Here are 3 simple and easy ways of going about “family prayer” that you can try in your family!
1. Pray for the person to your (right/left).
In our “family nights” (we sing together, read and discuss the scriptures, and pray together), we often use this method of prayer. It goes something like this…
“OK, everyone turn to the person on your right and find out what things you can pray about for them. Then we’re going to pray for those specific things”
Naturally, there’s a little bit of giggling as everyone turns to their right and finds that person turned to their right… but everyone finally gets past it and receives and gives a prayer request. Then we pray together for those things.
I don’t typically keep track of which direction I’ve told people to turn the previous family night, nor do I keep track of who’s prayed for who.
Why? Because every time we’re sitting in different places, so we naturally get “mixed around” in who we are praying for.
Sometimes I will intentionally look to see who’s sitting next to who and choose the direction I feel will be most beneficial for those relationships, but other than that, this one works on its own pretty well.
2. Round Robin Prayer
We’ve recently begun doing this one and it seems to work pretty well. We do it at the dinner table, right after we’ve finished eating and it works great.
You start with a prayer list… things that you are facing as a family. They could be financial needs, health issues, employment, salvation of a family member, etc. It doesn’t matter how many you have on the list, but it’s probably better to keep it to 15 or under.
Take the list and a pen and explain what you’re going to do.
“I have a list of things that we as a family need to be praying about. I’m going to pray for the first one on the list and check it off. Then I’m going to pass it to the (right or left) and the next person will pray for the next item. When they are finished, they will check it off and pass the list to the next person. We’ll just keep passing the list around until everything is prayed for. The last person can say the ‘Amen.'”
This way everyone is praying, everyone is involved, and nobody gets to “opt out.” And it focuses the entire family on the needs that the entire family is facing. I think it serves to build unity because we are praying together.
3. Sharing Joys and Sorrows
Another option is that we’ll give these very simple instructions,
“I’d like everyone to share something they are currently happy about, and then share something they are having a hard time with right now. As each person finishes sharing, I’ll ask for someone to take that request and then we’ll pray for all of them at the end.”
It’s a pretty simple way of going about family prayer. But it’s a great way. Everyone gets to hear what’s on the heart of the others.
It builds community and unity. It builds compassion and care within the home.
If you have not had any sort of prayer time together as a family in the past, it’s time for that to change. You need to lead your children to prayer for each other and for the family as a whole. Here is one way I’d suggest you make the change…
- Call a family meeting.
- Repent to the family for not leading the way in prayer.
- Ask them to forgive you for neglecting that duty.
- Tell them the ideas you have for family prayer.
- Tell them you’d like to start praying together regularly to ask for God’s blessing and help as a family.
- Plan a time together when you will start (every Monday evening? Every Saturday before bed?)
My kids are 5 and 3, so we don’t really follow a list – here’s the way we do it: We normally pray briefly after we read a Bible story. I normally pick out something from the story to relate to us – something like God protected the Israelites and God protects us. Then we pray thanks for God protecting us. Pretty simple but it seems to work for their stage of life.