#hearLDSwomen: We Can Call on Our Children to Pray

I was shouted down by the entire Relief Society for having the audacity to say that as a mother I had the right to call on my children for prayers. Instead of being high minded and thinking I could call on my children for prayers, I was told to instead encourage my husband to lead our family because of his priesthood authority. I would have walked out, but I was the pianist and I didn’t want to leave my nice hymn book at the piano.
– Marisa McPeck-Stringham

Every home teaching visit ever: “Brother George, since this is YOUR home, would you please call on someone to say the prayer?”
– Megan Farmer George

Our Home Teacher said to my husband, “Since you’re the head of the household, will you call on someone for a prayer?” I jumped in and called on my husband for the prayer and informed the Home Teacher that we are co-heads of household.
– ElleK

When I was first married, we were assigned home teachers. During their first visit they turned to my husband and said, “This is your home. Could you call on someone to say a prayer?”
– Emily Belanger


Pro Tip: The Family: A Proclamation to the World makes it clear that mothers have the same degree of authority over their children as fathers do. Husbands and wives are heads of the household together. Don’t assume that fathers have this role when you visit someone else’s home.

Click here to read all of the stories in our #hearLDSwomen series. Has anything like this happened to you? Please share in the comments or submit your experience(s) to participate in the series.

“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23).

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7 Responses

  1. Andrea says:

    Wow! Of course a wife has as much right as a husband to call on a child to pray at meals, FHE, at family prayer, or any other time. Likewise with “ministers” aka hometeachers. It never fails to amaze and sadden me how many traditions and personal preferences somehow get translated into required doctrines.

    A husband and wife are absolutely equal partners in running their home and the details of their arrangement are between them and God.

  2. GenaX says:

    I have been SO beaten down by this convention in our church that one time, when my husband was called in to work while we had guests in our home, I actually deferred to my husband’s uncle to call on one of my children to pray. His aunt became incensed and said, “I don’t think so! This is YOUR house dear–YOU call on one of your children to pray!” She refused to let her husband call on one of my children just because he was a man, but I honestly did not know that I was allowed to call on my children to pray in a priesthood holder’s presence until somebody gave me permission! I had been so conditioned by home teachers, bishops, etc that only men could call on my children to pray that I honestly didn’t think that I could–especially not with priesthood holders nearby. That aunt’s kindness to me brought tears to my eyes! I will always be grateful to her for empowering me that day, whether or not what she said was technically true according to Mormon doctrine (I am still not certain, but I don’t care, lol)

  3. Rebecca says:

    My in-laws were at my home last weekend. They had texted my husband and I ahead of time to ask if they could pray while in our home to open a family fast for a sick cousin, which we agreed to. While there, my Father-In-Law looked to my husband (who has had absolutely nothing to do with the church for years) to ask if it would be okay if he (my FIL) prayed. It was sort of like calling on himself, but asking my not-really-Mormon husband permission to do so. A tiny part of me wanted to speak up and say, “As the head of the household who has been endowed with priesthood power, Yes, I will grant you permission to pray in our home tonight.” It wasn’t a battle worth fighting on that particular night, but it still irks me a bit that he automatically asked my husband instead of both of us or just me.

  4. Jenna Colvin Browning says:

    My husband always chose who said the prayer in our home for the first few years of our marriage. We just did it out of habit as that’s how it was in our homes growing up. Now we take turns, or ask for a volunteer. My husband said he hated remembering who he picked last anyway 😉

  5. Louise Howell Hammel says:

    Whenever missionaries or the occasional home teacher asked my non-member husband to assign someone to pray, he would laugh in confusion (why would they ask me?) and turn it right back on them to pray. Every time.

  6. Dani Addante says:

    I completely agree! I would love to see more women calling on people to pray. My husband and I take turns praying. I too have had home teachers or others turn to my husband and say “This is your home. Who would you like to pray?” The first time this happened, I cried after the home teachers left. I’d been so shocked I hadn’t known how to react. But the next time it happened, I was ready. I spoke up and said, “I’m going to say the prayer.”

  7. Simpley a sister says:

    When ever that happens in our home my darling husband always says, “ask my wife she is the head of this house, without her great input this would not be a home”. She makes it the wonderful place that it is, so I have no problem asking someone to pray.

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