Family prayer is not only a commandment from the Lord, it is something that we should want to do. The Doctrine and Covenants, a modern book of scripture, teaches us “Pray always that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan who do uphold his work” (Doctrine and Covenants 10:5). More than ever, the family is under attack by Satan and his followers. We need to do all that we can in order to strengthen our families and to protect them from the temptations and other evil influences that threaten them.
The Logistics of Family Prayer
The best way to have family prayers is to make it a habit. Create a set place and time for your family to pray. The scriptures do not say precisely how many times it is good to pray as a family, but the teachings of Alma, a prophet in the Book of Mormon, shed some light on this.
Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him. Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks. Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening. Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies. Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness. Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them. Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase.
But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness. Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you. (Alma 34:19-27)
If we take this to heart, it will be something that we do morning and night—basically, at any time that we need to. It’s a good idea to pray as a family before eating meals together, perhaps early in the morning before everyone goes off to work and school, and at night before bed. It is a good idea to combine family prayer with family scripture study as these activities enhance each other and invite the Spirit of the Lord into our homes.
In Latter-day Saint families, the oldest person who holds the priesthood, which is an authority given to us from God by the laying on of hands, invites someone to pray. It is a good idea to let each family member take turns praying so that everyone feels included. This can include young children who are just learning to pray, even if they have to have some help from an older sibling or parent.
The Content of Prayer
Many families kneel when they pray. The act of kneeling before our Heavenly Father shows humility and willingness to submit our will to His. Our personal prayers are meant to align our will with the will of God and so family prayer helps align our family with the will of God.
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we do not have very many memorized prayers. Most prayers are something given as the Spirit of God dictates to us. There are certain categories of things that we are counseled to pray for. After addressing our Heavenly Father, family prayer should always include some time to thank Heavenly Father for the blessings that your family enjoys. By doing this, try to think of things specific to your family such as “We thank Thee that our father returned from his trip safely,” or “We thank Thee that Joseph did well at his soccer game.” We can then ask Him for the needs of our family, once again being sure to mention the needs of specific family members so that all of our faith can be applied to the request. For example: “Please help Thomas with his test today,” or “we ask Thee to help Julia with her audition.”
Family prayers do not have to be long or complicated, or use flowery language. They only need to be sincere and done with the attitude that you truly believe what you’re saying. When you are finished end your prayer in the name of Jesus Christ and say amen, after which everyone else should also say amen. Amen is a word that has been used for thousands of years as a way to signal agreement with what has been said.
The Benefits of Family Prayer
Your family might be busy and have many demands on its time, but it is worth it to take the time for family prayer. Prayer is one of the small and simple things the scriptures talk about that can bring great things to pass. If nothing else, it is an opportunity for the entire family to come together to enjoy each other’s company. It will unify your family behind a common purpose and will help the Spirit of the Lord come into your home. When a family prays together, they combine their faith, which is a powerful force to receive answers and guidance from our Heavenly Father.
Invite everyone in your family to join in family prayer, but if for some reason certain members choose not want to participate, let them them know that they are always invited and continue to pray in their behalf. If you make family prayer a part of your routine, it will enrich the lives of every member of your family.
More about “Family Prayer”
“Family Prayer” was written by Michael D. Young. The subject, “Family Prayer” is important to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you would like to know more about Mormons with no obligation, please click on the following links: