Praying together as a family
Kathryn Kane explores different ways to engage your family in prayer at home.
When your children were little you may have set times when you prayed together as a family such as at mealtimes or before bed; or you may be a family where you’ve never or rarely prayed together and it’s something you’d wished you’d done; or maybe you’ve never felt confident to pray out loud in front of others, including your nearest and dearest, and now it feels too late and cringy to start praying together as a family, especially if your children are now in their teens.
The good thing about a change in routine (even if it was brought about by a virus) is that it gives the opportunity to change. Not being in ‘normal’ times means that there may be the opportunity to suggest trying new things together.
Below are three suggestions of ways to pray as a family without it feeling too awkward.
Praying at doorways:
Many Jewish homes have a mezuzah at each doorway within their home (but not the bathroom). A mezuzah is a parchment containing the prayer found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9, it acts as a reminder to pray and ask God to bless the house or room. Assign everyone in the house a room to write a short prayer for, think about the activities that happen there, for example, Kitchen: Thank you for the food that we have to eat; Bedroom: Bless …with a good night’s sleep. Attach the prayers to the doors of these rooms with blu-tak and encourage everyone to notice them and pray them as they move about the house.
Thankfulness jar (bowl/box/suitable container)
Looking for God’s blessings in a time when it is easy to feel overwhelmed or fearful is good for us and is a way to thank God for his goodness. Find a time when you are together, may be a mealtime in the evening. Talk with each other about the best bit that day. Each person writes the thing that they are most grateful for that day on a strip of paper and places it in the jar as an act of prayer. The jar acts as a reminder of God’s goodness to your family.
What shall we pray about? One of my friends has a chalk board in her kitchen where family members can add people or situations to pray about, post-it notes or a sheet of paper up on the fridge would work just as well.
Build faith and expectancy: Have a conversation about a time when God answered your prayers.
Using other people’s prayers: The Church of England has written daily prayers.
Write your own, or just speak out your own, they don’t have to be long or complicated or use fancy words. Take it in turns to lead the prayers. God enjoys hearing from you and your family.
Kathryn Kane is the Secondary School RE Adviser for the Diocese of London Board for Schools