The Lord directed that we have family prayer when He said: “Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed.” (3 Nephi. 18:21.)
I can testify that our family has experience many blessing from having family prayer. One story comes to mine: It was a raining night as we headed out to office max to pick up turbo tax so Cade could get started on our taxes, as the kids and I waited in the car and talk. When my husband returned I tried start the car and it would not start. The store was getting ready to close and we didn’t have any numbers of friends or even a cell phone at hand. We decided to have our family prayer. We prayed that if we couldn’t get the car started we would find someone to help. We tried to start the car again, and it still wouldn’t start. Cade went to see if he could find someone to help. Our son Noah blurted out “I will say the prayer again”. He pleaded with our Heavenly Father that he would really answer our prayers this time. After our pray I told Noah that the car might not start. He replied; “have faith mom it will”. At that moment I felt prompted to try and start the car again. Because the faith of a small child it finally started. We quickly prayed again to thank our Heavenly Father for answering our prayer. Before we headed home we stopped to use the bathroom at MC Donald’s. Noah was in one stalk and Autumn in another. Noah blurts out to Autumn “Pray really works”. That day I was truly humble by my 5 year old son, whose faith in Heavenly Father, that he would answer his prayers when he prayed.
Often the words given to our little children in prayer are more profound than they understand, but the humble, listening heart can hear the Holy Spirit speak through them.
3 Nephi. 26:14 And it came to pass that he did teach and minister unto the children of the multitude of whom hath been spoken, and he did loose their tongues, and they did speak unto their fathers great and marvelous things, even greater than he had revealed unto the people; and he loosed their tongues that they could utter.
Kent Rappleye said: The counsel of our prophet was plain and to the point: “Parents, safeguard your families. … Pray together. There is no substitute for family prayer when all kneel together before the Lord.” End Quote
President Heber J. Grant Shared his feelings about family prayer: “I am convinced that one of the greatest things that can come into any home to cause the boys and girls in that home to grow up in a love of God, and in a love of the gospel of Jesus Christ, is to have family prayer. … I believe that there are very few that go astray, that very few lose their faith, who have once had a knowledge of the gospel, and who never neglect their prayers in their families, and their secret supplications to God.” End Quote
Share thought: As we raise our children in this society, I’m reminded daily from family and friends of all the different temptations our children have to face each day.
President Hinckley States. "I submit that a return to the old pattern of prayer, family prayer in the homes of the people, is one of the basic medications that would check the dread disease that is eroding the character of our society. We could not expect a miracle in a day, but in a generation we would have a miracle."
“A nation at prayer is a nation at peace.” The family is the basic unit of society. The praying family is the hope of a better society. END QUOTE
Family prayer is one of the best ways that you can keep your family spiritually grounded. It gives you the opportunity to invite the spirit into your home and your family's lives each day. It also gives you the opportunity to teach your children how to pray and what to pray for. Family prayer helps you to show your children how much Heavenly Father loves them, and where the gospel stands as a priority in your life.
I WANT TO SHARE SOME THINGS THAT WILL HELP US WITH FAMILY PRAYER:
#1 Finding Time:
The challenge for parents is finding time to pray with our families, when we have busy schedules. Families can easily fall into the habit of prayering or no prayer at all. Gathering the family together can be quite a challenge when everyone seems to be headed in different directions at different times.
President George Albert Smith cautioned the Saints: “I fear that, in the midst of the world’s confusion, of hurry and bustle, many times homes are left without prayer and without the blessings of the Lord; these homes cannot continue to be happy.” END QUOTE
Kent Rappleye said: Wise parents will recognize the protective power of regular family prayer. END QUOTE
President Kimball taught: “No mother would carelessly send her little children forth to school on a wintry morning without warm clothes to protect against the snow and rain and cold. But there are numerous fathers and mothers who send their children to school without the protective covering available to them through prayer—a protection against exposure to unknown hazards, evil people, and base temptations.” END QUOTE
Elder Joe J. Christensen, of the Presidency of the Seventy, gave an encouraging insight to parents when he counseled: “Remember family prayer every day. With schedules as they are, you may need to have more than one prayer.”
Because of the steady example of my mother and father, I can bear personal witness of the value of these words of counsel from our leaders. When my parents had a family of four small children, family prayer in the morning was not too difficult to do on a regular basis. However, as we children got older, the morning schedule of our family became unpredictable and hectic. There were times when my father would have to leave for his job as an electrician at four or five in the morning. My mother would arise with him and they would have “family prayer” together before he left. Soon my sisters and brother would be up for work or school, and my mother would have “family prayer” with them. Many times I would be the last to arise in the morning and would rush to get ready and run out the door. Without fail, my mother would call to me, “Let’s have family prayer.” I would often complain that my ride was waiting or that I didn’t have time. I am most grateful that my mother would ignore my pleas and excuses and simply say, “You always have time for prayer.” In fact, my most prevalent memory of family prayer in the morning is when my mother and I prayed together. How grateful I am that she did not let busy schedules and the hustle and bustle of everyone leaving for work and schools get in the way of praying with her family, even though it sometimes was in stages. Now that our children are older, my wife and I often find ourselves kneeling in prayer with different ones at different times before they leave for the day. It is not uncommon to have “family prayer” three or four times in the morning.
#2 Don’t Forget:
President James E. Faust, once told of an interview President Kimball held with a bishop. President Kimball asked the bishop how often he held family prayer. The bishop responded that he tried to hold family prayer twice a day, but that his family probably averaged only once a day. The prophet answered: “In the past, having family prayer once a day may have been all right. But in the future it will not be enough if we are going to save our families.” END QUOTE
President Kimball said: “Never hesitate to gather your family around you for your prayers, especially in those times when more than morning and evening family prayer is needed. Extra needs require extra prayers.” END QUOTE
#3 Teach Your Children:
Children learn to pray as they listen to their parents pray, family prayer is meant to be a time for all the family to participate. Even very small children should have the opportunity to voice family prayer. “One cannot learn to pray by merely listening, but must be given experience.
Kent Rappleye states: As children participate in family prayer and hear their parents speak to God in humility, with faith in Jesus Christ, they can begin to learn things of the soul in a setting that cannot be duplicated anywhere else. During family prayer, children may begin to consider the answers to the great questions of the ages: “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “Where am I going?” Through family prayer—and their own personal prayers that are thus encouraged—children will begin to learn that they are sons and daughters of a loving Father in Heaven, that they are here as part of a great and wise plan of happiness, and that they can hope to return to their Father after this life. It is through family prayer that children become acquainted with many eternal family values. END QUOTE
#4 Don’t Wait:
Some families that have not started family prayer should not wait. There is no better time to begin than right now. Family prayer is a habit that should be part of a family from its beginning—when a husband and wife become one through marriage. But families that have not had the habit can usually begin it with little preparation; the parents—or mother or father if the parent is single—can lead out and teach or encourage the children to follow.
President Hinckley has said: “I know of no single practice that will have a more salutary effect upon your lives than the practice of kneeling together as you begin and close each day. Somehow the little storms that seem to afflict every marriage are dissipated when, kneeling before the Lord, you thank him for one another, in the presence of one another, and then together invoke his blessings upon your lives, your home, your loved ones, and your dreams.”
President Thomas S. Monson said:
"Family prayer is the greatest deterrent to sin, and hence the most beneficent provider of joy and happiness. The old saying is yet true: 'The family that prays together stays together.'" END QUOTE
I hope that each of you will take the time to pray with your family and see the great blessing the Lord has in store for your Family.
I testify that if we all apply family prayer, we will not go away unrewarded. The changes may not be readily apparent, but they will happen. (Heb. 11:6). They may be extremely subtle. But they will be real, for God “is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
Thanks to Michelle Walton for this great talk.