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Making Family Prayer Time Meaningful

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
Want to raise children who know how to pray? Pray aloud with them and ask them to pray with you.


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Does it seem that you don’t have enough time in family devotions to cover all your family’s prayer concerns? In the 9th part of a 20-article series, Dr. Dunlap suggests that you divide up family prayer requests in a prayer journal and develop a simple plan to pray for certain requests on different days of the week. He also begins a discussion of thirteen Life Principles that parents should teach their children as they train them in the nurture and admonition of God.

People often ask me what steps they should follow to conduct meaningful devotion times with their families. I suggest that they begin with a time of worship and praise, and then spend a few minutes reading the Bible aloud, or using a Bible resource, such as a cassette tape or a flannel graph story.

Do not neglect to pray together as a family. Children need to hear their parents pray aloud.

 

The third essential ingredient of family worship is prayer. Scripture verses abound that teach us how to pray and that instruct us as to whom we should pray for. It is a good idea to purchase an inexpensive spiral notebook and jot down current prayer requests as reminders to family members of various prayer concerns.

 

God commands us in His Word to pray specifically for missionaries, for unbelievers, for our enemies, for those who persecute us, for our church leaders, for our government leaders, for our fellow church members, for our closest friends and for suffering Christians around the world. Parents should take a few moments each week to record updates as God answers individual prayer requests.

Children should understand the difference between praying in faith and praying with a demanding, selfish attitude.

It is wise to emphasize the fact that we come as little children to God. We don’t have to phrase our prayers with fancy or impressive words. God knows our hearts. Yet, we must also be careful not to constantly come to God with our hand out, asking Him for anything that pops in our minds. Instead we should teach our children to carefully think through their requests, realizing they are coming before the King of the universe.

 

Mothers and fathers should make a special point of praying for each family member—for particular needs, for ministries, for growth in grace, and for salvation if any family member has not yet placed his or her faith and trust in Jesus Christ. In addition to intercessory prayer, family members should be sure to take time to give thanks to God for His blessings, His provision, His protection and His faithfulness to their family.

 

When you record God’s answers to prayer you have a priceless journal of His faithfulness to your family.

It is important to ask each child to pray aloud from a very young age. Children will learn to pray by doing it, and as they grow older they will not feel ashamed to pray in front of other people. It is best to address one or two prayer concerns each day and work through the list gradually.

When the family reaches the end of the list, they should take a few moments to review aloud the specific answers that God has granted to all the written family requests. Then they should work through the list again, day by day, from the beginning. Children will learn the meaning of the scriptural command to “keep on seeking, knocking and asking.”

 




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