Praying With The Family
When you picture a family at prayer, you usually picture a family gathered around a table, praying over their meal. In reality, life can be so hectic that it’s even a miracle for a family to spend time together doing anything. A quote attributed to St. Francis de Sales says: “Every one of us needs half an hour of prayer a day, except when we are busy-then we need an hour.” In spite of the busy- ness that our lives can have, I challenge all of you to try and pray with your family beyond just praying at meals.
“How?” you may ask. Start with the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet. As a cradle Catholic, I learned how to pray the Rosary from a very young age from both my parents and my Catholic school teachers. Depending on how old your kids are, start with just a decade a day and work your way up to a full Rosary. I pray the Rosary with my family every night and during long car trips. Most kids get off school around 2-3PM. If you pick up your kids from school, you can pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet on the way home. It’s an easy, short prayer to do.
It also helps to teach your kids about the importance of prayer in general. Matthew 6:7 says “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.” If your kids wonder how they should pray, tell them to offer their prayers up for something going on in their lives or for someone in their class or for one of their teachers. It’s a great way to introduce the idea of intercessory prayer.
One thing I used to do when I was a catechist was bring the kids to Adoration for Benediction. The kids would spend about five to ten minutes in silent prayer. Then the priest or deacon would come in and we would all sing and pray the Benediction Rite. I often see a few mothers bring their kids to Adoration. It may sound crazy, especially if your kids are rowdy and hyper, but if they’re anything like me, the presence of God will eventually quiet them. Start slow with just fifteen minutes once a week and see how being in Adoration will change them.
The last type of prayer I think families can do together is meditate on Scripture. I remember that back when I was a kid, my mom gifted me with my first illustrated Bible. It was a cool way for me to learn Bible stories. If your kids are young enough for bedtime stories, try reading them something from the Bible. A great illustration of this can be seen in The Nativity Story, when Mary watches one of her neighbors tell the story of Elijah searching for God to a group of kids. Start with the story of God’s Creation or Noah’s Ark. If you want something funny, tell them the story of Elisha and the Bears. It’s a great way to teach kids not to make fun of their elders!
No matter how busy we think we are, we always have time to pray. We can make the most of our prayer time by praying with our families. I hope these tips will help you with your prayer life!
Reflect:How often do you pray with your family? What was your prayer life like when you were a kid? Which of these types of prayers appeals to you the most? Which one do you think is the most challenging?
Act:Try out one of the types of prayer with your family.