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7 Ways to Create the Habit of Family Prayer

Family life is stuffed with chores and errands, carpool and homework…how to fit in a time to pray together?

Father hugging his young son

If you have a family, you have so much to do. There are homework assignments, carpools, team schedules, laundry and dishes to wash, meals to cook, and more. So much more. It’s not surprising that prayer is often a missing piece of family life. How to introduce the habit of family prayer? Maybe the new year is a time to try.

It’s possible with a little intentionality and creativity. And the secret sauce, for most of us, is likely to be what I like to call “mini-liturgies.”

When my two children were in grade school and beyond, my wife would gather them into her arms at the door. While waiting for the school bus, she would send them off with a short but purposeful prayer—usually along the lines of “Keep them safe, keep them good, keep them close to you.”

That’s an example of a mini-liturgy. It’s an easily remembered and readily repeated prayer tied to a specific moment or habit. While intentionally short, it’s also meaningful and can become a family tradition, like saying grace before meals.

Here are various scenarios and more ways for families to pray together using mini-liturgies:

1)  When Waking Children in the Morning

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you” (Isaiah 60:1, NIV).

2)  When Children Leave for School

“Keep them safe, keep them good, keep them close to you.”

3)  When Children Face a Challenge (From Schoolwork to Sports)

“The Lord is with you, mighty warrior!” (Judges 6:12 NIV).

4)  Putting Your Kids to Bed

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26, NIV). 

5)  After a Family Visit

“Keep watch, Lord, over those who travel and those who stay behind. Bind us close to you and to each other and bring us together again soon.”

6)  At the End of a Phone Call

“May the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you” (1 Thessalonians 3:12, The Message).

7)  When Teenagers Leave the House

“Remember who you are and whose you are.”

Your specific family rhythms may suggest more or better chances to incorporate easily remembered mini-liturgies into regular routines. Sure, they may feel strange at first, but over time they will come more naturally. They may even become a treasured habit of family prayer, as some of ours have.

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