An Essential Guide to Effective Prayer for Family

By Bret Eckelberry
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Family praying together
Prayer is an essential skill, and your kids will learn it from you as you do it together. Nothing will communicate the why and the how of prayer to your kids like seeing you pray.

Effective prayer for family is important. Among Bible-believing Christians, few people would disagree. But why is prayer so essential to a thriving, faith-filled family? And how can you be effective when praying for your family?

What Is So Important About Family Prayer?

Prayer for family is foundational to spiritual growth. Prayer is a very personal form of communication between us and God, our Creator. But it’s also meant to be shared with others! The Bible tells us: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16).

Prayer is an essential skill, and your kids will learn it from you as you do it together. Nothing will communicate the why and the how of effective prayer to your kids like seeing you pray.

Prayer Strengthens Relationships

Prayer means time with God, speaking to Him, and — just as necessary — listening to Him. The more time you spend with God, the more your relationship with Him will grow.

By praying with your family, you are building relationships with them as well. Maybe you’re praying with them about something they’re worried about or are joining them in praise for good news. Whatever the case may be, you are spending time with them, having shared experiences, and supporting them.

Some kids may be afraid to share their struggles because they don’t want to disappoint you. Effective prayer provides an opportunity to open up to each other in an environment of love and support rather than judgment. By doing this, you become more than just an overseer for your child — you’re their advocate. And that can make a world of difference.

Prayer Fosters Communication and Spiritual Awareness

Here are some of the things you may see as a result of consistent, effective prayer with and for your family:

  • Improved trust and openness to share struggles, fears, and more.
  • Family spiritual growth and opportunities for your kids to connect with their faith.
  • A greater chance that your kids will approach situations from a spiritual perspective.
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“Raising Your Kids to Defend Their Faith” is a series of five short videos, created to get you started in teaching your kids the fundamentals of Christianity, so they can understand it, explain it, and defend it.

Tips for Praying With Your Family

What could prayer look like in your family? The first step is to establish a culture of effective prayer in your household. You may already be doing this, but if not, don’t worry — you can start today. In Ephesians, it says to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18a). Make your house a place filled with all kinds of prayers!

Pray Right Away

The idea is simple: when a family member asks for you to pray for them, don’t just say you’ll pray for them and then walk away. Pray for them, right then and there. Make a point to do this whenever possible. You can impact them at that moment by taking the time to pray with them and show them that they are important to you.

Pray to Show Love

Praying with them at the moment can also help fulfill your family member’s love language — whether that’s physical touch, words of affirmation, or something else. If your child approaches you with something to pray about, put your arm around them and begin to pray, modeling the love that God has for us. Highlight this love by thanking God that He wants us to bring our cares and anxieties to Him (1 Peter 5:6-7).

Pray Using Their Words and Input

Be sure to use the words your child used when asking for prayer, so they know you are actively listening to them (“Dear God, I pray that you would help Bobby forgive Jason for the mean things that he said…”). Then, ask your child if there is anything they would like to add in prayer. After that, wrap up. It’s quick but powerful!

Again, it’s about being an advocate for your children. You’re not just telling them you’re in their corner. You’re showing them by praying with and for them.

Prayers From Focus on the Family Staff

Here are some prayers provided by the staff here at Focus on the Family to give you a few examples of how other parents are praying for their children.


“Lord God, as I step out as a single dad of three wonderful girls, I ask that You guide them and me. I pray that all three grow to be spiritual women, and as they traverse the troubles of this life, they find their way back to You. And Lord, please do not let them live every lesson of life; let them learn some.”


“Father, please watch over my son (Ryan) at college. Please protect him from harm, draw him near to you daily, and please help him not give in to temptation. I pray that he would be a bright light to those around him, especially those students and professors who do not know you. I also ask that you would hand-pick good friends for him and allow this season of his life to be full of hope, joy, and peace, even in the midst of these difficult times that we face right now. Thank you for blessing me and allowing me to be his mom. It is my greatest honor.”


“Lord, please protect my children and grant me patience and kindness when parenting my 3 and 6-year-old. I pray they will grow into God-honoring adults who respect You and trust in You for everything. I also pray for their future spouses as they grow and mature in this crazy world we live in today.”


“God, we thank you for the family that you have blessed us with. Please give us the wisdom and knowledge as to the character of each child. Help us love each child the same and not have favorites, and if we see that favoritism is there, to be honest with you God about it. God, please give us the wisdom to raise this child/children to fear you.

“Help us as parents to love you with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to be the example that our kids can see you living in and through us. God, please help us not to be a stumbling block to our kid/kids. Help us as husband and wife to always be humble enough to apologize to each other for any shortcomings. Also, please help us as parents to lead by example, and not be a hypocrite. Let our children see your love shining through us in whatever we say and do.”


“Lord, thank you for the incredible blessing and privilege of being a grandmother. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of my children’s’ and grandchildren’s lives. Give me the humility to let my children parent their children, the wisdom to know when and if to express concern, and the grace to step aside when I need to. Thank you for the quiet moments with my family members and the joys of discoveries seen through my grandchildren’s eyes.

“May you provide protection for my children and sweet, precious grandchildren, health in the marriages that pour into parenting and encouraging them, plenty of time for Nana and Papa to love on them, the energy to keep up with family members younger than myself, the perseverance to help my family through unexpected and difficult times and the ability to celebrate blessings with them. Let me never forget that you have asked me to nurture a legacy of faith in my children and grandchildren. May I honor and glorify you through my service to them. With gratitude and joy, and in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen!”


“Heavenly Father, thank you for placing your child in my care. It is an amazing blessing to have such an opportunity to both teach and learn simultaneously. Lord, there are times when I am overwhelmed with love and gratitude. Then there are times when I feel so ill-equipped to be all that my child requires.

“Please help me to seek your wisdom and advice in those times, Father. I know that You have the answers and guidance I seek, and You know how to develop all the gifts You placed in my child. Help me to see in my child what You see and help me see my child’s perspective clearly to minister to his/her heart. Help me to seek You first when I am at a loss for answers. Give me patience and fill me with faith in the plans You have for my child and me. Thank You for all that You are doing and all that You are planning for tomorrow. I rest in Your strength, In Jesus precious name, Amen.”


© 2020 by Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. 

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.

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Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.
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