Praying Together: Ideas for Consistent Family Prayer

Last year we stopped praying together as a family before meals -- an impetuous decision born out of my rebellious heart. Prayer at meals had become so perfunctory and rote, just going through the motions and seemingly dead. That was the problem. Our mealtime prayers felt dead.

My kids said the same words every prayer, and I was so tired and longed for the quiet that comes from full mouths and hungry bellies, I just stopped insisting on praying together before meals.

Not long after that, I realized I was wrong to let the habit lapse. Of course we don't have to pray at mealtimes to be a Christian or even to maintain communion with God. But in busy days and an overly distracted culture, I've found that one of the best ways to maintain intimacy with God {and to remember all of His blessings} is to have hard stops built into our days.

In a home of littles and flexible schedules, mealtimes are regular, consistent occurrences in our days and the perfect time to slow and remember -- to praise, to confess, to give thanks, and to present our requests.

But my dilemma remained. How do we avoid the habitual and find the hunger in prayer? Of course, it starts with me, but I've also found that creating a daily focus for our prayer time helps keep our prayers fresh and our hearts responsive.

What follows are three practices we use in our home to focus our prayers and to be faithful in praying for others.

[Read the rest of the article at For the Family.]