How to Talk to Your Family and Friends About Prayer

Family and Friends Prayer

One of our favorite saints on the Hallow team is St. Teresa of Ávila. She said prayer is “nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us.”

At Hallow, this vision of prayer inspires us. But we also know that building a friendship with God – like all friendships – can be scary. It takes trust, accountability, forgiveness, humor, and patience. On top of that, talking about your relationship with Christ with others can be even more daunting. 

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Tips to help you talk to family and friends about prayer

Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your conversations.

Jesus encourages his disciples that when they are put on trial, the Holy Spirit will speak through them (Luke 12). God sent the Holy Spirit to be our Advocate and friend. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus formed the Church, gave us the witness of the Saints, and finally – the witness of each other, to show that a friendship with God was not only possible but worth pursuing. 

The Holy Spirit wants us to ask for help and to let Him work through us. Before and during any conversation, you can simply ask, “Come, Holy Spirit” and have faith that you are not alone.

Ask others what they are struggling with in this season of life.

We all have a hard time discussing the tough stuff, including prayer; it’s easier to discuss the weather than to discuss life’s anxieties. But most people are open to talking about themselves; they just need to be asked. 

Some ideas for questions to guide these conversations: 

  • How are you actually doing? 
  • What is challenging about life right now? 
  • How do you deal with stress? 
  • How is your heart? 
  • How is your relationship with God? 

The most important part is to listen – try not to jump in with too much advice or your own experience; let them take center stage. 

Being a good friend to God means taking time to listen to what he has to say to us. The same goes for our friends and family on earth. Accompanying people through the struggles in their lives shows that you love them and makes talking about prayer much more authentic.

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(Image: Robert Zünd, Gang nach Emmaus [Public domain])

Be willing to share your own struggles, especially with prayer.

Of course, share the joys of your faith and prayer life, but also be open to sharing the parts you wrestle with. Maybe you are great at a daily discipline of prayer but find it hard to keep your mind quiet. Perhaps you are in a season where you don’t feel God’s presence with you. Maybe you are overwhelmed and can barely make time to pray. 

Often what holds people back from a relationship with God is their fear that they won’t be “good” at prayer or that God wants perfect people. Share about God’s love and forgiveness in your own life, and gently remind them that God loves them beyond what they can imagine and that prayer can begin with something as simple as one minute a day. 

Other reasons friends and family may have trouble with prayer are genuine doubt about questions of faith and dealing with ways the Church has hurt them or someone they know. This is where listening comes in again. 

You don’t need to be an expert in explaining every theological concept or answer for wrongs the Church has done, but offering friends and family a space to voice frustrations and sharing any doubts you have had can go a long way. Talking about prayer can be a great first step to healing past hurts and growing closer to God.

Offer to pray with them.

Beginning a prayer habit is hard! “Where do I start? What type of prayer? How does it all work?” 

When these questions arise with friends and family, offer to pray with them. Make it simple and related to the struggles they are facing. You can choose a challenge from Hallow, a praylist, or one of our Family Prayers for the morning, dinnertime, or evening.

A great way to keep the conversation around prayer is to start a Hallow Family in the app. We’ve already seen the introduction of Hallow Families have a significant impact on peoples’ prayer lives: after joining a Family, users complete 65% more prayers per week compared to those who aren’t in a prayer family. People who download Hallow for the first time through a Family invitation are 2x more likely to complete their first prayer in the app than those who don’t receive a group invitation. 

Being in a community makes a difference in how it helps people feel included and motivated and keeps the conversation of faith open.

We hope to help folks with this through our Community Prayer Groups on the app. Read below to learn about how you can pray with your friends and family on Hallow:

Community Prayer Groups on Hallow

We know how important it is to share our faith with others, discuss reflections, request a prayer intention, and hold each other accountable to our individual prayer goals, so we included these new functionalities in revamping Hallow Prayer Groups.

As a reminder, you can access your Groups right from the Home Screen by tapping the 3-circle button in the top right of the screen. From here, you can choose to either join a group with a code or create a new one.

Prayer Group Update 1: Chat

We’ve repeatedly heard from our Prayer Group users that they’d like a way to post discussion questions, observations, and general messages within the Group without having to add an intention or reflection. Like any messaging app, you can now type a note to your friends and family to discuss any faith-based topics that come to mind. 

Prayer Group Update 2: Replies & Reactions

Whether someone posted a meaningful reflection on a prayer, requested a specific intention, or checked in to let you know their mood, it is natural to want to respond to them directly without creating your own post. You can now reply to any post directly within your Prayer Group – you can write a personal message for your friend, or for a quicker response, you can select 1 of 5 emojis to let them know you’re thinking of them.  

Prayer Group Update 3: Profile Images

For years now, our little halo-bearing mascot, whom we call Harold the Herald, has been the face of Hallow. He’s featured on the app icon and our website and has starred in many of our illustrations. In the hopes of allowing you to bring some of your personality to your Group, we’ve given Harold over 20 new outfits for you to choose from, in addition to several other fun icons and art. Ours is the Holy Ghost Herald! Let us know your favorite!

Prayer Group Update 4: In-App Notifications

We heard from folks in the past that it can be challenging to see when there is activity within one of your Prayer Groups. At the same time, we wanted to make sure these notifications wouldn’t be too loud or distracting or take away from our focus on peace within the app. As a happy medium, we added a place to store notifications next to your Groups. The notifications will summarize activity across all of your groups, and a small red dot will appear on the button if you have any unread messages. To make it even easier to respond, tapping on a notification will take you straight to the post within the Group where it was posted.

We are not meant to walk this journey of life alone, and while building a community of faith is hard work, it is also holy work. 

We hope these tips help as a jumping-off point, and we will be back with more ideas for how to share your faith with others. Know that we are here to talk through anything with you and hold you all in prayer.

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