Praying at MealtimeAre family prayers at mealtime or bedtime starting to sound rote? Do you hear the word "good" too much-as in "Help us to have a good day at school" or ""Please help Grandma's knee to be good again." Here are some practical ideas to try from James Nicodem's book Prayer Coach: For All Who Want to Get off the Bench and onto the Praying Field (Crossway Books: 2008).
Ban the word "good" from all mealtime/bedtime prayers. There may be some stumbling, but there may also be some meaningful words used.
Assign topics before your family prays. Ask a specific person to pray for a specific item. Don't stop there; suggest some aspects to pray about. Here's an example: "Anne, would you pray for Grandma's operation tonight? Ask God to give her patience while she can't walk, and healing, and that she will have an opportunity to be God's light to someone else while she's in the hospital."
Ask for a volunteer to pray for a specific topic. Again, suggest specific things to pray. Example: "I heard about an earthquake today on the news. Who would be willing to pray for the people involved? Let's pray that the rescue workers can find the survivors and get them to help without getting hurt themselves. Let's also ask God to take care of the families who have lost their homes and people they love."
After helping out with specific ways to pray, start asking for suggestions. Example: "I think we should pray about our upcoming vacation. What should we pray for?"
When parents pray with their families at mealtimes or at bedtimes, they are not only praying to God. They are also modeling how to pray meaningfully. Being specific in both topics and in how to pray for these topics are two great ways to model how to pray with our children.