Is there daily prayer in your family? How often do your family members pray together? Prayer is a blessing that too many families overlook and live without. Communication with God can be a powerful tool in the happiness and strength of your home. When families take time to praise and petition God, the benefits are many. Through prayer, tired and frustrated parents receive strength, wisdom, and encouragement. Prayer teaches our children that we are dependent upon God and that He deserves a special place in our hearts. Talking with God reinforces the loving relationship of commitment between husband/wife and parents/children. When family members pray for one another, they value one another more. Prayer also teaches families to look beyond their own lives to the needs of others.
Look for opportunities to pray with your family. Meal time is the perfect setting for teaching thanksgiving. Encourage your children to take turns praying at the table. Likewise, bed time is a wonderful opportunity for family members to hear each other pray. No day should close without talking to God. Do not forget other obvious times such as when the family separates in the morning, when there is sickness or grief to deal with, when important family decisions must be made, at the beginning of road trips, and on birthdays, celebrations, or anniversaries. Use your imagination. What good opportunities for prayer may you be overlooking? Do not become too busy for prayer.
Parents need to become the role models of prayer for their children. On one occasion, the disciples asked Jesus, “teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). Prayer is a taught behavior. There is nothing wrong with teaching our kids to ride a bike, throw a ball, swim, or drive a car, but let us make sure we teach them to pray! When they leave home, hopefully prayer will be as natural as breathing to them. Prayer will be a comforting and uplifting gift for them the rest of their lives. In our instruction, it is essential that we teach them to be in submission to the will of God (read Matthew 26:36-46 and 2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Prayer is never demanding God to comply with our will, but rather a demonstration of our faith to do His will. Children need to know that God sometimes answers our prayers with “Yes,” and other times with “No.” On occasions, He answers with “Wait a while” or “I have something better for you.” The crucial thing that they must understand is that we can trust God to always do the best thing for us even when we may not understand it. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). The apostle Paul reminded Christians, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
Start praying with your family members today if you have neglected to do so. It is too important to neglect in your circle of love. If you have been praying, continue to do so and be committed to growing in this area. Prayer is a privilege and a blessing for your family to enjoy together!