By Joe Babendreier
“Wherever two or three gather in my name, I am among them.” We read these words of our Lord Jesus Christ in St Matthew’s gospel (18:20). Will Jesus be there, present in your home, when you and your spouse come together to pray? Yes, without any doubt whatsoever.
When we are in church with other Christians, we offer to God the Father the sacrifice spoken of in the Letter to the Hebrews (9:12): Jesus “has entered the sanctuary once and for all, taking with him not the blood of goats and bulls, but his own blood, having won an eternal redemption for us.”
Family prayer is not the same as the act of worship we offer when in church on Sundays. Nevertheless, Jesus is present among you when you pray together as a family.
As important as it is to gather with other Christians on the first day of the week to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, praying together at home is the most important thing you can ever do as a family, precisely because Jesus is there with you.
When you think your children are old enough to join you in family prayer, invite them, without insisting that they must do it. The reason for not demanding that they pray together with you is that prayer must be a personal decision, or it’s not really a prayer.
One of the wise men of our times wrote: “Family prayer has it’s own characteristic qualities. It is prayer offered in common, husband and wife together, parents and children together.