The hectic pace of family life can often mean that prayer gets lost in the shuffle. Here are a few practical tips to consider as you begin exploring different ways of praying as a family.
Find a regular time to pray, and make it a habit
Your family prayer time might be daily, or once a week. Psychologists say that it can take months of persistence to develop a habit. You can help the process along by hooking family prayer to another family habit. Do your younger children already have a bedtime routine? Kick it off by sitting down together for prayer. Does your family eat meals together? Work in a short time of prayer at the beginning and end of the meal. The time before Sunday Mass, driving to school, watching TV, brushing teeth, any of these activities might be a trigger for shared prayer.
Until family prayer time is a habit, you may need to start small. If you can't do a ten-minute prayer service, start with five; if you can't do five minutes, start with sixty seconds, or even a ten-second blessing on the way out the door in the morning.
Find a style of prayer that fits your family now
Try out different prayer practices until you find one that works for your family at this time in your children's faith development.
Let Children Lead
Giving children choices, input, and leadership opportunities is a great way to get them engaged, and also prepares them to pray on their own initiative.
Stick with it to establish new expectations
Children are often resistant to new routines or changes in expectations. Stick with it through the initial resistance. As prayer becomes a habit and regular expectation, and as you find the prayer practices that best fit your family, you will begin seeing the fruits of your efforts.
Explain why you're praying
St. Therese of Lisieux says that, "For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love." Prayer is a lifting up of our minds and hearts to God. It is an act of love. It is sometimes called conversation with God, or a conversation of love. A heart-to-heart talk with of who is Love and loves us. We pray, first, to adore God, expressing to Him our love and loyalty; second, to thank Him for His favors; third, to obtain from Him the pardon of our sins and the remission of their punishment; fourth, to ask for graces and blessings for ourselves and others.
Sometimes you will think, "we didn't actually pray; we just went through the motions." However, God does not want you feel that you prayed, He wants you to know that you prayed. God does not want you to feel that He exists, he wants you to know that He exists.
Different Prayers to consider praying:
Arise O Lord, that your enemies may be scattered and those who hate you may flee before you. In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen
Arise O Mary, Mother of God, that your enemies may be scattered and those who hate you may flee before you. In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen
Arise O St. Michael, that your enemies may be scattered and those who hate you may flee before you. In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen
Arise all Angels, my Guardian angel, and all saints in heaven, that your enemies may be scattered and those who hate you may flee before you. In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day, for all the intentions of the Sacred Heart, in union with the holy Catholic Church throughout the world and the communion of saints. Amen.
The Angelus, a reminder of the Incarnation, is prayed at 6:00am, Noon & 6:00pm
L. The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary:
A. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
L. Behold the handmaid of the Lord: A. Be it done unto me according to Thy word. Hail Mary...
L. And the Word was made Flesh: A. And dwelt among us. Hail Mary...
A. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God,
L. that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
L. Let us pray:
A. Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Here are other simple prayers: https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/devotions/prayers-69
Remember you can always compose your own prayer from your heart. “Lord please be with us this day” is also a beautiful prayer.
Resources from: Franciscan Media; EWTN; Loyola Press, 77 Ways to pray with your kids, by Jerry Windley-Daovst; St.
Joseph Baltimore Catechism