We all know prayer is an important part of a family’s journey with God, but it can be hard to tailor family prayer when you have children all different ages! With a spread of six years in the age range of our children, it has sometimes been difficult to make sure that our family prayer times are meaningful for each child. Over the years we’ve come up with some effective ways to ensure that regardless of our children’s ages, they can all participate in family prayer.
4 Tips for All-Ages Family Prayer
1. Make prayer and devotional time a regular part of family life.
We have a set routine of regular devotionals at the beginning of our homeschool day. During this time, we read a short devotional and then we pray for specific requests each day. We have several missionaries and mission projects that we pray for on specific days. Our kids learn the importance of setting apart time every day; that this is a time that we all get together to read Scripture and pray. Because it’s a routine thing, all of the kids expect it and come ready to listen and to pray.
2. Encourage all the kids to pray- no matter their age.
In our house, we use a day system to rotate through all four of our children. The child whose day it is has certain privileges and certain responsibilities, including praying during our devotional time. I have some children who would always volunteer to pray and I have some who are shy to pray- even in front of the family. By rotating daily, all of the kids are encouraged to pray- the younger ones and the older ones. And we’ve always had the attitude of acceptance and encouragement toward the child who prays.
3. Use materials that are aimed at the middle of the children’s ages.
Over the years, we’ve occasionally used prayer guides or daily devotionals. When we do, I look for material that is appropriate for an age somewhere in the middle of my kids’ age range. Right now I have kids that range in age from 10 to 16, so we use a devotional guide that is written for preteen/early teens. The material is not over the heads of the younger girls, and the older kids still get something out of the reading as well.
4. Encourage older family members to be models for the younger ones.
When my husband and I pray, we’re modeling prayer for our kids. When the older kids pray, they are being models for the younger ones. We often encourage our older kids that they are examples and remind them that the younger ones look up to them. During family prayer times, this can mean that the older kids pray and encourage the younger ones that prayer is an important thing to do and that they don’t have to be reluctant or embarrassed to pray.
Family prayer is so important for growing closer to God together. Even though we have kids of multiple ages, we’ve found ways to make family prayer work for us. How do you handle family prayer when you have both younger and older kids? Please share your own tips in the comments!
Leah Courtney is a homeschooling mom of four. Her days are filled with being a mom, homemaker, and teacher. In her (very rare) free time, she enjoys blogging, reading, and reviewing books and curricula. These days she’s learning the joys of being a mom of teens. You can read about her family and homeschooling life at As We Walk Along the Road.