Why we pray together
Before my husband and I got married we talked a lot about what we wanted our life to be like when we got married. Our Catholic faith was one important part of our lives. (We actually met at church!) We prayed together as a couple. We went to Mass together. We knew we would raise our children in our faith.
One way we wanted to stay connected as a family and grow in our faith together was to pray together. We began the habit of praying together as a family every evening. We were inspired by my parents and how we prayed together as a family every evening.
When we pray together
We have a set time frame for family prayer. This has been helpful to us for a few reasons. In having a set time we have created a habit so we remember to pray together. Our kids know when we pray together each day. If it is time to pray and my husband or I have not called everyone together, our kids sometimes start rounding everyone up, calling out, “It’s prayer time!” Having a set time also signals the end of the day and the beginning of getting ready for bed for our youngest children.
How we pray together
Our evening prayers are simple.
We all gather together in the same room.
We begin with the Sign of the Cross.
Then, we take turns offering our personal intentions to God. Each of our kids prays, then me, and then my husband.
After offering our personal intentions, we pray together the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be.
Next, we pause for a few moments of silence to each examine our conscience, and then pray the Act of Contrition together.
We conclude with the Sign of the Cross.
I failed to add the fidgeting, the making of faces at other siblings, the bumping into each other, etc. that also goes on. But, life in a family is never dull, even during prayer time! We remind our kids to settle down and stay focused during our prayer time, but sometimes the fidgeting is worse than at other times.
We persevere, though, knowing that the benefits of our family prayer time are important and knowing that as our kids get older they will be a little less busy during prayer time.
Benefits of praying together
Our family prayer time helps in fostering the faith of each of us. Our children will as questions now and again about things they do not understand. This gives us the opportunity to address what is most on their minds. It also allows our other children to comment on their perspectives and learn as well. If one of our children ask a question and we don’t know the answer, we’ll look it up or ask our priest.
Our family prayer also helps us to know each other better. We learn what is important to each one of us by what prayers we offer.
We share our faith with others. If one of our kids has a friend over, we invite him or her to pray with us. By doing so, we learn from each other. Their friends will often tell us how their family prays together. It also reminds us that we are all one family in Christ.
Family prayer time has been a great addition to our family life. It is an important time of day for us to be together and pray together as a family. Having a set time to pray is helpful; doing so keeps family prayer as an important part of our day. Following a set format each time we pray has also worked well for us.
If you don’t already have daily family prayer time together, give it a try. It doesn’t matter how little you kids are, or even if you do not have children yet. Establishing the routine of daily family prayer is a blessing. It is never too early or too late to start!