Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Why Don’t We Pray Together?

by Holly Good

In recent years I have come to learn the importance of praying not only for my family, but also with my family.

When my kids were toddlers, I would faithfully pray with them every night before bed.

But as they grew older and went to bed themselves, this routine eventually stopped.

Several years ago, I felt convicted about praying with my family.

Why was it that I could pray so easily with the youth in our church, with women at conferences all over the country, and with friends at Bible study, but not with my own family? Those precious people I live and do life with every day? Why did we not pray together?

There are many excuses and reasons I could drum up. But I won’t go there.

I will just happily report that we now freely periodically pray together. It’s a part of the DNA of our family. But don’t misunderstand me. We still squabble, have many typical family frustrations and have to punish our kids for making wrong choices. But we are also quick to pray for guidance, help and thanks together.

For example, it warms my heart when my 14 year old son will come to me and ask, ‘Mom, will you pray for my game today?’ I drop everything and pray right there with him. Just last night as we were dropping him off at the movies with some friends, he asked us to pray for him as he was getting out of the car. He has come to rely on our prayers for strength, encouragement and hope in numerous situations.

Several weeks ago, my husband noticed that a pipe in our home had sprung a leak for the second time in four months. We were extremely stressed and quite disturbed at this find. The flashbacks immediately poured in, reminding us of the probability of more bills, new carpet and drywall. It had been quite the ordeal the first time around.

But as the plumber was fixing what turned about to be a very minor pipe leak, he smelled gas while he was up in our attic. So without hesitation he switched gears and worked quickly to replace the faulty gas valve.

I couldn’t help but sigh, sit down and give thanks. The annoying second- time-around water leak lead us to the could-be-dangerous gas leak situation.

Thank you, Lord. Your ways are much higher than our ways. Thank you for that pesky pipe leak. Thank you for that sharp plumber. Thank you that my husband noticed the pipe leak early before any significant water damage occurred. Thank you for keeping us safe.

So that very night, after the plumber had gone and we were finally able to turn our water back on, we sat in our family room and acknowledged the events which had taken place over the previous 36 hours. Then we prayed together, giving thanks for things that appear like annoying mishaps and unwanted expenses, but have a much bigger purpose.

Every time we gather and pray, He faithfully protects, loves, forgives, strengthens, heals, and binds our hearts closer.

I’ve learned that it’s one thing to tell my kids to pray. It’s something altogether different to join them in that adventure.

Tips for Praying with Your Family

* Keep it brief at first. You as the parent might be the only one to pray initially. Then after doing this several times, ask your children to pray. You might want to offer them a guideline, such as to pray at least three sentences.

* Use every day language in your prayers. This shows your kids that God wants to hear from them just as they are. This also helps to put them at ease when praying.

* Pray words of blessings over each child. This includes specific words of praise and encouragement. For example, Thank you, Lord, for Hillary’s sense of responsibility and hard work at her job.

* Help kids see where God is working. One way to acknowledge this is to keep a prayer journal and celebrate God’s goodness together.

* Encourage them to include prayer beyond the family time. Ask them how you can be praying for them and tell them how they can pray for you.

Holly Good is a wife, mother, and sold out servant of Christ. On staff with Proverbs 31 Ministries, her executive assistant position to Lysa TerKeurst finds her ministering to women all over the country at conferences, writing radio shows and authoring heart-stirring devotions sent to more than 300,000 subscribers. She is also the author of "Holly-Days" a much loved part of Lysa's daily blog. She enjoys her early morning runs with Lysa and is overwhelmingly humbled and honored to have the opportunity to serve Him in this ministry in such an incredible way. Holly lives with her husband and two teenage children in North Carolina. You can e-mail Holly@Proverbs31.org to connect with her.