By: Garret Larsen
As parents, praying for our children is one of the most important jobs we have! It’s our role to pray for their safety, their health, their schooling, their future, their hearts, and if you have teenagers…their decision making! While in theory, we all know that prayer is important, in reality, it can be a real challenge to integrate prayer into the regular rhythms of our life. Often times, prayer can be intimidating. It’s challenging to know where to begin, what to say, when to do it, or just how to do it at all.
What is incredible about the Lord is that he doesn’t just accept perfect, eloquent prayers. He just wants us to come to him in prayer. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you can even stumble over words or not know what to say.
This fall, our full-time staff and Board of Directors have been participating in a 40-day prayer challenge. During the course of these 40 days, we dedicated a significant amount of time each day to both corporate and personal prayer. We prayed boldly and earnestly, and while it was amazing to see God answer many of our prayers, both big and small, the most life-changing result was the way God drew near to us and aligned our hearts with His.
Is prayer an integral part of your family’s life? My challenge to your family is to spend time in prayer together. This may be as simple as praying in the car on the way to school together, praying before a meal, or praying at night before bed. Consistency may be hard, but you know what, God isn’t going to say, “where have you been?”, when you pray to him, he’s just going to say, “welcome.”
If you are unsure of how to pray with your kids, here is a simple format you can follow.
PRAISE: Praise God for who HE is. Remind yourself of the things you know about God and speak those in worship to him. 1 Chronicles 16:24-25 “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.”
CONFESSION: Admit to your sins and ask him for forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
THANKSGIVING. Thank God for the blessings in your life. When we practice gratitude, it makes it harder to be upset about our circumstances. Psalm 100:4 “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.”
REQUESTS: Make your requests to God, whether for yourself or for others. Talk to God about the things you are worried or concerned about. It doesn’t have to be formal, it can just be a conversation. He isn’t intimidated by our emotions. If you’ve ever read through some of David’s Psalms, you know that David put it all out there. If he was mad, upset, sad, confused, worried, God heard all of it. The Lord wants the same thing from us, a relationship where we are willing and able to come to him with anything. Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
SILENCE: It can be hard to hear God’s voice when we are always the ones doing the talking. Being still before the Lord gives the opportunity to just be in his presence and open your ears to what he may have to say. Psalm 40:6 “Be still and KNOW that I am God.”
Questions for discussion:
What are some ways you can incorporate prayer into your everyday life?
What about prayer is intimidating to you?
Who is someone in your life that you can pray for?
What is something you can ask God for today?
What is something you are thankful for in your life?
Pray Together: Lord we thank you that you want to know us and that we can come before you in prayer. We pray that we will learn more of what it means to follow you each day and that we would make prayer a focus in our home. In your precious name, Amen.