“Daddy, who are we praying for today? And can we start praying together at the table again?” Those are the words our 7-year-old said the other day. We were five or six days into 21 Days of Prayer with our church, and we’d missed a couple days because our 11-year-old had surgery.
What he said was just a small window into the truth my pastor spoke to me the first time we went through 21 Days of Prayer with our kids. He said, “Your kids will never recover from this.” I’ve witnessed this firsthand. Prayer has changed our family and prayer with our kids has wrecked their lives…for good.
Back to the two questions my son asked. At one point we’d established praying together as a family as a regular thing, but we’d gotten off track. And not just those couple of days when our oldest son had surgery, but well before that. Praying together as a family had taken a back seat.
I wish there was a good excuse, but I have none. I just had not been leading my family in prayer the way I know I should. You may have been there yourself. It’s okay, as long as you get back on track.
So, how do you get back on track?
Sometimes it takes something tragic happening or a difficult season for your family to get back on track. We’ve been there before. Other times it takes a big dream for your family that you know you need God’s blessing and supernatural help for it to happen.
And then there comes that heartfelt reminder that your kids’ lives have been changed and will be changed forever because you’ve prayed with them, but you’ve been slacking and not currently creating an atmosphere and lifestyle of prayer.
Below are a few ways my kids’ lives have been wrecked through praying with them.
Praying together tilts the tide from sibling rivalry to sibling love.
Our kids disagree, argue, fight, and are just plain mean to each other sometimes. Despite all that, we see a genuine love for one another. One big reason is the time they share in prayer transparently sharing feelings, dreams, fears, and more. I believe one great way to ensure your family remains a family even after the kids grow up, leave, and have their own families is to connect them in prayer while still in your household.
Praying together lets your kids know it’s okay to not have it all together
I thought my parents were perfect. I thought they knew everything, could do anything, were tougher, smarter, and better than everybody else. When the season came when I realized that wasn’t true, it was hard for me. Kids think parents have it all together and that can put pressure on them to be the same. Praying with them shows this to be false, but it’s okay because we are able to put our trust in Someone who really does have it all together. And that is more reassuring than anything.
Praying together creates a selfless nature in your kids
We pray about our needs, but we also pray for the needs of others. Jesus prayed more for others than He did Himself. Modeling prayer creates a selfless and caring nature in your kids.
If your household is anything like ours, self-centeredness is a big challenge. Constantly hearing prayers for others’ well-being and for the needs of others, even those who don’t always treat you like you want, does something to a child. When this is present, consistently, your kids will be more encouraged to intentionally focus on being kind and helping others.
Praying together helps your kids build a relationship with Christ
This hopefully goes without saying, but it must be said. When you pray with your kids you are introducing them to the Heavenly Father, the Creator of the Universe. You are teaching them how to talk to Him, how to know Him better, and how to trust Him. There isn’t a greater benefit than that.
I’m so thankful for the 21 Days of Prayer serving as a restart to our family coming together in prayer. Sometimes we need things like this, or other people to serve as a reminder and encouragement to get us back to the things we know will help us and those we love the most.
I’m hoping this post serves as your reminder and you are excited to make or remake praying together with your kids a staple for your family.
[callout] Every January and August our church goes through 21 Days of Prayer together as a church family. Each morning at 6 am, we join together for an hour of worship, prayer, and an encouraging message. It’s even streamed online with replays available for 24 hours. We’d love for you to join us! Click here to watch the latest prayer service! [/callout]
[reminder]What’s the biggest impact praying with your kids has had on their lives?[/reminder]
photo credit: Photosightfaces Leading the way via photopin (license)
Good read Jackie. My kids are 3 and 1 and I’ve already started to notice some of the things that you mentioned. With my son he is now is in the habit of praying over his body when he falls or gets a cold.
Thanks Jackie. Good post. We pray every night together, but don’t usually take prayer requests from within the family. We normally pray some basic things and for others who have needs. Maybe we should start taking requests from within our family.