Tuesday, July 16, 2013

SAFEGUARD YOUR FAMILY WITH PRAYER



"There has never been a time when we had greater need to pray and to teach our family members to pray. Prayer is a defense against temptation. It is through earnest and heartfelt prayer that we can receive the needed blessings and the support required to make our way in this sometimes difficult and challenging journey we call mortality.” -Thomas S. Monson
"As a people, aren’t we grateful that family prayer is not an out-of-date practice with us? There is no more beautiful sight in all this world than to see a family praying together. There is real meaning behind the oft-quoted ‘The family that prays together stays together.’ 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).” -Thomas S. Monson

Families that pray together build eternal relationships on a foundation of strength, comfort, inspiration, and love.
Whether we struggle with challenges, live away from home, or want to unify the members of our family, the Lord blesses us when we pray with our families.

"Nothing can take the place of kneeling with our families and petitioning God for His help, guidance, and mercy. If we would help save and strengthen our families, nothing else we do can replace family prayer. I have often reflected upon my own experience growing up in a home with family prayer. I don’t remember ever being instructed by my parents on how to pray. It was just something we always did in our family. My earliest memories of prayer are kneeling as a family around the kitchen table, feeling the steady, unwavering faith of my father. Although he passed away more than a quarter of a century ago, I will be eternally grateful for his humble and sincere prayers. He had many sayings and proverbs he used to impart to us children, but no phrase of his is more often remembered than one I heard him pray every time he spoke to Heavenly Father. It wasn't a vain repetition but a daily, heartfelt, and sincere petition: “Wilt Thou bless the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted, and those who have cause to mourn.” Little did I realize at the time that my father was teaching me compassion for others less fortunate and mercy for those in need. No lecture or lesson has had as far-reaching an impact on my soul as did this simple, faithful, heartfelt plea of my earthly father to our Heavenly Father" -Gordon B. Hinckley



Be Consistent

The challenge for parents in this age of rapid transit, rapid communication, and hectic schedules is that families can easily fall into the habit of rapid prayer 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 Kimball counseled: “When we kneel in family prayer, our children at our side on their knees are learning habits that will stay with them all through their lives. If we do not take time for prayers, what we are actually saying to our children is, ‘Well, it isn’t very important, anyway. We won’t worry about it. If we can do it conveniently, we will have our prayer, but if the school bell rings and the bus is coming and employment is calling—well, prayer isn't very important and we will do it when it is convenient.’ Unless planned for, it never seems to be convenient.”

Be Flexible and Creative

Some parents may get discouraged trying to hold family prayer. It may be challenging because of conflicting work hours and school schedules, it sometimes seems impossible for them to gather their families to the same place at the same time. Even so, with faithful devotion and a little inspired creativity, families can find a way to pray together. 

Don’t Let It Slide
President Hinckley has encouraged parents to be hopeful and to persist in holding family prayer, even if the blessings of doing so are not immediately apparent: “I give you my testimony that if you sincerely apply family prayer, you will not go away unrewarded. The changes may not be readily apparent. They may be extremely subtle. But they will be real, for God ‘is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him’ (Heb. 11:6).”
Faithful adherence to the counsel of prayer brings forth blessings. Most children probably don’t realize the impact their parents’ example will have on the rest of their lives, but parents must persevere and continue to be an example to their children.


Teach Your Little Ones

Although 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.” 
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.
As parents pray for the Holy Spirit to be in their home, children will come to know the importance of seeking the Spirit in their own lives. As children hear their parents plead for help in resolving difficult challenges and then witness the answers to those prayers, they will begin to develop a spirit of inquiry of their own. They will pray with a desire to knock, seek, and ask for help with problems and trials they face in their own lives (see Matt. 7:7–11). The spirit and behavior that parents leave as a model when they approach Heavenly Father in prayer will have an important, long-lasting effect on their children. As President Kimball once reminded parents, “Your little ones will learn how to talk to their Father in Heaven by listening to you as parents. They will soon see how heartfelt and honest your prayers are. If your prayers are a hurried and thoughtless ritual, they will see this too.”

Don’t Wait to Begin
Families that have not been having family prayer should not wait for some change in conditions or some ideal time to start. There is no better time to begin than 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. 

Sometimes there are special circumstances—a spouse or child who declines to participate, for instance. But if the spouse will permit prayer or if the child will be present, even without participating, a heart often can be won in the end by humble, persistent, loving example. Over time, the benefits of family prayer usually become obvious even to those who decline to participate, and they may be learning from what they observe, even when they do not realize it. 

The end result is worth whatever sacrifices we make to build the habit—and often these are no more than small sacrifices of time. 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.”

A prominent American judge was asked what we as citizens of the countries of the world could do to reduce crime and disobedience to law and to bring peace and contentment into our lives and into our nations. He carefully replied, ‘I would suggest a return to the old-fashioned practice of family prayer.

As a people, aren't we grateful that family prayer is not an out-of-date practice with us? There is no more beautiful sight in all this world than to see a family praying together. There is real meaning behind the oft-quoted ‘The family that prays together stays together.

Do you pray as a couple or family?
If so, why is prayer important to you?


**Information taken from various Ensign articles and messages**


FYI (really needed to hear this today): 
Loving this post I read this morning on choosing happiness.



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2 Comments:

At July 16, 2013 at 9:13 AM , Blogger Katie Did What said...

I loved this post so much! Thank you for writing it and sharing those passages! Praying with my husband is something I knew I wanted to do from the beginning of our marriage, but for whatever reason it was a little... difficult to begin. I had never prayed with a significant other before- but I had prayed with my family often, my mom especially, and I knew the power of prayer and the feeling of peace and love it pours over you, so I knew that I wanted this to be a part of my marriage too! And so we got past the weird feelings, and the hesitations, and mostly I think it was just that we were kind of shy about it, for whatever reason! But we have slowly been making sure to set aside time before bed to come together and pray, if even just a really short and simple prayer to thank God for our blessings, and we're still working on it, but it's such a wonderful thing. :)

xo

 
At July 16, 2013 at 9:31 AM , Blogger Kimberly Bonham said...

Katie,
You are so very welcome. I am glad that you enjoyed reading it and got something out of it. Thank you for taking the time to comment and share your thoughts! I would have to be honest and say that it took a few times of us praying together to get used to it, but now we obviously are after being married for 3 blissful years and its amazing what prayer does to strengthen our marriage and bring us closer to one another and especially closer to Heavenly Father. My advice is to keep at it every night and it will eventually happen to where it will just become a routine and be so natural.

 

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