“If we truly love our families we will constantly pray for them and with them,” Elder John H. Groberg once taught. “I know of no single activity that has more potential for unifying our families and bringing more love and divine direction into our homes than consistent, fervent family prayer.”
There is no question that family prayer is important. But, as most Latter-day Saint parents will know all too well, holding powerful and consistent family prayers can be difficult. In fact, it may even feel impossible. If you want to improve your family prayers, consider these ideas to help you get started.
Don’t Wait for the Perfect Time
Ideally, you’ll be able to pick at least one consistent time throughout the day to gather for family prayer, such as in the morning before everyone leaves for the day or before bed. If you’re able, these are great options. However, in today’s busy world, finding a consistent time each day may prove to be a struggle.
Instead, pray whenever you are all together. There doesn’t have to be a perfect time. Fit family prayer into your schedule wherever it works best for you. Your children may still be doing homework. Dinner could be in the oven. Someone may have an activity to get to. Seize the moment whenever it comes.
Make a List to Guide You
Take some time before you pray to talk about what you want to pray for. Ask each family member if they have something they need prayers for. Don’t be afraid to write them down and look at them during the prayer. When you ask for what you need to pray for, you help provide a safe space for your family to discuss important matters, including things that may be difficult or hard.
Pray for Everyone By Name
A great feeling of love and connection occurs when you hear someone praying for you by name. Even if someone doesn’t have a specific need to address, simply pray for them by name and ask God to bless them. Don’t rush through the names as a list. Take a deep breath after saying each name so that the person you are praying for might have a moment to feel and connect with the spirit.
Give Everyone a Turn
Give everyone in your family an opportunity to say family prayer. You can rotate through each night, assign someone for a week, or even give everyone the chance to say a short prayer on a single day. This is especially good for younger children. Giving them the chance to pray every night as a family helps them learn how to pray by allowing them to hear prayers and say prayers together.
Kneel When You Pray
Invite a spirit of reverence to your family prayers by kneeling together. If things are crazy and hectic, consider asking everyone to listen to a calming hymn before prayer to set the tone. However, don’t be too concerned about the decibel levels. What’s important is that you are together and praying.
What tips do you have for family prayer?