I can remember a time when prayer felt transactional to me. Although I’d been praying since before I could read, even as an adult, prayer often felt like a one-way conversation in which I asked God for this or that and then waited to see how He would respond.
And then I walked through a season of loss so deep it rattled my faith. I prayed but God seemed silent. Why wouldn’t He respond to my desperate plea? I had laid my requests before Him, time and time again, just as Philippians 4:6 told me to do. And yet, I still felt empty. Alone.
In the midst of my seemingly stagnant prayer life, illuminated by grief and pain, I eventually found comfort and a new perspective in the words of Philip Yancey. In his book, Prayer, Yancey said, “The main purpose of prayer is not to make life easier, nor to gain magical powers, but to know God.”
To pray is to know God.
Once my view of the purpose of prayer changed, so did my conversations with God. He eventually brought about the miracles for which I had once prayed, but not until after I learned to commune with Him—with honest words and ruthless trust.
I imagine this is the place we all hope our children come to someday. Theirs is a personal journey between them and God but it starts right now, with us as their guide—to learn the practice of prayer and how it can lead us to know the God who loves us so personally and so deeply.
Perhaps there isn’t a better time to go deeper in prayer than right now—when our country, the world, and our own families need God more than ever. Prayer is not just another thing on your Christian to-do list or your parenting to-teach list.
Prayer is an invitation and an opportunity to connect with God. Prayer is a privilege that when practiced, will change our lives and the life of our family.
But as with any practice, consistency is crucial. God longs to meet with you and your kids daily—multiple times a day—to strengthen you and to guide you through whatever it is you are experiencing, whether your highest highs or your lowest lows.
Consistency can be hard when work and kids and responsibilities seem to tug at us from every direction. Yet it is possible with small, intentional steps taken with a commitment to grow alongside our kids in the practice of prayer.
How to Develop a More Consistent Family Prayer Life This Year
Start with small habits. Commit to praying before every meal or every night at bedtime. It’s easy to skip these sacred moments when you’re just trying to wrangle everyone to the table or into their beds. But these seemingly insignificant habits are the building blocks to a long-term life of prayer.
Establish a rhythm. The next most important thing you can do to grow more consistent with prayer in your family is to establish a rhythm with the small habits you adopt. Maybe you choose to start and end your day in prayer together. Perhaps a Sunday family meeting includes an extended time of prayer. Ask God to show you how you can incorporate small habits of prayer into your regular family routines to create a rhythm of communication with God.
Take steps to go deeper. If you have older kids or if you’re already praying on a regular basis, think about ways you can go deeper in prayer together. Maybe that means taking turns praying out loud so kids can practice prayer with you. Or maybe you introduce a prayer box or prayer journal to keep track of requests and answers to watch God work through your prayers. Ask God to show you what the next steps should be for your family to develop a deeper prayer life.
Be honest. God doesn’t just listen to us when we pray. He joins us in prayer. He loves to meet with His children and He doesn’t want us to come to Him pretending or avoiding our honest feelings. One of the most important truths you can share with your kids as you practice prayer is to come to God openly and honestly. The more honest we are with God in prayer, the most He can use our time with Him to reorient our hearts toward His. This is the purpose of prayer—to know God and to be ever-growing because of the time we spend with Him.
Practice. As with anything in life, practice makes progress. The more we talk with God, the more comfortable we’ll become in bringing our worship, confession, gratitude, and requests to Him.
Prayer is one of the most incredible parts of faith because it allows us to spend time with God, who loves us more than we could ever know. As you begin to teach your kids about prayer, start by praying for them: that God would reveal Himself to them through prayer and that He would strengthen their faith through the daily practice of prayer.
For more help in making this the year your family goes deeper in prayer and to teach your kids the purpose and power of prayer, check out our latest Minno Life Guide: Prayer.
Our latest Minno Life Guide, Prayer: The Practice of Talking to God offers practical help for teaching kids the sacred act of communing with their heavenly Father. This guide will open the door for your family to grow in the practice of prayer— starting with small, daily habits that lead to deep roots of dependence and communion. This mini ebook is full of simple ideas and biblical truth to guide grownups on how to lead kids to develop an honest and vibrant prayer life.
- Learn how to talk about prayer and practice prayer as a family.
- Discover what the Bible teaches about prayer.
- Engage in conversations about prayer with the simple prompts in each section of the guide.
- Use the included Family Prayer Resources to establish your own family prayer habits.