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Parents And Prayer: Part Three: Prayer And Family Life

Parents And Prayer:  Part Three: Prayer And Family Life

The most important thing we do as parents is nurture faith in Jesus in our children.  Family prayer demonstrates how important Jesus is in every aspect of our lives, and especially for our salvation, and looks to Jesus to give us all we need.  John says about Jesus, “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.” (John 1:16)  So family prayer shows that we don’t take any of the blessings we have from Jesus- God’s love, forgiveness, help in trouble, promise of eternal life, comfort and strength in all our challenges, etc.- for granted.  It shows we believe Jesus when he told us how much we need him in John 15:5: “Apart from me, you can do nothing.”   It shows cheerful trust in the promise of Philippians 4:19 “…God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

So what about starting and ending the day with family prayer?  Luther’s morning and evening prayers are below and are nice, simple prayers.  If you have younger children, you may want to simply speak a brief prayer from the heart; something like, “Jesus, be with us today and keep us safe. Help us to love you and others today. Give us all we need until you take us to heaven. Amen.”   There are lots of prayer books to use with small children from our publishing house (nph.net).  With older children, the Lutheran Book Of Prayer and My Prayer Book has nice morning and evening prayers and also prayers for special occasions and circumstances. (also at nph.net)  The Meditations devotional booklet (nph.net again) has daily prayers for morning and evening at the back.  Speaking of Meditations, combining prayer with the reading and study of God’s Word (using Meditations, some other age-appropriate devotional book, or simply reading the Bible and discussing what is read) is best.

Certainly, prayer at meals is important.  Some examples of meal prayers are below.

Another time for prayer we might easily neglect is prayer for particular situations, e.g. prayers asking for Jesus’ forgiveness and help to do what is right when family members sin, prayers asking for strength in times when family members face challenges or temptations, prayers for comfort when family members are disappointed or sad, prayers of thanksgiving when family members experience good things or special blessings.   Parents, you will find all kinds of opportunities to say, “Let’s pray about that…”

May God bless you and your children as you make prayer a regular part of family life!

Morning Prayer

I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Evening Prayer

I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day; and I pray that You would forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Asking a Blessing Before A Meal

The eyes of all look to You, [O Lord,] and You give them their food at the proper time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. Amen. (Ps. 145:15–16).

Lord God, heavenly Father, bless us and these Your gifts which we receive from Your bountiful goodness, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest; and let these gifts to us be blessed. Amen.

Returning Thanks After A Meal

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. Amen. (Ps. 136:1)

We thank You, Lord God, heavenly Father, for all Your benefits, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.