By monthly contributor, Ann Dunagan of Harvest Ministry
Do you sometimes feel inadequate in prayer? Do you often struggle with praying together with your spouse or children? Do you perhaps wonder, since it’s so difficult, if praying together is even worth it?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you are a PERFECT candidate (for one reason and one reason only) to pray effectively with your family:
You can rely totally on the Cross of Jesus Christ!
If you are a Christian, you have likely heard how important is is to pray together as a husband and wife, or together as family unit . . . but have you often wondered why this is often so difficult and humbling? Or maybe you’ve honestly wondered if your prayers, and the simple prayers of your far-from-perfect family, can really make a difference?
It’s actually that very gut-level of honesty within a family, and our knowledge of each others’ inadequacies, that makes praying together so powerful.
You can’t be fake when praying with your family; you have to rely on God’s forgiveness and His righteousness through the Cross of Jesus Christ.
Praying Together as a Christian Family
If we could comprehend, deep in our spirits, the true power of prayer, we would all pray more–and the difference would radically impact our lives and the lives of those around us.
James 5:16 tells us, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
We want our prayers to be effective, but what does it mean to stand “righteous” before God? It’s totally standing and relying on Jesus Christ and HIS righteousness, not coming to God based on our own “good works” or efforts!
As a family, we’re very aware of our differences and our faults. We’ve all sinned, and we need to acknowledge that no one of earth can stand blameless before our perfect, holy, and awesome God. No matter how good we try to be, our own works are nothing but filthy rags in His sight (see Isaiah 64:6). To pray effectively as a family, we need to grasp the importance of the “fear of the Lord.”
We need to realize how powerful and mighty He is.
Our Self-efforts are like Filthy Rags . . .
Teach Your Kids about Prayer with Filthy Rags:
The next time you come across an extremely dirty rag in your house, use it an opportunity to share an important lesson with your kids. We may think our own self-efforts help us earn “Brownie points” with God. But, to Him, our human works are as worthless as stinky rags. If we try to earn favor with God–instead of trusting in Jesus–it’s like collecting yucky rags. The more they pile up, the more they stink and mildew.
But we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
We all fade as a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind,
Have taken us away.
3 more family prayer ideas:
Take a Prayer-Walk:
As you walk around your neighborhood, take time to quietly praying for each neighbor, and seek God for ideas on how your family can be a light for Jesus.
Make a Poster:
Have your children make a “Ten Most Wanted” list or poster. Have them think of ten people who need Jesus. These can be relatives, neighbors, famous people, or the man who works at the convenience store. Use this list or poster to remind you to pray for these people to come to know the Lord.
Use a Map:
Put a small world map on your refrigerator, and use this area to display newsletters from missionaries you support, along with current international news updates. Pray regularly as a family, perhaps around the dinner table, for specific world needs and for people you know who need the Lord.
The power of family prayer is relying on Christ’s righteousness!
In prayer, each of us must come to God in an attitude of total surrender and humility, keeping our hearts clean and open before Him. Through the cleansing sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, every mom and dad, and boy and girl, can pray as a “righteous man” before God. Because of Christ’s forgiveness and righteousness, even your family can come before God with boldness and authority to effectively intercede on behalf of others.
So, what do YOU think about family prayer?
Is praying together as a family (as a husband and wife, or with your kids) a spiritual priority in your family? Has praying together been a delight . . . or a struggle and a challenge . . . and can you share any specific reasons why? Have you had any specific moments of encouragement (or a key or idea that has helped YOUR FAMILY to pray together with more effectiveness)? Or do you have a story, or a “testimony,” of a time when a specific family prayer was answered?
I would LOVE to hear your thoughts . . .