The Power of Family Prayer
By Cheryl Sacks
A number of years ago I had a powerful vision of our nation shrouded in darkness. Suddenly, a single home started to glow with living light, which then spread to others, rapidly transforming the entire country!
Then I heard the voice of the Lord say, Revival will come to America when the family altar is restored.
I believe with all my heart that we are now in the awakening moment I saw in my vision: God is about to visit the families of America.
When God spoke those words to me, I was standing on the platform in my home church, having just finished speaking in a conference on “Revival and the Holy Spirit.” Not one of the speakers had mentioned family prayer. And I wasn’t sure if something as simple as families praying together could transform a nation. So I asked the Lord to confirm if He was really speaking to me.
At that moment, a young man walked to the microphone and began to pray, echoing the words I had just heard: “Lord, restore the family altar in homes across America.”
This encounter with the Lord took me on a journey to learn more about the power of family prayer. One day I ran across a book titled How to Have a Family Altar. Even though the book was written in the early 1950s, its principles are timeless. One story confirmed further what God had been speaking to me:
The 17th century Scottish church leader, Thomas Boston, was burdened over the cold spiritual state of his church. It was not only cold, but practically empty. He decided that the way to bring revival to his church and community was to establish family prayer in every home. He went from home to home, leading people to Christ and encouraging families to pray daily together. After nearly three years, revival fires were burning in his church, and large numbers of joy-filled believers and seekers of God crowded into the church every Sunday!1
In today’s world of busy schedules and digital distractions, it’s hard for families to find time to eat dinner together, let alone pray together. Yet praying together deepens relationships, alleviates arguing and fighting, and strengthens family ties more than any single thing we can do.
Launching Family Prayer
Many believe that creating a new, lasting habit takes at least a month. That’s why I encourage church leaders to launch a month-long campaign to help families jumpstart a lifetime of praying together.
Here are some ideas from my own experience, along with great advice from pastors and prayer leaders:
- Frank Nevarez, pastor of Emmanuel Fellowship, Cottonwood, AZ, says, “Launch your family prayer campaign and give it a unique name and theme.” He dedicated an entire month to teaching on family prayer and encouraging families to pray together daily.
- Select a resource for your church family to read together, such as Kim Butts’s book, The Praying Family, or my new book, The Prayer-Saturated Family: How to Change the Atmosphere in Your Home Through Prayer. These are full of ideas to engage the whole family in prayer.
- Kevin Hartke, pastor of Trinity Christian Fellowship, Chandler, AZ, successfully engaged Sunday school classes in a family prayer campaign. Everyone read through a book on family prayer and then discussed how they could put its principles into action in their own homes.
- During a family prayer campaign, give your families an assignment, such as praying through the 31-Day Family Prayer Guide found in The Prayer-Saturated Family. This book has creative ideas and scriptural prayer models to jumpstart or strengthen family prayer.
- Initiate a citywide campaign. Prayer leader Jason Hubbard in Bellingham, WA, bought books on family prayer for the 60 pastors and church prayer coordinators in his network and launched a month of family prayer across their entire city.
- Seek support on the state level. In Phoenix, in response to our request, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey issued a proclamation designating January National Family Prayer Month.
Giving time and effort to your church families’ growth in the Lord and the spiritual climate of their homes is one of the best investments you can make! Healthy families create healthy churches, healthy schools, and healthy communities. 1
Norman V. Williams, How to Have a Family Prayer Altar
(Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1951), 9. CHERYL SACKS
is a national speaker and the co-founder and leader of BridgeBuilders International Leadership Network (bridgebuilders.net). She is the author of three books that are available at prayershop.org