Five reasons why we should pray together as a family: curing the family from an arrogant attitude
Our attitude toward prayer describes our view of God.
If we’re Christians but rather prayer-less, pastor and author Tim Keller has an appropriate term that I thinks fits us: “functional atheists.” In other words, we mouth dependence on God but act as if we’re self-sufficient superheroes because of our infrequent prayers. In a word, we are just plain arrogant.
At home, we’re trying to change this dysfunctional attitude. To that end, we not only read the Bible and sing each night but also pray.
So why pray? We need to sense the true need of our dependence on God and avoid what comes easily—laziness, pride, doubt, and so on.
Perhaps you are not a Christian today but you have interest in Christianity. Well, praying is a very important part of the Christian life, and here are five reasons why I pray with my family and why I encourage you to look to your Creator and Redeemer to do the same.
FIRST, PRAYER IS COMMANDED.
The Apostle Paul states, Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17; ESV). This means, like breathing, prayer should be second nature. Frequency turns into expectancy as we pray often. My children, even some of the youngest, want to pray along with me. It’s just what we do.
SECOND, PRAYER IS FOR HONORING GOD.
We quite naturally give praise. Don’t we do this often for those around us? A touchdown scored? An ‘A’ at school? We might even offer praise (after a moment of shock) for a cleaned bedroom!
If we do this for one another, shouldn’t we do this all the more to our Holy God, Creator and Savior of the world? Psalm 29:2 states: Ascribe (or, give) to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness (ESV).
THIRD, PRAYER GIVES OPPORTUNITY TO CHANGE—THAT IS, REPENT.
We all know our thoughts, words, and actions we should have avoided. And if we’re not at least saying “sorry” to others we’ve wronged, we should wonder if we have a right heart.
In my family, we nurture hearts of repentance before one another and also to God. We remember that wrongs (sins) done against our neighbor are also wrongs against Him, our Creator.
Repentance is daily—or, should be. Anything less, we become hardened in sin and deceit. The Christian message is very simple—repent and believe in the gospel (Mark, 1:15).
FOURTH, PRAYER EXPRESSES GRATITUDE.
We practice gratitude on Thanksgiving Day and when we write little notes of “thank you.” And don’t we all cringe a bit when we observe ingratitude? Perhaps the name Scrooge comes to mind?
To encourage gratitude before God, I know a family that invites all the children to pray nightly. Everyone is encouraged to pray for a need and also for something to give thanks.
This is now my practice, and we are becoming more of a grateful family—most thankful to God. Psalm 9:1 states: I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds (ESV).
FIFTH, PRAYER IS FOR SUPPLYING NEEDS.
Many people don’t like to ask for help—perhaps observed as a sign of weakness. However self-reliant we might imagine ourselves to be, we often have to face reality- our need for prayer.
Having twisted my ankle twice in a short period of time, I realized how helpless and dependent I was for my children to get things for me across the room. Everyone faces challenges that makes one desperate for help. No one can claim otherwise. Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto.
When we consider our need for others, we realize how much greater is our need for God. Life is in His hand, even our every breath (Job 12:10). The Lord’s Prayer teaches us accordingly—give us this day our daily bread. There is no denying that we work hard to support our families. But such prayers remind us this truth—Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD (Job 1:21; ESV).
Leading my family in prayer is a time to acknowledge God and seek Him for all things. Does this appear weak and silly? For Christians, it expresses our response to the Good News that we’re in need—physically and spiritually. It tears down foolish pride and imagined self-reliance. Prayer admits dependence in every area of life and to whom we must go—for apart from Jesus we can do nothing (John 15:5).
What other reasons do have for prayer with the family?
What is an obstacle for you in praying often with your family?