Prayer To Become A Little Family Unit


Praying Together: Ideas for Consistent Family Prayer

Prayer To Become A Little Family Unit

Last year we stopped praying together as a family before meals — an impetuous decision born my rebellious heart. Prayer at meals had become so perfunctory and rote, just going through the motions and seemingly dead.

That was the problem. Our mealtime prayers felt dead.

My kids said the same words every prayer, and I was so tired and longed for the quiet that comes from full mouths and hungry bellies, I just stopped insisting on praying together before meals.

Not long after that, I realized I was wrong to let the habit lapse. Of course we don’t have to pray at mealtimes to be a Christian or even to maintain communion with God.

But in busy days and an overly distracted culture, I’ve found that one of the best ways to maintain intimacy with God {and to remember all of His blessings} is to have hard stops built into our days.

In a home of littles and chaos flexible schedules, mealtimes are regular, consistent occurrences in our days and the perfect time to slow and remember — to praise, to confess, to give thanks, and to present our requests.

But my dilemma remained. How do we avoid the habitual and find the hunger in prayer? Of course, it starts with me, but I’ve also found that creating a daily focus for our prayer time helps keep our prayers fresh and our hearts responsive.

Ideas for Consistent Family Prayer

What follows are three practices we use in our home to focus our prayers and to be faithful in praying for others.

Praying for ourselves and our own needs comes so naturally, doesn’t it? If I’m not intentional about praying for others, I won’t — at least not consistently. These three ideas, introduced slowly over time, have helped us tremendously as a family to remember to pray for others and to remember that we serve a God who wants us to present our requests to Him!

Prayer sticks in the morning

Using prayer sticks during our morning prayer time helps us to faithfully pray for family and friends on a continual basis. In the past, I’ve been overwhelmed by how to “organize” our prayer time and prayer list.

With so many people for whom to pray and so many needs to cover in prayer, I have sometimes given up and have either neglected to pray for others or have glossed over specific prayers in an effort to ‘get through the list’ (sounds horrible I know)!

We use large popsicle sticks. We took a day to paint and decorate our stash, and on each stick is written a specific family or name. We limit the number of prayer sticks we create (sometimes combining families or groups of friends) in an effort to pray for each one weekly.

In the morning, each of the kids randomly picks a prayer stick and we talk about the person and how we can best pray that day (specific requests, answers, needs, etc.). The kids pray for the person on their stick, and my husband or I will close our time of prayer filling in the gaps we are aware of and leaving the rest to the Lord.

The “used” prayer stick goes into a separate container until we have gone through all the prayer sticks and each person is prayed over. Then we start all over!

Prayer map at lunch

At lunchtime, we use our world map for our prayer focus.

We’ve added pictures and pins and printables to our map, and it has now become a reminder to pray for our missionaries, causes, current events, other believers around the world, and the persecuted Church.

We work our way around the world, focusing on different countries or continents. The book Operation World was a great help when we first started our map and even now as a quick reference and prayer guide.

Prayer board at dinner

I first learned of the prayer board after seeing a picture this on Pinterest. I loved the concept. Here’s the idea behind it – in my mind anyway!

Having a prayer board is really helpful way to keep track of the many prayer requests that come our way.

When I tell someone that I am praying for them, I want to actually be praying for them! When a prayer request is shared with us or when we hear of a need, we put it on the board.

At dinnertime, we each choose a request to present to God and we lift up the needs of those around us or even within our own family!

As you can imagine, the prayer board is frequently changing as prayers are answered and new requests are added.

We are still implementing our dinnertime prayer board at home because I have yet to buy or make the board! (I love the idea of using a metal board so that we can use magnets. I’ve seen cute options that would fit our decor at Hobby Lobby.

I’m just waiting for a great sale and a chance to run out!) Right now we are just using a notebook, but I love the idea of the board because of how easy it is to add and remove requests, update praises, and it is a great visual reminder all throughout the day.

I have loved adding these family prayer ideas into our days. There are some days when we engage in these prayers after eating, but usually, we take the time before we eat and the kids do just fine waiting (we are learning patience, too!).

Question for you: 

In what ways does your family engage in prayer together?

Resources for you:

Praying for Our Kids {Resource List} 
Praying for Kids around the world (each day of the month)

Pray Truth: Praying God’s Word for my Husband’s Heart



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The Story of the “Prayer for Protection”

Prayer To Become A Little Family Unit

The “Prayer for Protection” is known the world over, and Unity is often asked how it came into existence. James Dillet Freeman explained once in his Unity Magazine column, “Life Is a Wonder”:

Let me tell you how I wrote Unity's “Prayer for Protection.”

When World War II was raging in Europe, we received many letters and phone calls from people caught in the conflict, but for a long time we did not have a prayer for protection that we were all satisfied with. This is how one came.

Silent Unity has always written a special Christmas Prayer Service just for Silent Unity workers. And in 1940 I was asked to prepare this service. We had never before needed a prayer for protection, but in 1940 we needed one, so I wrote one to go with the Christmas service. What I wrote was a little four-line verse:

“The light of Christ directs me; The love of Christ enfolds me; The power of Christ protects me; The presence of Christ upholds me.”

I had hardly finished this Christmas service before Silent Unity came to me again and asked me to write a protection pamphlet that we could send to people, so I did. It was called His Protecting Spirit.

A Prayer for Wartime

They told me they wanted affirmative prayers for protection on the back page. Among these was the verse from the 23rd Psalm: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me” (Ps. 23:4 KJV).

One of the young women who worked in Silent Unity was reading my manuscript as I wrote it, and as she finished it, she came up to me and said: “Jim, if I were a woman in England and they were dropping bombs on my roof, or if I were a soldier and someone was pointing a loaded gun at me, I wouldn't want to feel I was walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Can't you do better than that?”

I thought, You want me to do better than the 23rd Psalm? You have to be your mind. But rolling around in the back of my mind was the little verse I had written as a prayer for protection at Christmas.

How the “Prayer for Protection” Was Written

I had written it just for Silent Unity, but now it came rolling up to the front of my mind and demanded that I pay attention to it. It enticed me to see what I could make of it.

First I took the rhymes from it. I felt it would be more universally received if it was not a rhyme. Then I changed Christ to God. It had been Christ because it was a Christmas prayer, but I felt if we were going to send it around the world, God might be more acceptable to more people. So the little prayer became:

“The light of God surrounds me, The love of God enfolds me, The power of God protects me, The presence of God watches over me.”

That is the way we first printed it. Then a line came to me that I felt would make the prayer even more powerful. The line was:

“Wherever I am, God is.”

I added it as the fifth line. The “Prayer for Protection” first appeared as a four-lined prayer in 1941, but when we reprinted it in 1943, it appeared in the form it has had ever since.

“The light of God surrounds me; The love of God enfolds me; The power of God protects me; The presence of God watches over me. Wherever I am, God is!”

God’s Message of Love

The “Prayer for Protection” came through change after change, not at all “I Am There,” when I felt that God spoke those words to me.

But what is the word of God? It is possible that no prayer Unity has ever printed has reached so many people as the “Prayer for Protection,” for not only has Unity printed it over and over, but almost every Unity church uses it to conclude its services. “I Am There,” it was carried to the moon.

On the very first flight to the moon, on Apollo 11, astronaut Col. Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin carried the Unity “Prayer for Protection” with him. He did not know me or Unity.

It has appeared in hundreds of different publications that have no connection with Unity, and millions of people have carried it around on cards that fit into their pocketbooks, pockets, and billfolds. It has been translated into many languages. Sometimes it appears with me as the author. Often no author is given. Sometimes other people are named as the author.

It has been changed and changed again before it reached the form that it now has that best meets people's needs. This prayer is the product of much thought and concentration and of a mind that was willing to stay open to receive divine inspiration.

I think Unity's “Prayer for Protection” is as much God's word as “I Am There” is. Sometimes God speaks to us when we don't even know it is God.

I think God has many ways of speaking to us and not only in words that we hear with our ears. I think God speaks to our hearts and minds, and sometimes God's message has nothing to do with words. God is love and intelligence and life.

More than anything we say God is, or even imagine God is, God is the one universal Presence and Power and is seeking to express Truth and beauty and good through all of us and for all of us.

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Scriptures to Pray for Family Unity

Prayer To Become A Little Family Unit

Whether you’re part of a blended, single-parent, foster, adoptive, or traditional two-parent family, your family is important to God. You can ask him for anything in regard to your family as long as it’s in line with his heart, his desires . . . and essentially, His will. (See scripture prayers at the bottom of this post.)

Just so you know, family unity is definitely “according to his will.”

“Families are the basic, foundational social units in all human communities around the world, and healthy individuals within healthy families are at the core of a healthy society.”  University of Nebraska – NebGuide by UNL Extension Family Life specialists and educators. (John DeFrain, Gail Brand, Jeanette Friesen, Dianne Swanson) 

Healthy families are good for all of us, because the state of the family directly impacts the state of our society.

Strong families produce children who have the tools to grow up to become healthy, mature, well-adjusted adults.

The family unit is:

  • God’s idea
  • God’s design
  • An expression of God’s nature and essence (The Truth Project, Del Tackett)

How God designed the family:

When God formed the earth, flinging stars in the sky, and creating life, he said, “Let us make man in our image, after our ness.”

When he says “us”, he’s referring to the active participation of every member of the godhead in creation. Father. Son. Holy Spirit.

There’s community and relationship within God between:

God the Father . . . God the Son . . . God the Holy Spirit.

(John 10:30, 2 Corinthians 13:14, John 4:34, Matthew 26:39)

Within family, we’re meant to experience the same intimacy, oneness, community, and fellowship God experiences in the godhead. That’s his plan for our families.

Family members are meant to take care of one another, and sacrifice for “us.” But we’re each imperfect and we live with imperfect people. Rather than fighting with our families, it’s important to fight for our families.

Praying hard. Praying often.

Here are some powerful prayers you can use to pray for strength, unity, forgiving hearts, harmony, and steadfast love within your family. These prayers are powerful because they’re the things God has had inspired men write down for our benefit.

Scripture prayers for your home and family:

  • “Father God . . . I ask you to help each member of our family (name them) to be completely humble and gentle in our interactions with each other; and to be patient, bearing with one another’s faults in love – even when we’re tired, frustrated, angry, or hurt. Help us Father, to make every effort to remain united in the Spirit in this home. Please bind us together in peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3
  • “Gracious God . . . help us (name your family members) to love each other fervently. Grow our love so deep that it is able and willing to overcome and forgive a multitude of sins. Inspire a spirit of hospitality in (family member names) and enable us to cheerfully share our home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God I acknowledge that you have given each one in this family spiritual gifts. Help us to put our own needs aside and use those gifts to serve one another well. We will rely on the strength and energy you alone supply. I pray that everything we do within this family unit will bring you glory through the One who lives in us – your Son, Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 4:8-11
  • “God – you are the One who gives us perseverance and encouragement. In you, we have hope. Help our family (name family members) live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5
  • “Loyal and trustworthy God, help my spouse (insert name here) and I to honor our marriage and clearly see how valuable and precious it really is. As we honor our marriage to one another, and our covenant with you, help us keep our marriage bed pure.” Hebrews 13:4

Other links you may be interested in: 

Scriptures to Pray Over Your Family

Bible Verses About Family

Are You a Prayer Worrier or a Prayer Warrior?

Strong, united families are not only good for our children, they’re a refreshing and beautiful reflection of God’s glory in the world. 

Because families are worth fighting for . . .


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Курс: Listening and Reading Russian State Exam: Unit1

Prayer To Become A Little Family Unit

Раздел 1. Аудирование

Прослушайте шесть высказываний. Установите соответствие между высказываниями каждого говорящего A–F и утверждениями, данными в списке 1–7. Используйте каждое утверждение, обозначенное соответствующей цифрой, только один раз. В задании есть одно лишнее утверждение. Занесите свои ответы в таблицу.

    1)    This ingredient of a sweet treat has a long history.    2)    Special sweets can be decorations for special occasions.    3)    Candy from our childhood has a very special taste.

    4)    Every candy cane has its own sweet secret.    5)    I didn’t regret spending money for those sweets.    6)    It was impossible to eat alone all the sweets needed.

    7)    This shop has an unusual mix of goods.

Задание B1. Аудирование

A10 When Nigel decided to get a pilot’s license, he had to …
    1)    leave school to work.
    2)    change many jobs.
    3)    combine work and studies.
A11 Nigel explains that “to get instrument rating” means to demonstrate the ability
to …
    1)    operate any type of aircraft.
    2)    fly in any weather conditions.
    3)    use different equipment on the ground.
A12 Nigel can’t get a job with a major airline because …
    1)   he doesn’t have enough experience.
    2)    these airlines have stopped hiring new pilots.
    3)    his pilot’s license is not valid.
A13 In order to achieve his aim, Nigel still needs to … …
    1)    pass a medical test.
    2)    gain more flying skills.
    3)    choose a suitable airline.
A14 Before he gets enough experience, Nigel is ready to work …
    1)    for a low salary.
    2)    with many different people.
    3)    in faraway places

A8-A14 Аудирование

1. Apples are a crisp, white-fleshed fruit with a red, yellow or green skin with a
moderately sweet refreshing flavour. The apple is actually a member of the
rose family, which may seem strange until we remember that roses make
rose hips, which are fruits similar to the apple. Over the centuries the apple
tree has spread to most temperature regions of the world and many hybrids
have been developed.

2. You can find thousands of varieties of apples in the market today. Golden

and Red Delicious apples are mild and sweet, Gravenstein, Pippin and
Granny Smith apples are notably brisk and tart. Tart apples are often used
for cooked desserts apple pie, while Delicious apples and other sweet
varieties Braeburn and Fuji apples are usually eaten raw.

3. Apples have long been associated with the biblical story of Adam and Eve,

although there is actually no mention that, in fact, the fruit in question was
definitely an apple. In Norse mythology, apples were given a more positive
image; a magic apple was said to keep people young forever. We can also
read about such apples in Russian folk tales.

4. There as an interesting episode connected with apples in the history of the

US. It is about Johnny Appleseed. Despite the mythologycal quality of his
tale, he was a real person named John Chapman. In the 1800s he walked
barefoot across an area of 100,000 square miles, planting apple trees that
provided food and a livelihood for generations of settlers.

5. The Bramley apple is often called the King of British apples. Dessert apples,

or “eating apples”, have high sugar content, giving them the sweet flavour
that makes them delicious to eat, but also makes them lose their flavour
when cooked. Bramley apples, however, are unique because they have lower
sugar levels and their flavour doesn’t disappear when cooked in popular

6. Apples are such commonly-eaten fruits that it’s easy to overlook their

amazing and unique health benefits. Apples combine certain nutrients in a
way that sets them apart from all other fruits. They are a good source of
dietary fiber and vitamin C, as well as flavonoids and antioxidant nutrients.
Apples help lower the risk of heart disease and cancer.

7. Rinse apples under clear running water you would any fruit. If organic,

don’t peel unless the recipe you have chosen requires peeled apples. To
prevent browning when cutting apples for a recipe, simply put the pieces in a
bowl of cold water to which a spoonful of lemon juice has been added. For
use in future recipes, apples freeze well in plastic bags or containers.
The national Lottery, a government sponsored and approved form of
gambling, appeared in Britain in 1994. The first draw took place on 19
November and then draws have taken place each week. Since it started, over £6
billion has been spent by punters – people 1 _______________________. This
means that the National Lottery has become the most popular form of gambling.
The prize money is considerable, so punters can daydream about
2 _______________________. All lottery publicity, including the TV
commercials, has encouraged this fantasy. Another reason for its popularity is
the ease with 3 _______________________. There are National Lottery outlets
all over the country: in supermarkets, petrol stations, newsagents. It couldn’t be
easier! The actual process of buying a stake in the draw is also very simple.
Punters blank out any six numbers between 1 and 49 on a slip of paper, and
together with their £1.00 stake, hand it over to a shop assistant,
4 _______________________, which in turn prints out a ticket with the
nominated numbers. These numbers are transmitted to a central computer. A
whole sub-culture has developed around selecting numbers. One winner used
the numbers on houses 5 _______________________. Most people use various
combinations of “lucky” or significant numbers. The draw itself is a media
event each Saturday night, 6 _______________________, such as Tina Turner
or Liza Minelli.

A. who dreams of guessing a winning combination

B. which tickets may be bought
C. which he passed on his way to work
D. which is usually presided by a celebrity or pop star
E. who gamble on having a lottery win
F. who then feeds the slip into machine
G. how they will spend their new-found wealth
Success is rarely achieved without a little luck, and in Camilla's case thiscame in the form of a phone call from a journalist friend in New York. All ofthe media in Manhattan, it seemed, was talking about the Garabedian brothersand their unexpected move into publishing. Having made several fortunes innursing homes and waste disposal, they had recently acquired a group ofcompanies that included a minor book publisher, a newspaper, and severalmagazines in varying stages of decrepitude or collapse. The assumption was thatthe Garabedians had taken over the group for its main asset, which was abuilding on Madison Avenue, but there were rumours that one or two of themagazines might be kept alive and, in the words of Garabedian the younger,”goosed.” Financial analysts interpreted this as an indication of significantinjections of their capital. And one of the magazines considered suitable forgoosing was Decorating Quarterly.It was the kind of publication you might expect to find, its pages curledand yellowing, in the salon of a long-deserted Newport mansion.The advertisements, few and far between, were mostly devoted to curtainfabrics and lighting fixtures. Articles discussed the proper care of eighteenth centuryporcelain. The magazine kept its editorial face firmly turned away fromanything remotely contemporary.Garabedian the elder looked at the numbers and was all for killing themagazine. But his brother was married to a young woman who described herselfas a homemaker. She persuaded her husband to consider a rescue operation, andthe demise of Decorating Quarterly was postponed. The word went out:Camilla came over to New York with a detailed proposal and was hired.As her first editorial act, she announced a change in the magazine's name:henceforth, Decorating Quarterly would be known as DQ. New York watchedand waited. In the way of new editors making their mark, Camilla promptlyinvested a considerable amount of Garabedian's money in consolidating herposition. She was seen—appropriately and expensively dressed, of course—atall the right occasions, beaming at all the right people. Well before her firstissue of DQ appeared, she had managed to establish a certain level of celebritystatus nothing more substantial than social stamina.Camilla paid particularly close attention to the decorators, knowing thattheir influence over clients often extended far beyond advice about fabrics andfurniture. And so, on those rare occasions when one of the magazine's chosenvictims showed any reluctance to have their home invaded by photographers,Camilla called the decorator. The decorator twisted his client's arm. The doorswere opened. In this way, Camilla managed to go where no other glossymagazine had gone before. In fact, her very first issue contained a scoop, a doubletriumph- the Park Avenue triplex (an Impressionist in every bathroom)and the Mustique cottage (three servants per guest) belonging to RichardClement of the Wall Street Clements. A normally private bachelor, living asecluded life, he had surrendered to his Italian decorator and Camilla. Theresulting article, twenty pages of honeyed description and superb photography,had been widely noticed and much admired.
A15 A journalist friend phoned Camilla to1) wish her good luck in her career.2) invite her to come over to him in New York.3) tell her about the latest events in the media.4) find out what Camilla was working on.

A16 People thought that the Garabedian brothers had moved into publishing because

they1) knew it was very profitable.2) were interested in the real estate coming with it.3) wanted to establish their own publishing house.4) were seeking for positive publicity.

A17 Saying that a couple of magazines might be “goosed” Garabedian the younger

implied that1) several magazines might be merged into one.2) they would leave some magazines as they used to be.3) they were prepared to invest in some magazines.4) they were looking for sponsors for some magazines.

A18 The Garabedian brothers selected Decorating Quarterly because

1) it was the embodiment of good taste.2) it had a long and glorious history.3) numerous advertisements were placed there.4) a family member found it interesting.

A19 Camilla became a sort of celebrity because she had

1) successfully changed the name of a magazine.2) wasted a lot of Garabedian’s money.3) promoted herself energetically.4) been quick to publish the first issue of a new magazine.

A20 Camilla paid particularly close attention to decorators because they

1) represented the main body of the readers of DQ.2) were an effective means to achieve her goals.3) contributed articles on fabrics and furniture.4) beautified the homes of her prospective sponsors.

A21 The first issue of DQ was a double triumph because

1) it featured both the city and country residences of a rich but solitary man.2) both articles and photographs were of exceptionally good quality.3) it featured both the owner of the place and his Italian decorator.4) it was admired both by the professional community and the public at large.

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9 Different Visions Of What Families Will Look 50 Years From Now

Prayer To Become A Little Family Unit

Family is a moving target. Our ideas about what constitutes a “normal” family have changed a lot since the 1960s, and there’s no reason to believe they’ll stop changing. How weird could things get? Here are nine different ideas about the future of the family.

No rigid definition exists for the “family,” and there’s no sense trying to come up with one. It’s a fluid concept, one that means different things to different people and at different times. Indeed, our sense of the family as a concept has changed over time, it and will continue to do so well into the future.

At the same time, however, families are a microcosm of society. This puts them in a unique and challenging position; they are simultaneously the vanguard of social change, and often the target of moral outrage. For instance, anti-miscegenation laws were only finally removed from all U.S.

states as late as 1967, while same-sex marriage only became legal across the U.S. last month (by comparison, Canada has allowed same-sex marriage since 2005).

What’s more, we no longer talk about “broken homes,” nor do we speak disparagingly about “test tube babies” (which we refer to today as in vitro fertilization).

Looking ahead to the future, families will continue to change and adapt according to cultural, socioeconomic and technological factors. Here’s what to expect.

(1) Multiple Family Households

Statistics show that multi-generational families are on the rise, mostly because housing and other things are getting so expensive. wise, two or more family groups may wind up deciding to live together in a single home, to save money. (Keep in mind that families and households are two distinct things.)

Liberty Village in Toronto — not the most affordable place to live (credit: Carlos Pacheco CC BY-SA 2.0)

And unrelated families sharing a home makes sense for all kind of reasons—and not just soaring rents. Sure, housing costs in many large urban areas are becoming increasingly untenable, and families are finding it difficult to live on their own.

But also, as the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child; multiple families in a single household can share caring duties—a benefit to single parents or those who have to do shift work.

It’s also worth pointing out that the partners in these families could remain exclusive to each other, or engage in polyamorous relationships.

There will be challenges, of course, to living in a quasi-communal multi-family household, such as getting along, respecting each other’s property, excessive noise, sharing common resources, conflicting parenting styles, and so on.

(2) Extreme Multi-generational Families

The onset of radical life extension is set to have a profound effect on family structure and intra-family dynamics.

Eventually, humans will start to live well into their hundreds, and they’ll be as vibrant and healthy as when they were half their age or even younger.

Some “elderly” people may even choose to have offspring during their later years, which should result in some interesting and novel scenarios.

The way of the future? Six generations of the same family in one photograph (credit: CBC)

Even just 50 years from now, children could have a chance to know their great-great grandparents. Further in the future, humans could have brothers or sisters who are centuries older or younger. It’s hard to imagine what family relations will be when this happens, and especially how inheritances will be handled—and just imagine what family gatherings will be over the holidays.

(3) Gender Fluidity in the Family

We are progressively moving towards a post-gendered society—and accordingly, the role of the family as a means to “uphold” traditional gender roles is gradually starting to dissipate.

As a social construct, gender is often reinforced by socialization and modeling within the family environment—but that could be changing, fast. As gender fluidity becomes more common, you could see families become mechanisms to support gender exploration and transition, rather than providing resistance.

(4) Clone Families

Assuming that human cloning can eventually be made safe and reliable, the public’s misgivings about this potential reproductive practice will probably fade. And this could lead to families in which offspring are the clones of a parental donor, or some other donor such as a grandparent, a friend—or a celebrity.

In the future, parents could raise either one or more clones of themselves, including clones derived from each partner. Depending on the scenario, siblings could be genetic duplicates of each other or their parent or both. Over time, clones could become multi-generational, so-called “clonal lines.”

For the members of these families, it’ll be the differences in their behavior that will be more interesting and endearing than the similarities. But as Orphan Black so carefully points out — our genes aren’t everything.

(5) Robotic and Artificially Intelligent Caregivers

Films Spike Jonze’s Her demonstrate the potential for intimate relationships between humans and artificial intelligence. But there’s no reason to believe that children — from infanthood through to adolescence — won’t form similar bonds with machines, especially if these systems are specifically programmed for that purpose.

Future children will interact with their surrogate AI parents any number of ways. Using computers, hand-held devices, or some futuristic interface, they’ll be supervised, taught how to read and do math, play games, and be entertained.

A tidy summary of the day’s events will be sent to the parents, along with a progress report. The level of engagement is sure to be so intimate and intense that the child (and even the parents) will consider the AI to be part of the family.

Eventually, human caregivers could be replaced outright by machines, but it’ll be some time yet before we see robot nannies in our households.

(6) Space Colonist Families

By mid-century, we should have a colonial presence on Mars, and possibly the Moon. These habitats will ly be small and rudimentary, but it’s not unreasonable to assume that some colonists will want to bring their families along, or start new ones. Eventually, we’ll start to see the first generation of humans who have never been to Earth.

Eventually, humans will want to embark on long-term missions to the stars. Given the extreme distances involved, they’ll have to develop so-called generation ships.

These interstellar arks will travel below the speed of light, and because it could take centuries or even millennia for these travelers to reach their destination, the original occupants will ly age and die (advances in radical life extension notwithstanding), leaving their offspring to continue the mission. Should such a scenario transpire, the human occupants would ly continue to evolve, both biologically and culturally.

(7) Post-Cryonic Families

Over a dozen families have signed up at Alcor Life Extension Foundation, the world’s leading cryonics facility. We have no idea if people frozen in vats of liquid nitrogen will ever be brought back to life, but the possibility raises some interesting scenarios.

Should their dreams of immortality come true, these “reanimated” families would literally be reunited after death. Given that some family members will have been separated by death for many years, their reunions will be particularly emotional and profound.

But because Alcor will ly exercise a last-in, first-out policy (LIFO) when choosing who to re-animate, some family members may have to wait a while before all family members are pulled cold storage.

Once reunited, however, these post-cryonic families will work together as they integrate into their futuristic new society.

(8) Mind-linked Families

Advances in neuroscience could irrevocably change the family unit as we know it today.


Imagine a family connected via mind-to-mind communication. It would be Wachowski’s Sense8 TV series in which the characters are mentally and emotionally connected, capable of communicating, sensing, and using each other’s knowledge, skills, and language.

Mind-melded families would be greater than the sum of its parts. Of course, an assembly of interconnected minds need not be limited to just family members; friends and colleagues could join in as well, leading to highly interconnected and intimate communities that would exhibit very hive- behavior.

This could very well represent the future family.

A recent breakthrough by researchers at the Center for Neuroengineering at Duke University shows this future may be close than we think.

In their experiment, the researchers connected the brains of monkeys with electrodes, allowing them to coordinate their thoughts to carry out basic tasks, pattern recognition and moving a robotic limb.

Remarkably, similar work has even been done in humans (here and here), though less invasively.

(9) Virtual Families

Imagine a mind-uploaded family, or a family comprised of emulated brains (called ems) that reside and interact within a powerful supercomputer. These virtual beings would live as avatars within elaborate simulated environments.

But because the constraints of the analog world won’t apply in cyberspace (whether these constraints be biological or physical), virtual families may not have the same needs or motivations for staying together as a single, related unit.

(Credit: Second Life/HyacintheLuynes CC BY-SA 3.0)

Indeed, in a world comprised of 1’s and 0’s, things could start to get really weird. Depending on the resources available, these digital families could consist of duplicates that run into the hundreds or thousands of copied individuals.

Many of these ems could go on to form new and independent family units, particularly if their source code starts to deviate and drift. What’s more, new virtual minds born as babies may become scarce as well-established and successful ems dominate.

The concept of the family, at least we know it, could very well come to an end.

Contact the author at and @dvorsky. Top image Orphan Black

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