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I have not always been comfortable praying out loud. I grew up in a Christian home. I remember going to church every Sunday, saying bedtime prayers occasionally, and saying the blessing before dinner. But, I do not remember praying on a consistent basis as a family. It was not until graduate school, when a friend invited me to her Bible Study, that I learned to pray with others.
Recently, my friend, Becky, told me a story about when she was in high school. She remembers being asleep in her bed and feeling her mother’s hands on her in the middle of the night. She barely opened her eyes and said, “Mom! What are you doing?” Her mother calmly and simply replied, “I am praying for you.” This story moved me, and stirred in my heart a desire to become this kind of prayer warrior mother.
If praying out loud is not something you are familiar with, then praying as a family can be difficult. But, it is attainable and all it takes is practice. It is never too late to start! My children are still young, so at this point, I do the majority of the praying. My daughter is compassionate and is able to think of people in her life to pray for. However, this concept is not yet mastered in my son. The majority of his thanks are for his toys, and the majority of his prayers are for more toys. But, that is okay.
For each prayer, we talk about the Five Finger Rule of praying. Each prayer should have 5 parts –
1. Praise (For God and how awesome He is)
2. Thanks (for His provisions – health, food, weather, friends, family..)
3. Repenting (I am sorry that I sin) – I try to use myself in these – for example “Lord, I am sorry that I lost my temper and yelled at Abby today. Please forgive me” (fortunately for me, I have plenty of things that I am in need of forgiveness for on a consistent basis)
4. Praying for others
5. Praying for self
I like to hold my hand (five fingers) up while we pray. The kids have gotten into this habit as well. It is a great visual reminder.
Once you get the 5 finger prayers down, it is pretty easy to fill them in.
Here is an example:
“Dear Lord. You are mighty and powerful and You love us. Thank you for a good night’s sleep and this new day. Please forgive us for doing things that are not pleasing to you. Lord, I pray that you will send your angel armies to protect