Prayer is one of the best ways to help your family thrive and to see each other grow in relationship with God together. However, doing this well in busy family lives can often feel like a huge challenge!
I don’t have all of the answers, but these are some of the things that as we’ve found that help and nurture our family prayer life:
Children love to copy their grown-ups; I’m sure we’re all very aware of that! I remember being young and creeping downstairs to find my Dad reading the Bible and praying in the kitchen every morning. He’d wrap me up and share what he was doing with me before I’d run off to play.
It’s important that we show our children how we invest in our relationship with God so they can copy us.
Building prayer into a routine that is already in place for your family means that it’s far more likely to continue to happen regularly.
In our family, we set an alarm for 6pm every day when we’re normally just finishing dinner, where we pray and sign the Lord’s Prayer. This simple act of repetition helps to create building blocks in our children’s prayer language.
Prayer doesn’t have to be speaking out loud, and children often need time to develop their own chatting to God language before they want to vocalise a prayer.
My 4 year old daughter loves inviting me into her duvet tent before bed for what she calls ‘whisper prayers’. Basically, she whispers a lot and I generally don’t know what she’s saying, but I do know that she’s chatting to God about her day. My eldest son likes to write and draw his prayers.
Where we can, we should meet our children in these times and join in. This not only encourages and develops them but it validates their personal prayer relationship with their heavenly father.
Prayer can, and should, happen everywhere. When we see something to praise God for, instead of internalising that prayer, why not say it simply out loud so our children know what’s going on in our head.
There are so many daily opportunities to pray if we open our eyes to see them; why not check out Pete Greig’s example of how to make changing a nappy into a time of prayer.
There are so many different resources that can help you pray together as a family. We’re really excited about the launch of Lectio for Families. Aimed at families with children aged 7 – 11 years old, it’s a free app launching for Advent on the 29th November.
Like Lectio 365, it follows a simple pattern to help families gather, read the Bible, pray together and kindle faith growing conversations. I cannot wait to journey with my own family, and hear stories of other families encountering God together.