Five Prayers for Family Worship

Matthew Henry (1662 – 1714), famous for his Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible, wrote numerous other tracts and treatises which are very helpful and edifying. One such treatise was A Church in the House or Family Religion (available online here). In this work, Henry lists five things that should be prayed for by families (I paraphrased the headings):

1. Acknowledge the Dependence of your Family upon Christ.

“Give honor to the great Redeemer as the head of all the churches, even those in your houses; call him the Master of the family, and the great upholder and benefactor of it ; for he it is in whom all the families of the earth are blessed (Gen. 12 : 3). All family-blessings are owing to Christ, and come to us through his hand by his blood. Own your dependance upon God, and your obligations to Christ for all good things pertaining both to life and godliness ; and make conscience of paying homage to your chief Lord, and never set up a title to any of your enjoyments in competition with his.” (27)

2. Confess Family Sins to God.

“In many things we all offend God and one another; and a penitent confession of it in prayer together will be the most effectual way of reconciling ourselves both to God and to one another. The best families, and those in which piety and love prevail most, yet in many things come short, and do enough every day to bring them upon their knees at night.” (29)

3. Thank God for Family Blessings.

“When the whole family comes together safe in the morning from their respective retirements, and when they return safe at night from their respective employments, there having been no disaster, no ‘adversary,’ no evil occurrence,—it is so reasonable and as I may say so natural for them to join together in solemn thanksgivings to their great Protector, that I wonder how any who believe in a God and a Providence can omit it.” (30)

4. Bring to God Family Petitions.

“There are family-cares to be cast upon God by prayer, family-comforts to be sought, and family- crosses which they should together beg him to sanctify and remove. Hereby your children will be more effectually possessed with a belief of, and regard to the divine Providence, than by all the instructions you can give them; which will look best in their eye when thus reduced to practice by your daily acknowledging God in all your ways.” (32)

5. Intercede for the World and the Church.

“Our families should be witnesses for us that we pray daily for our land and the prosperity of all its interests; that praying every where we make supplication for our rulers and all in authority (1 Tim. 2 : 3, 8). That we bear upon our hearts the concerns of God’s church abroad, especially the suffering parts of it. Thus keeping up a spiritual communion with all the families that in every place call on the name of the Lord Jesus.” (35-36)

I hope these words encourage us in prayer with our families daily. Also, I would highly recommend reading the whole thing (linked above).

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