3 Ideas for Consistent Family Prayer Time

Ideas for Consistent Family Prayer Time

Last year we stopped praying together as a family before meals — an impetuous decision born out of my rebellious heart. Prayer at meals had become so perfunctory and rote, just going through the motions and seemingly dead.

That was the problem. Our mealtime prayers felt dead.

My kids said the same words every prayer, and I was so tired and longed for the quiet that comes from full mouths and hungry bellies, I just stopped insisting on praying together before meals.

Not long after that, I realized I was wrong to let the habit lapse. Of course we don’t have to pray at mealtimes to be a Christian or even to maintain communion with God. But in busy days and an overly distracted culture, I’ve found that one of the best ways to maintain intimacy with God {and to remember all of His blessings} is to have hard stops built into our days.

In a home of littles and chaos flexible schedules, mealtimes are regular, consistent occurrences in our days and the perfect time to slow and remember — to praise, to confess, to give thanks, and to present our requests.

But my dilemma remained. How do we avoid the habitual and find the hunger in prayer? Of course, it starts with me, but I’ve also found that creating a daily focus for our prayer time helps keep our prayers fresh and our hearts responsive.

3 Ideas for Consistent Family Prayer

What follows are three practices we use in our home to focus our prayers and to be faithful in praying for others.

Praying for ourselves and our own needs comes so naturally, doesn’t it? If I’m not intentional about praying for others, I won’t — at least not consistently. These three ideas, introduced slowly over time, have helped us tremendously as a family to remember to pray for others and to remember that we serve a God who wants us to present our requests to Him!

1. Prayer sticks in the morning

Using prayer sticks during our morning prayer time helps us to faithfully pray for family and friends on a continual basis. In the past, I’ve been overwhelmed by how to “organize” our prayer time and prayer list. With so many people for whom to pray and so many needs to cover in prayer, I have sometimes given up and have either neglected to pray for others or have glossed over specific prayers in an effort to ‘get through the list’ (sounds horrible I know)!

We use large popsicle sticks. We took a day to paint and decorate our stash, and on each stick is written a specific family or name. We limit the number of prayer sticks we create (sometimes combining families or groups of friends) in an effort to pray for each one weekly.

In the morning, each of the kids randomly picks a prayer stick and we talk about the person and how we can best pray that day (specific requests, answers, needs, etc.). The kids pray for the person on their stick, and my husband or I will close our time of prayer filling in the gaps we are aware of and leaving the rest to the Lord.

The “used” prayer stick goes into a separate container until we have gone through all the prayer sticks and each person is prayed over. Then we start all over!

2. Prayer map at lunch

At lunchtime, we use our world map for our prayer focus. We’ve added pictures and pins and printables to our map, and it has now become a reminder to pray for our missionaries, causes, current events, other believers around the world, and the persecuted Church. We work our way around the world, focusing on different countries or continents. The book Operation World was a great help when we first started our map and even now as a quick reference and prayer guide.

3. Family Scripture + Prayer Calendar at dinner

Our brand-new Family Scripture + Prayer calendar is my favorite tool to keep track of the many prayer requests that come our way. When I tell someone that I am praying for them, I want to actually be praying for them! When a prayer request is shared with us or when we hear of a need, we add it to our calendar. We are reminded of the requests all day because it hangs on our wall in the kitchen. At dinnertime, we each choose a request to present to God and we lift up the needs of those around us or even within our own family!

As you can imagine, we are frequently adding to the calendar as prayers are answered and new requests are added. We love sitting down at the end of a month and recounting how we’ve seen God faithfully answering prayer!

I love how easy it is to add requests, record praises, and expand our prayers!

I have loved adding these family prayer ideas into our days. There are some days when we engage in these prayers after eating, but usually, we take the time before we eat and the kids do just fine waiting (we are learning patience, too!).

Question for you: 

In what ways does your family engage in prayer together?

Resources for you:

Family Scripture + Prayer Calendar

Praying for Our Kids {Resource List} 
Praying for Kids around the world (each day of the month)

Pray Truth: Praying God’s Word for my Husband’s Heart



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