Practical Ways to Pray with Those We Love

Practical Ways to Pray with Those We Love

 

For many Christians, praying with their family can be an intimidating thing to do. My father was a man of few words, and though he and Mom taught me to pray as a child, it was only in the later years of his life that I really felt at ease praying with him. I wish I’d found the courage sooner.

Learning to pray with the people we love can be a challenge, but “we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). God wants you to pray together, and as you keep trying He will help you learn ways of praying that will work for your personal situation. Jesus told His disciples, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). We all must work at encouraging prayer in our families; it’s an aspect of family life where there is always room to grow. God is merciful and accepts our efforts no matter how steep the learning curve may be. He works with us where we are and will always make a way.

 

Praying with Your Children
Jesus said that “a prophet is not without honour except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home” (Mark 6:4). Any parents who have tried to sit down and pray with their teenagers can relate to those words! Our faults are right out there for all to see, and there never seems to be a right time to do it. But praying with our families is always worth the effort because it “brings home” the power and presence of God.

1. Ease Prayer into Existing Routines
The easiest way to begin is to quietly ease prayer into existing routines. When are you sitting quietly together for a moment during the day? Think about the natural rhythms of your life together and ask God to show you those times where you can gently introduce a few moments to pray.

But praying with our families is always worth the effort because it “brings home” the power and presence of God.

Our family kept a book of Bible verse promises and a daily “flip” calendar with verses beside the dinner table. After thanking God for our food, we’d pray briefly about whatever promise we chose for the day. Other times we would wait until the end of the meal and then share the verse and pray about whatever we had talked about over dinner.

Many families say a memorized prayer at bedtime when their children are little. As kids grow, you can add a few moments to thank God for something that happened during the day or to check in about what is happening the next day (followed by a few moments to pray about it).

Keeping a family prayer journal is another great way to show God’s faithfulness in answering prayer and involve children as they grow.

Keeping a family prayer journal is another great way to show God’s faithfulness in answering prayer and involve children as they grow. Any notebook will do. Write down what you prayed about and then leave room to write down the answer later. As you write down the answers God gives, take time to thank and praise Him for what He’s done. Prayers that take longer to answer give you a chance to talk about God’s perfect wisdom and how He always answers prayer, even if He says no or wait. But keep teaching moments brief so that shorter attention spans are able to keep up. Likewise, our own prayers with children should be frequent, but not lengthy. If children are taught to see prayer as an exciting and special meeting time with God, they’ll be drawn to it.

2. Be Spontaneous
In a society where families spend less time together than ever before, learning how to pray together helps you stay closer. The time doesn’t have to be long—even three minutes can make a difference and bring blessings that would never have occurred otherwise.

The time doesn’t have to be long—even three minutes can make a difference and bring blessings that would never have occurred otherwise.

Praying together spontaneously is part of God’s design for family life. God tells us to “impress” His Word upon our children “when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 6:7). Prayer shouldn’t be only at set times; it should be part of the natural flow of the day. The less rehearsed and more frequent prayer is, the easier it will be to sustain. By weaving God’s promises and prayer into the day, we please Him and walk closer with Him.

3. Watch and Pray
Paul advised the early Christians in Ephesus to make “the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). The spiritual challenges families face today require parents to be more proactive than ever. Because the devil does not sleep, our homes need the security system of God’s watchful power to answer prayer.

When your children are afraid, pray with them about whatever their concern may be. When they are happy, point to God and use it as a chance to thank and praise Him. When someone in the family is sick, pray for healing together.

We make “the most of every opportunity” with our children by keeping in step with the Spirit and by staying in prayer ourselves. Let your children “catch” you praying on your own. Pray with them when you hear a siren (for the people who need help and for the people helping them). Pray when you drive by your church or a homeless person or an accident. When your children are afraid, pray with them about whatever their concern may be. When they are happy, point to God and use it as a chance to thank and praise Him. When someone in the family is sick, pray for healing together. Be bold and be creative, and trust God to meet you as you step forward in faith.

 

Praying with Your Spouse
Praying together was one of the main priorities of married life in the New Testament. Peter wanted husbands to treat their wives with respect, “so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (1 Peter 3:7). Paul told husbands and wives in Corinth that they could abstain briefly from physical affection to “devote yourselves to prayer” (1 Corinthians 7:5). Scripture makes it clear that when both are believers, husbands and wives should share the blessing and responsibility of praying together.

When we pray together, we welcome Jesus’s presence and peace into our married lives. As we spend time with Him, He enables us to love each other through His spirit in ways that we cannot in our own strength. Where He is, hearts are changed and homes are blessed.

Scripture makes it clear that when both are believers, husbands and wives should share the blessing and responsibility of praying together.

1. Finding Time
How we spend time in prayer together is not as important as simply doing it. Doing it isn’t as difficult as we’re sometimes tempted to think. Even a few moments spent before God in prayer can make a huge difference in crucial aspects of our lives.

We considered the normal routines of our lives to find time to pray with children, and the same applies to couples praying together. When are you naturally together? Is it in the evening when you go to bed, or in the morning when you first wake up? If prayer is something waiting to be scheduled, it may not happen. But if it’s built into a routine that always occurs, it will soon become a regular part of your life.

2. Praying Silently
For couples who have never tried praying together, it may be helpful to begin by praying silently. One partner is usually more vocal than another, and this helps keep balance and make it less intimidating if either is uncomfortable praying aloud. First mention what you would like to pray about. Then hold hands, close your eyes, and pray. When you’ve finished praying, squeeze your spouse’s hand to let him or her know you’re finished. Praying this way is so easy, it can happen anywhere: in a crowded restaurant, a hospital waiting room, or in bed first thing in the morning or at the end of the day.

First mention what you would like to pray about. Then hold hands, close your eyes, and pray. When you’ve finished praying, squeeze your spouse’s hand to let him or her know you’re finished.

Praying together helps with communication in marriage, even when words are not said. When you pray, God is at work in both of you, communicating on a deeper level than words could ever reach. Simply sitting together quietly in His presence can open the door to miracles. God wants our marriages to be blessed and waits to move powerfully in our lives when we pray together.

3. Be Creative
Another great way for couples to begin to pray together is to simply thank God for each other. Take turns thanking God for the things you love about each other. You may be surprised to hear what your husband or wife is thankful for! Sometimes it’s easier to say things to God about our spouse than it is to say them directly.

Take turns thanking God for the things you love about each other. You may be surprised to hear what your husband or wife is thankful for!

After you have thanked God for each other, ask Him to bless your spouse and then intercede for each other. Some of the most tender moments a husband and wife can share together are in prayer. This is especially true when you pray for each other’s heartfelt needs. When you hear someone who knows you intimately and loves you dearly interceding for a special need in your life, you cannot help being moved.

God will pour fresh grace into your relationship with Him and with each other as you make time to pray together. Be creative! Try praying for each other at a set time every day when you are apart or arranging a “prayer date” in a place that is meaningful to both of you. Make a commitment to grow in prayer together, and ask God to show you how. Praying together protects marriages because it grounds them in power and the Word of God.

Try praying for each other at a set time every day when you are apart or arranging a “prayer date” in a place that is meaningful to both of you.

Truly amazing things await us when we reach up together in prayer. What will your blessing be? A legacy of love that reaches well beyond your years? Loved ones saved and helped by prayers that outlive you, monuments to God’s almighty power? He’s done it before, and He’ll do it again! God’s mercies, new every morning, will never fail you. He is faithful!

 

Excerpted and adapted from Praying Together by James Banks. © 2016 by James Banks. Used by permission ofDiscovery House. All rights reserved.

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