to do, but we cannot let prayer begin and end there. The reality for us all is that we are always in need of God and His work in our lives, so we can always pray to that end for each member of our family.
  3. Pray with your family – We can and should pray for our family, but don’t miss out on the blessing of praying with them. Now I know the hesitation many of you may feel. You may be self-conscious about how you pray around others and do not want to feel awkward or make them feel awkward. If you have not prayed with them in a long time, you may even convince yourself that it is better to pray only for them but never with them. Listen, it is well worth any initial awkwardness to carry out these God-given moments to pray with your family individually or together.
  4. Pray Scripture – One of the reasons we may not pray consistently for our kids is that we are not sure what to pray when there is not an immediate need. Praying Scripture can be a helpful way to engage your family with the Word of God while knowing you are praying in line with God’s will. After all, you can’t get any closer to God’s will than God’s Word. This will also guide you toward more prayers of adoration, confession, and thanksgiving to go along with the requests from your family.

We hope these ideas are helpful for you to begin or continue rhythms of prayer in your home. Most of all, it is our prayer that you will step out in faith to make personal and family prayer an ongoing priority in the days ahead. For all the areas we feel like we may have wasted time or we wish we had spent doing something else, we can guarantee that these moments of prayer will matter. Let’s dive in with the same child-like faith we began with when saying those bedtime prayers with our children. Let’s pray in faith, trusting that even as we lead our families in prayer, that God is leading us as His child.