Matthew 18:20 states, "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them."
Welcome to this in-depth article on the topic of prayer for family. Spiritual Bridge aims to be the best online source for informative and engaging Christian articles, meditations, prayers, and devotionals. Thousands of visitors review our content each day in search of spiritual advice, tips, insight, and inspiration to help them in their walk of faith. Parents and youths alike are encouraged to explore and share our faith-based articles as often as they like with family and friends.
In our complex world of competing perspectives, choosing the right path and finding our way through life, we often search for guidance through the power of prayer. We pray for those we love, especially family members, but we do not always pray with them as much as we should, or would like to.
Matthew 18:20 states, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Jesus promised his disciples that where two or more are gathered in his name, he would be among them. When families pray together, they invite the spiritual power of God into their lives. They become instruments of divine purpose and ministers of hope. Parents and children who walk in faith together learn to acknowledge Christ as the true head of the family.
Families of every kind, large or small, rich or poor, united or divided, are the nucleus of society and the foundation of God’s kingdom. God takes great joy in seeing families grow spiritually together, and continues to work for the salvation of the human family through the faith of those who pray to him.
As Christians redeemed by the profound sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we see the world through renewed eyes, embracing new possibilities and hopes for our future in this world and the next. Each day, as we grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word, we strive to apply the wisdom we have received through acts of sharing, kindness, and mindfulness with those around us, particularly our family members with whom we share so many intimate aspects of our lives.
Our search for meaning and identity begins at home. Through prayer, we can deepen our daily interactions with family members and find strength to face the increasing demands of life. Parents and children today face many unique challenges, unknown to previous generations, but if we learn to pray, and pray together, we can shine as examples for other families in need of hope.
1 Timothy 5:8 says, “If anyone has no care for his family and those in his house, he is false to the faith, and is worse than one who has no faith."
Family and Prayer
When we turn to prayer for answers and guidance, quite often God speaks to us through our family members. Siblings, parents, caregivers, and relatives can all become instruments of divine counsel in our lives. They can be nourishing, deep reservoirs of wisdom and experience and feed our sense of well-being. Building on a childhood foundation of self-worth and esteem, we can join society as productive adult members and eventually build families of our own.
Preserving family connections across vast distances can be a significant challenge for those separated from loved ones. When family bonds come under strain, the resulting stress and anxiety can feel overwhelming, even paralyzing. Households with one partner who travels for work, spouses forced to seek employment in different states, children who leave home to seek education and opportunities abroad, or aging family members who require more hospitable climates for health reasons are only some of the reasons families are forced apart.
Through deep, genuine, meditation and prayer, we find the courage and strength to lift our thoughts above the confusion of life. The loving guidance and support we receive from our parents and caregivers facilitates can profoundly influence our spiritual habits, especially prayer, and sustain us through the most difficult passages of life’s journey.
Spiritual Bridge invites you to explore our website daily for family related articles and topics that will bring your family closer together in faith, love, and understanding.
What does God have to say about prayer?
Scripture is filled with examples of men and women who called on the power of prayer for family. Without the prayers of Abraham, Sarah, Deborah, Jacob, Moses, Ruth, David, and many others, whose personal and family struggles shaped the course of Israel’s miraculous history, Scripture itself, with all its rich insights, prophecy, and mysteries, might not exist.
The stories, prayers, hymns, psalms and prophetic visions we know today as the Bible are the overwhelming evidence of a God who works through prayer to right wrongs, comfort the broken-hearted, heal the wounded, and guide the lost back home. The prayers of the patriarchs, the prophets, and even the simple songs of passing shepherds remain as a timeless reminder of God’s love for humanity.
God’s love for his family, demonstrated through the sacrifice of Jesus, exemplifies the love we should all strive to emulate in our relationship with our own families. Forgiving, patient, stern when necessary, but always motivated by love, our attitude towards those closest to us should reflect the power of God’s love in our lives.
Psalm145:18 states, “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”
Film and television repeatedly portray desperate heroes and heroines who pray for a miracle and are rescued in a dramatic fashion from impending disaster. Sometimes, we try to bargain with God in our prayers, hoping to exchange a good deed for God’s good will (Just get me that raise I’ve been asking for and I’ll go to church every Sunday!) We can be easily discouraged and misled in our faith when we pray for things but do not receive them, in spite of our urgency.
What Should I Pray For?
Jesus makes it clear that, as children of God, we too can draw on the power of prayer to work good in the world. We have the assurance that whatever we ask for we will receive:
Mark 11:24 explains, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
It was faith that convinced Abraham to risk all his fortune and follow his heart to seek the promised land. It was faith that emboldened Moses, as he stood before the most powerful political figure of his day, to demand the release of the enslaved Israelite population from Egyptian slavery. It was faith that enabled Peter, a simple fisherman, to walk on water in the midst of a raging storm.
Prayer is not about what you ask or the words you choose, it is about what you are willing to believe. When we engage in a prayer for family, it does not need to be perfect, eloquent, or profound. All that is required is faith in God’s unfailing love. God only asks for our faith in him in exchange for his infinite assurance.
God detests idolatry and does not seek to be idolized by human beings. Scripture explains that it is for our benefit, not God’s. Jesus prayed constantly for himself and for those he loved, including his enemies. He taught this same principle to the disciples repeatedly, exhorting them by his example and his words to pray in faith. The apostle James urged his fellow Christians to call on the power of prayer in faith.
James 5:14 explains, “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Pray in faith for the wellbeing those you love and for strangers. Pray for your community, for leaders and others who bear the weight of great responsibility. Pray for your enemies. Pray for those who are in need. Pray as the spirit of God within you urges. When we put the needs of others before our own in prayer, God works powerfully to answer our cry and fulfill our needs as well:
How Families Can Benefit from A Prayer for Family
“Sociologists have predicted the decline of religion for the past one hundred years, but it is now clear that religion has not lost its importance in modern society.”
Sociology research conducted by Marie Cornwall, editor of the ‘Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion’, examined the impact of church, peers, and family on religious socialization in adults. Her findings revealed the decisive role played by family in shaping our spiritual beliefs as well as our habits. Although church exerts a strong influence on our religious practice, she notes in her essay that “…there is a significant direct effect of home religious observance on frequency of personal prayer.”
Do you have trouble fitting in time for prayer with your loved ones? Busy schedules, long commutes, heavy workloads, lack of sleep and countless other challenges can quickly become mounting priorities that overwhelm us, pushing family life and family prayer further and further off the margins. God understands how heavy the burdens of the world can be and shares our pain as a loving parent for his children.
Reserving room in our life for family prayer is not always easy, but it is always worth the time invested. When we take the time to mindfully acknowledge God’s presence in our lives as a family, to meditate and reflect on our behavior, and our motivations, we open ourselves to the rewarding, humbling and profound warmth of God’s spiritual embrace.
Making time for a prayer for family demonstrates a firm commitment to leading by example. By making prayer a part of your family’s daily routine, attending church, and talking openly about your faith (including your struggles), you can encourage one another to continue growing in faith towards new heights of spiritual understanding. Take the initiative in organizing your family prayer sessions. Lead family members in giving thanks at meals, before and after a journey, or any occasion you feel inspired.
Creative Ways to Pray as A Family: Music, Art, and Meditation
James 5:13 says, “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.”
A prayer for family is a form of meditation and worship. Whether we pray privately in closed quarters or celebrate in public with songs and jubilation, prayers and hymns are an expression of the spirit’s yearning for God. We are told in fact that, through Christ, we have received the Holy Spirit, through which we are made children of God:
Romans 8:14 states, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.”
Moved by the power of God’s spirit, our faith expresses itself not only in acts of love and kindness, but in song, dance, drama, our speech, our bodies, and our thoughts. These are all great extra-curricular activities suitable for adults and children. They can be enjoyed individually or as a family. Families seeking to grow closer in Christ can benefit from group activities that provide an outlet for creative expression and encourage us to share our unique perspective with others. Discussing films, plays, and music in the context of faith can be a great learning experience that enriches you as a family and as individuals.
Exploring your city and its historic sites can be a great opportunity to educate your children, share personal experiences, and re-enforce spiritual values. Faith-based groups and non-denominational Christian organizations exist in many communities, offering a wide range of activities for people of all backgrounds and ages. These include:
- Painting workshops: The therapeutic benefits of painting are widely recognized in modern psychology. Besides developing motor skills, painting engages our sensory perception through color, stimulating our thoughts towards meditation, reflection and introspection as we explore imaginary forms shapes, lines, contours, and colors on the canvas or page.
- Local museums and art galleries: Family outings are a great opportunity to explore local collections of art and history. By discussing works of art and examining artefacts for themselves, children can be challenged to see the world around them beyond their own perspective and opinions.
- Live theatre, dance: Local plays and dance performances bring people together for the common goal of pushing the limits of their own ability. Dancing or drama, whether as a participant or entertainment, can inspire confidence and encourage personal expression in adolescents searching for identity. Children can find the courage to be unique and develop valuable character traits.
- Book clubs/ Reading clubs: Reading and discussing novels and short stories can be an opportunity to broaden your family’s horizons, share opinions, and think critically.
- Music lessons: Piano, guitar, cello, violin, or any instrument your child shows interest in can be great for developing an individual’s discipline, meditation, motor skills and introspection.
- Martial arts training: This allows children of all ages to build confidence, character, and discipline through such ancient and venerable arts. This includes Tae Kwon-Do, Karate, and Kung-Fu. The ability to handle confrontation, avoid conflict, and master your own emotions are spiritual values shared by all these forms. Your children will grow physically and spiritually.
Spiritual Bridge encourages families to explore and learn new activities together. Sharing artistic experiences with our children will build fond memories that leave a strong impression well into adulthood. They provide memorable occasions for families to grow in Christ.
Prayer for Family: Prayer and Meditation Activities for Children and Teenagers
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
During our formative years and into adolescence, socializing and peer groups play an important role in our social development. Children and teenagers who are encouraged at home to pray can learn to be more introspective, tolerant, and responsible. We can teach our children that prayer is not a chore but a chance to speak with God face to face, to unburden ourselves of fears, and give thanks for our blessings. Spiritual lessons can be taught simply by engaging with our children through activities such as:
- Board games
- Hiking/ nature trails
- Bird watching
- Baking/ cooking
- Community volunteer projects
Take the opportunity to open a dialogue with your children during these activities. Teenagers appreciate parents who show a genuine interest in their hobbies, so ask them about their comic book collection, or play a round of their favorite video game. Conversations you share on these occasions can lead to deeper discussions of faith, allowing you to learn more about the ethical and moral challenges your children may be facing. Sharing your childhood and teenage experiences with them in turn will help broaden their perspective and reveal new possibilities for overcoming the challenges they face.
Encouraging Young Children to Pray
Young children are not always enthusiastic about prayer and meditation. They can be restless or inattentive when you try to apply structure to their lives. However, Jesus loved children and welcomed them in his presence, admonishing those who sought to discourage them.
Mark 10:13 explains, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
God’s love for all children is unequivocal. By engaging with our children through activities they enjoy, we too can rediscover the joy of being God’s children. If we integrate prayers and Bible discussion into their world, we can help children develop strong prayer habits. They will slowly begin to recognize prayer as an integral, enjoyable part of their daily routine, rather than a chore to be avoided at all costs. Some activities you might consider to help nurture your child’s faith are:
- Role Playing:
Children have boundless imagination and enthusiasm. They respond to role-playing because it engages their mind in problem solving and stimulates their emotional growth. By role-playing stories from the Bible, situations from their school life, or make-believe scenarios, your young ones can explore contrasting perspectives and learn to probe more deeply into their own feelings. Role playing the story of David and Goliath, for example, can encourage a child struggling with bullies at school to share his experiences and find strength through faith rather than physical violence. Conversations during these scenarios with your child can lead to opportunities for both of you to connect more deeply through prayer.
- Arts and Crafts:
Complex motor skills and problem solving are involved in many forms of arts and crafts. Create project-oriented goals such as building a bird feeder, an eco-habitat, or dollhouse together. The assembly of parts, use of a variety of mediums (plastic, straws, popsicle sticks, recycled paper, etc.) and the ability to solve problems (missing parts, broken pieces) can be an ideal learning opportunity. Using recycled products or items, for example, can be a lesson in caring for God’s creation and a prayer of thanks for the wildlife he created.
- Bedtime Stories & Prayers:
We can all remember being afraid of the dark as children. Saying a short family prayer with our children before bedtime can be an intimate experience for both child and parent. Lullabies, stories, and prayers can offer soothing reassurance to a child anxious about monsters under the bed. Encourage your child to make prayers of their own as well. If children become active participants in their faith early, rather than passive observers, they are less likely to repudiate those beliefs later in adulthood.
Family Prayer Examples
In addition to being a spiritual dialogue with God, family prayer can be an occasion for tranquil meditation and inner contemplation that deepens our appreciation for the mundane and repetitive aspects of life. Devotional prayers differ from liturgical prayers in their tone. Liturgical prayers are more formal, uttered in public, usually for the benefit of a group rather than an individual. Devotional prayers, more appropriate for individuals and families, do not observe as many formal rules as liturgical prayer. They can either be spoken aloud or simply meditated on in silence.
Learning to pray as a family can lead us to a deeper spiritual relationship with God and each other. When the disciples asked Jesus to show them how to pray, he responded with the widely known ‘Our Father’ prayer, a hallmark of Christianity. It is for this reason that we often begin prayers with ‘Heavenly Father’:
Galatians 4:6 says, “…God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father’.”
The ‘Our Father’ prayer is simple but eloquent. Jesus warned his disciples against excessive wording when addressing God or making promises you cannot fulfill. We are also warned against testing God by challenging him to work a miracle in our lives. Direct your prayers in simple language that everyone in your family can appreciate. Keep them short and speak them aloud so that your family can join in.
You will find a few brief examples of devotional family prayers to help get you started:
Lord God of heaven and earth,
Your love has no beginning and no end
Your mercy covers even the worst of sinners
We thank you, Lord, for the mercy
You have shown our house
And for the grace you continue to show us
Each day. Thank you Lord for choosing
Us to be a family. Teach us how to love one
Another so that others may see our light
And find hope. Bless our home, protect us
From harm, and comfort us with your spirit when
We are filled with too many cares to see the way
Before us. Forgive us Lord when we are harsh
With one another, and discipline us when we
Go astray, so that we may know you love us.
Bless the work of our hands, Father, and bring us
Safely together back again under one roof,
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Family Meal Prayer
God, you are always good to us, providing each day
For our family as you see fit. Bless this food which we
Are about to receive and those who prepared it, Amen.
God is good, God is great
Thank you Lord, for the food we ate!
We come together to share this meal
Under one roof, full of gratitude for what
We have received. Bless our food, O Lord,
meant for our health and happiness, and
and let not your bounty go to waste
in this house, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Praying with Children
Lord our God, you who made heaven and earth,
Who created the sun and the moon,
Who established the times and seasons
And set in motion the days of the year,
Hear our prayers, and bless your children
In Christ, Amen.
A Prayer for Family in Times of Distress
Father in heaven,
For the sake of our family, we ask
That you spread your wings and comfort us in
Our time of distress. Shield us from the bitter
Slings and arrows of grief, sorrow and despair,
And keep us secure within your fold.
In you, Lord, lies our strength and our trust.
We look to you in all things to lead us in our
Walk of faith. Go before us now, and always,
we pray, in Jesus’ name Amen
Comfort us, God, in our time of need.
Bring our family together in this desperate hour
And help us to stay firm in our faith, knowing
That those we have lost are now in your
Everlasting care, now and forever. Remember
Us, God, in the coming days, as we struggle to
Move forward, knowing that our faith in you
Is not lost, and that you are always among us
As long as we stand together,
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Turning to God in Times of Tragedy
Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Tragedy can strike suddenly at any time in our lives. As Christians we are not immune to suffering, loss, grief, or hardship. Jesus wept tears for the passing of his friend, Lazarus, but turned the occasion of his burial into a transcendent revelation of his divine authority over life and death. Moved with emotion, he uttered a solemn but simple prayer of thanks in his time of grief:
John 11:41 states, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
Surrounded by weeping family members, friends, and neighbors of the dead man, Jesus made a point of praying before summoning Lazarus from the tomb. He assumed that God had already heard and granted his request, so deep was his faith in the power of prayer.
Prayer is our best and only resource in times of tragedy. Through meditation and family prayer we can discover that God not only hears our prayers, he knows our requests before we speak them. Long before tragedy strikes, God has been waiting and listening to our prayers. We may struggle, as Job did, to understand God’s sense of justice, or to find new purpose after the loss of a family member, relative or friend. Even through our struggles, God listens to the cries of our hearts. When we share our grief with loved ones, we are strengthened spiritually: Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Praying together as a family in times of tragedy will strengthen the bonds between you and your individual faith. Marital partners and children each process grief in unique ways. It can be difficult to find expression for our grief but those who speak from the heart will always have God’s attention.
Pray for wisdom, counseling, support, and encouragement as a family. Ask God for guidance in the days or weeks that may follow a tragedy, for strength and courage in your time of loss. Reflect on the positive memories and invite family members to share their thoughts without judgement. Reach out to church members because they may have counseling services that specialize in grief and draw on scripture for spiritual nourishment.
Using the Bible in Prayer for Family
2 Timothy 3:16 states, “All Scripture is God-breathed, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”
Studying scripture together as a family can be a rewarding experience for parents and children. Many bookstores and libraries carry children’s collections of Bible stories, complete with vivid illustrations to facilitate a child’s understanding. During the early years of child development, you can read the stories together or as bedtime tales, and gradually familiarize your children with the content of the Bible before introducing them to scripture. Invite your child to say a prayer of thanks after each story. A rainy day or the sighting of a rainbow can be a perfect occasion to share the story of Noah’s Ark, and you can incorporate a prayer of thanks for the covenant God has kept ever since.
God’s Love for Families Is Inclusive
God listens to the prayers of families, regardless of their arrangement. Families today can come in many different forms but God does not judge us by social standards, nor is he harsh with those who seek him out in their times of need. We can be assured that when our prayers are directed to God in humble submission and faith, our past behavior, or life decisions we may regret, will be forgiven. We can trust that our slate is wiped clean for our salvation in Christ.
Two of the epistles written by the apostle Paul while he was imprisoned were addressed to a young and enthusiastic follower named Timothy, a man of God who was raised by his Jewish mother and grandmother. His first encounter with Paul had been as a teenager in his home town of Lystra, where he witnessed the apostle miraculously heal a lame man. Timothy later agreed to join Paul on his many visits to the various early churches emerging in the first century AD. He remained a faithful assistant and trustworthy disciple, admonishing the churches as Paul instructed to preserve the integrity of early Christian doctrine.
Timothy, who was not raised by his Greek father, was undoubtedly taught his Jewish tradition by his mother and grandmother. Together, they nurtured in him a genuine love for God’s word. Whether your family is a single parent home, or you have adopted family members, step-children or step-parents, God’s love does not discriminate. We avoid judging others to avoid being judged ourselves, just as scripture admonishes.
Those who feel an urge to seek out God’s word should not be hindered by fear or judgement. In Christ, we have been removed from the world and its ways. We no longer adopt the limited perspective of our former lives, but the universal fellowship of Christ which joyfully embraces any family seeking to grow stronger in faith.
For this reason, Spiritual Bridge invites you to visit this article on family prayer as often as you like. We encourage parents, children, and families of every arrangement to grow in their faith, sharing the knowledge of Christ’s salvation freely with all.