Some suggestions for praying as a family!
God created family before he created the Church!
If we are able to cultivate and love prayer as a family we can rekindle the passion for prayer in our Church!
Pray as a couple! Choose a realistic goal for coming together before God – once a year, a month, a week, a day, it’s up to you!
Pray with your children from a young age so that they can enjoy this contact with God throughout their lives.
Pray with your children from a young age (even as babies)
You can find prayer books with pictures adapted to the age of your child so that they can participate in family prayers from a young age and feel a part of these moments.
The aim is to make our children want to pray, it should be an enjoyable time for them. It allows them to discover the spiritual world tangibly in everyday life.
If possible, we should pray with our children before they go to school and/or before they go to sleep. Ask them what prayer subjects they have on their hearts (worries, needs, joys,etc…).
Before going on a trip, pray for protection when travelling with them. This I learned from a family when I worked with Operation Mobilisation. When the family was in the car, seatbelts on: the father would never start the engine without beforehand pausing for a word of prayer and request protection. It’s important to inculcate good habits like this: living our daily lives accompanied by God through our contact with him.
We can take advantage of prayers before meals to include concrete subjects for the children: the neighbours, postman, school teachers etc. without it becoming too long. The child can take their turn in this pre-meal prayer.
It’s also possible to pray for special moments: for birthdays, exams (before and after), turning points in their lives as they grow up (choice of studies, friends, etc.).
We need to be available to respond to our children’s questions about prayer: “Does God always answer?”, “How can God listen to and respond to all the prayers throughout the world?”, “If I ask for sunshine tomorrow and my sister asks for rain, who will God answer?”, etc.
Why not with the help of your children, make a plan for the week and pray for different concerns and put it on your fridge or near the dining table ?
Tuesday: A missionary
Wednesday: School friends or pals
Thursday: Sunday school teachers
Saturday: School teachers
Sunday: That God will protect us from evil
We can also use visual aids to note the requests and responses to prayer (photos, maps, etc.) When our children are teenagers, for example, we can encourage them to write their personal prayers in a notebook.
Things to avoid:
- Thinking that you need to wait till your child is old enough to understand prayer.
- Having long, tedious prayers with language that is too complicated for your child to understand.
- Only having the adults in the family pray.
- Forcing children to pray if they don’t want to do so.