We have a LOT of conversations in our home. Our tween son is constantly asking for snacks and get-togethers with his buddies. Our daughter is brainstorming about ways to set up her college dorm this fall. Our recently-graduated daughter pops in to share her latest job leads and updates on her freelance art projects.
These are just a few of the conversations we have at home in a typical day. Even our dogs get in on the fun by barking to let us know what is going on in the neighborhood! Maybe you can relate?
All of that conversation is what helps keep our family connected and close.
And it’s no different in our relationship with God.
He wants to know about our day, our thoughts, and our concerns. The Lord is eager to receive our questions and worries, our joys and words of thanks in prayer. When we “keep on praying,” we invite Him into every detail of our life as a family. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 even tells us that we should “pray without ceasing…”
But infusing prayer into the heart of our homes can be easier said than done! There are times that praying with our children can feel awkward or they may even be resistant to prayer or timid to speak them out loud. Prayer can even feel like a forced religious exercise, especially if it’s only happening at holidays or mealtimes, instead of a natural and sincere conversation with the Lord.
Creating a regular rhythm of prayer in your family’s routine can be challenging if you don’t already have a practice of prayer. You don’t have to force it! Here are eight ways we recommend naturally infusing prayer into the heart of your home:
1. Pray at mealtimes.
This is one of the most common times for families to include prayer, and that’s okay! Mealtimes are a great opportunity to pause and remember how God provides and meets our needs. Jesus himself practiced giving thanks before a meal (John 6:11) so we get to follow His example.
2. Pray before bedtime.
Bedtime can be significant because it is when kids are the most likely to open up about what’s on their minds and hearts. Make this a part of your bedtime routine by asking your kids what they are thinking about. When they have shared, lead them to pray and guide them in understanding how they can go to God with all their thoughts and concerns.
3. Before big moments
Are you about to go on a vacation? Start the school year or maybe move to a new house? These are the types of big moments where it makes perfect sense to pause and pray. You can even pray as an entire family and use “popcorn prayer” to break the ice. This is when everyone takes turns praying just one phrase of thanks at a time.
4. Before small moments
We don’t have to wait for the big moments to pray together! When someone in your family feels worried, a child is getting ready to hang out with friends, when you’re on your way to music lessons, before doing homework, and so many more! You can even create a “prayer jar” with the names of friends, family, church leaders, missionaries, and neighbors. Each time you or your child pass the jar, encourage them to draw a name and pray for them!
5. In the car
As you run errands or take your children to school, why not reclaim that time spent in the car? It is a great opportunity to pray with your child for their classmates, teachers, and any concerns for the day ahead. This is another great way to start natural conversation with your family about what’s on their minds.
6. After moments of gratitude
Just like we can share our concerns, worries, and troubles with God, we can share our moments of gratitude, joy, and thanksgiving too! When mom or dad gets a bonus, your child does well on their test, a prayer is answered, or any other good things come into your life, practice taking time to give thanks to God for them!
7. Modeled by you
One of the most important ways you can make prayer a natural thing in your family’s life is to make a regular practice of it in your own. If your children see you practicing quiet time in the morning or throughout the day and participating in prayer on your own, the more natural a practice of prayer will be in their own lives.
8. Invite your children to pray
Prayer, whether it is in your mind or aloud, can be unfamiliar for a child. The more you can invite them into a practice of prayer, the more natural it will become. You might even pray through one of the Psalms together as a family. You can do this by praying verse-by-verse around the table. (This is one of our favorites!)
It’s important to take time on a regular basis, not just to pray, but to point out how God is working through your prayers. As our kids see Him respond and understand how He wants to hear from them, it will build their faith in His love, presence, and power.
The more your family sees prayer infused into your daily routine and rhythms, the more it will become a natural and sincere conversation with the Lord in their own faith life.
What about you? Which of these ideas to you plan to incorporate in your family’s rhythm?