Principles of family prayer (part 3)

Be joyful

We are not talking about hype or entertainment. It’s more meaningful than that. When we speak to our living God we should be full of anticipation, excitement and joy.

Make it real. Kids know when you are just going through the motions, and those prayers are a drag. It’s okay to bring needs to family prayer. It is humbling (and comforting too) to hear your daughter or son pray for your bad attitude or your upcoming job evaluation.

Encourage them a lot. Ask them what God is speaking to them. Talk to them as the spiritual beings they are. Give them a chance to tell you and then check it against God’s Word together. I always do that with my kids’ prayer group. Every time someone felt God was speaking to them we went to the Bible to verify it. The kids would light up when they found it in Scripture and realized they really heard from God.

Discuss similar situations from your own life and how prayer helped you (or could have helped you). Children enjoy practical examples and a personal story can go a long way in encouraging and inspiring your young ones.

Look for examples in the Bible together. Search out answers to your prayer needs, look for prayers, and how people handled situations similar to yours. God’s Word is quick and powerful (Heb 4:12), and it doesn’t get more exciting than that!

Have praise and worship time that gets everyone focused on the Lord. Some of my favorite memories are of the kids and I singing and dancing to some rockin’ praise music, lifting our arms and singing to beat the band. We fall to the sofa on a heap then catch our breaths before regrouping to pray. We got the wiggles out and are ready to focus on God and others.

Ways to make your family prayer time more vibrant include:

  • neighborhood prayer walks
  • praying for the sick at the hospital
  • creating “prayer central”: dry wipe board for requests/needs, map, scrapbook with photos of family and people groups
  • start a family prayer journal
  • making collages of nations on your heart
  • adopting a missionary families