“Only by praying together with their children can a mother and father — exercising their royal priesthood — penetrate the innermost depths of their children’s hearts,” said Pope John Paul II. And the future will never be able to erase the impact of shared family prayer. We share several ideas on how to pray every day and throughout the year with your spouse and children in Chapter 11 of The Four Keys to Everlasting Love: How Your Catholic Marriage Can Bring You Joy for a Lifetime. Please get your copy, read along, and join in the discussion with the 4 Keys Online Book Club on Facebook. The last day of the Facebook discussion will be November 26. FOR A PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION OF THE WORKSHEET, CLICK HERE.
Turning Our Homes into Places of Prayer:
The Eternal Consequences of Everyday Family Life
In the day-to-day grind of life, it can be easy to forget that what we do now has consequences for eternity. This is especially true in family life, where we live out our vocation to sacramental marriage and, God willing, as parents to the next generation. Our families are “domestic churches,” where we share God’s divine love with each other and strengthen each other’s faith. A rich family prayer life can bring great peace to our homes.
As Manny and Karee say in Chapter 11 of The Four Keys, “When family members spend time together nurturing their friendship with God, they form a nearly unbreakable bond. In becoming closer to God, they become closer to each other. Evenings become filled with prayer instead of electronic entertainment, and Sundays become filled with praising God instead of hopping in separate minivans to drive different kids in different directions to various extracurricular activities.”
In addition to explaining how spouses can deepen their prayer lives as individuals and as a couple, Chapter Eleven also shares easy prayer habits for families, including:
- morning prayer (even in the car on the way to work or school!)
- bedtime prayers (more than just rote recitation)
- reading Bible stories (for adults, it’s called lectio divina)
- grace before meals (a wonderful way to incorporate multiple faith traditions)
You can use the following conversation starters to get a discussion going between yourselves or in a small group. If it helps, think it over on your own time, take it to prayer, and jot down your answers before talking about them.
1. Do you have a favorite prayer? What is it, and what makes it your favorite?
2. Do you feel comfortable speaking to God in front of each other? Why or why not?
3. What prayers would you most like your children to learn?
4. Does your parish church appeal to you? Do other parishes in your area appeal to you more?