Life makes many demands on today's families and lives are often full and hectic. Finding the time for prayer can seem difficult - especially if you aren't sure where to begin or how to pray as a family. Praying and growing together as a family is a gift that will sustain each member of your family throughout the storms of this life and one that will prepare you all for the next life.
Tip #1: Foster Your Own Prayer Life
From the newborn who sticks out her tongue after watching Mom do it, to the toddler who snags dad's phone and pretends to send a text, to the child who gathers his friends to play school, children learn best through imitation. It is no different with prayer.
Making time to foster your own prayer life and letting your children see you pray does more to teach them about the value of prayer than any book, DVD, or religion class lesson ever can...
It can be challenging to find time to pray when you have a family. Carving time out of your busy schedule will not only help you better manage the stress of family life, it will foster a love for Christ in your children as well.
Each family is different, so the time you find may not be the same as mine. Maybe you can get up 5 minutes earlier in the morning. Maybe you can find 15 minutes after dinner. Maybe you have a 20 minute drive to take the kids to school. Find what works for you, for your family, and for your life.
Claim the Time
Once you find the time that works, be clear with your children about what that time is for. Welcome them to pray with you if they ask, but explain that this is "Mommy's time with Jesus" or "Daddy's time to pray." Curb (non-emergency) interruptions by telling them that Jesus gets your attention right now, but you will help them when you are done.
Setting these clear boundaries with your children will help them to experience the value of dedicated prayer time and see what making prayer a priority looks like.
When you have young children and are talking to a close friend on the phone, occasionally the conversation is cut short. A potty accident, a spastic dog, or an urgent homework question might leave you saying, "I'm sorry, I really have to go. I'll talk to you later."
Remember that prayer is simply a conversation with Jesus who wants to be closer to you than your closest friend. He desire to listen to you, to talk to you, and to spend time with you, but He certainly understands if your time gets cut short!
If today's prayer isn't working, know that you can always try again later!
Prayer is A Journey
Just like any relationship, your relationship with Christ has ebbs and flows that move with the seasons of your life. Your prayer life does not need to be perfect today. Simply consider where your relationship with Jesus is today and work on taking one step closer.
Then, in an hour, a week, a year...
after the baby is born, or the toddler potty trained, or the laundry is done, or the math class has been passed...
take another step!
The good news is that you have heard God calling your family to pray more together. Our Prayer Resource Guide has an entire section on our recommended resources for family prayer. Download the guide and take the first step toward responding to that call!