“Prayer is a surge of the heart, it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.” – St. Therese of Lisieux
“Every human person instinctively knows how to reach out,” explains The Inner Life spiritual director Fr. Ramil Fajardo, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago. “And for us who have the Faith, it’s reaching out to God.”
The family is where our prayer life begins. Mothers and fathers are the first teachers of the Faith. For this reason, it’s so vitally important that families strive to grow together in prayer and help one another on the path toward a deeper relationship with Christ.
For families who haven’t begun to teach their kids how to pray or for parents of young children who don’t know where to start, begin with the Sign of the Cross. “It begins our day, ends our day, our meals, everything that we do—it always begins in Christ. And that is so fundamental, so basic.”
Prayer looks completely different for different people, different moments and situations. There’s such a wealth of prayer to uncover together as a family, beginning with basic Catholic prayers like the Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary, meal prayers, and Guardian Angel Prayer. Then you might dive into devotions like the Holy Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet, or maybe you’d like to pray novenas together for a special intention.
Beyond wrote prayer, families can journey together into silent prayer, meditation, and contemplation. “St. John Vianney was asked, ‘Well you sit in church for so long, what do you talk to God about?’ And the great saint’s response was, ‘I look at him and he looks at me,’” remarked Fr. Fajardo.
Praying alone is one thing, but praying with others can be uncomfortable at first. It’s something that requires one to be open and vulnerable, and who better to practice with than your spouse and children? There’s no right or wrong to pray—only the need to begin and be consistent.
For parents, it’s important to nurture your own prayer lives so that you can model a life of prayer for your family and share your experiences with your children. “Our kids need to know how important God is in our life and that we are prayers,” said Chuck Neff, host of The Inner Life®.
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