In a busy, turbulent world, families are in danger of losing that special, intimate, private connection with each other. The average household in a modern world consists of family members with jobs or scheduled extra curricular activities that take up most of the hours in a week. In fact, many moms and dads lament that they wish the good Lord would allow us more than 24 hours per day because there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to get everything done. Truth be told — all we have is time. While we each have obligations and responsibilities, we can usually make time for family if we really want to. It’s about choosing that as a priority and sacrificing other unnecessary (albeit, perhaps, worthwhile) things. If you’re longing for more family time and want that time to include praying together, consider starting a weekly family prayer group.
Family prayer group is memory I cherish
Most of my children are grown and on their own now. In nearly 20 years of homeschooling, this is the first time ever that I do not have a student below high school level. Everyone has jobs, sports commitments and schedules that are not consistent. This makes scheduling a family prayer group rather challenging. Writing this post, however, challenges me to restore this beloved custom. It’s a tradition I enjoyed immensely when the kids were growing up.
There are not set rules for incorporating a family prayer into your weekly schedule. A great way to start is to gather your family together so that everyone can share ideas. Provide each person (no matter what age) to say what he or she wishes to include in each gathering. There’s no reason that each group session has to be the same, although routine and consistency help form the foundation of tradition.
Basic guidelines for a family prayer group
You and your family can customize your family prayer group time to suit you preference. The following list shows the basic activities that my family enjoyed together when we practiced this weekly tradition:
- A calendar or schedule was prepared ahead of time, listing which activity each person would be responsible for the following week.
- The first activity each week would be an opening prayer. The person leading this part of our family prayer group could compose a prayer by heart or lead us in a prayer we all know.
- Next, someone would share a Scripture reading or a story or article that inspired him or her that week.
- This was followed by a list of prayer intentions that would be read allowed, with the leader ending each intention with the phrase, “We pray to the Lord” and all responding together, “Lord, hear our prayer.”
- As our family prayer time came to a close, we would sing a song together.
- Finally, someone would lead us in a closing prayer.
- To make our family prayer group extra special, we would always end with a social time that included snacks and beverages.
To help instill the idea of serving others and working together, we always assigned snacks to two people per week. They would set a pretty table, make the snacks and serve them when the time came. Our gathering would usually last about half and hour total, and my children looked forward to it each week. It was a respite in a busy world — a time when we could slow down and simply be together. And, as Jesus said, “For wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there am I, in their midst.” (Matthew 18:20) We truly could feel His presence in our humble little gatherings. They were nothing fancy, but they were special. Sharing this family prayer group tradition brought us closer together and helped us to be grateful for our blessings.
It’s okay if you feel awkward at first
Perhaps your family has never been one to pray aloud together at home. That’s okay. It doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy a family prayer group. It might feel a bit strange at first. You might hear a few giggles or even feel embarrassed to be praying out loud in front of your family. Once you give it a try for a month or so, I can almost guarantee that you’ll start to feel more comfortable. No matter what faith your family practices, you can adapt this tradition to align with its tenets.
There’s a lot of turmoil in the world right now, especially in the United States. Corrupt individuals have been pulling out all stops to try to cause division, despair and hopelessness. There has been a usurping and violation of personal rights on a daily basis. Children, in particular, are under severe stress due to being forced to wear face masks and stay away from their friends. Some people are actually teaching children that people who make their own health decisions instead of letting the government decide are bad people. Imagine that! This is the United States of America! None of us can predict what the future holds. It should be obvious to any man or woman of faith, though, that prayer is greatly needed now more than ever.
Consider starting a family prayer group as a way to take a break from the busyness of life. Make it a special time where you and your family spend time together in God’s presence. Pray for your own intentions and pray for this country and the world. It only takes 30 minutes and a little bit of scheduling ahead. If you begin this custom in your family, we’d love to hear about it! In addition to praying as a family, there are many benefits to strengthening your personal prayer life, as well.