by James Rudy Gray
George Barna has noted that the divorce rate for Christians is about two percent higher than the national average. George Gallup has pointed out that couples who pray together four times or more a week have a divorce rate of one to 1,052. Praying couples not only practice an important spiritual discipline, they also experience a powerful and stabilizing by-product.
I remember making a pair of plaster hands in Vacation Bible School as a kid. The inscription said, "The family that prays together, stays together." Gallup's polling supports that conclusion.
There are so many things that are important ingredients in building strong and healthy families. Godliness is foundational. Spiritual intimacy is one of the most significant dimensions in building a healthy and full marital intimacy. Spirituality is one of the key traits of strong families.
Praying together as a family can be a powerful tool in creating greater unity, concern, and selflessness in the family. This practice does not need to be long, formal, or highly structured. It should not be forced but done with simplicity and genuineness. The fabric of family strength is often woven together through the strands of consistent and genuine prayer.
Children can learn much about prayer by praying with their parents. When it is a regular part of the family life, it signals its importance to the kids and helps point them to God. What parents say will usually have more impact when kids see Mom's and Dad's words matched with living. In prayer, families can seek forgiveness, wisdom, direction, and communion with Christ. In that experience, love is communicated, felt, and personalized.
Prayer is not the only thing families can do to grow in health and godliness. There are several other spiritual disciplines as well as sound psychological insights.
Strong churches need real Christians. The top challenge of our day and our culture does not lie on some distant shore. It is in our own house. We believe we are called to reach the world with the gospel, but we must first reach our families. Someone has noted that if our Christianity does not work at home, it will not really work anywhere else. We can build healthy, strong, and godly families. Praying together helps.