How do we pray as a family? (Part 2)
In my family’s prayer equivalent of the famous “Couch-to-5K” running programs, we have trained by slowing adding and working on different prayer habits. Over the past ten years, we have integrated several habits as a family. Last week I mentioned five of those habits; here are four more that we have found helpful:
Pray the rosary as a family
In the car, while you are on the way to church. You may consider changing parishes so that you live far enough away to say the whole rosary, OR just pray two or three decades and finish “on your honor” as you kneel in the pew (probably the better option).
Incorporate daily blessings into your family life
Either at bedtime or at the beginning of the day. A simple Sign of the Cross on your child’s forehead has great power, and reminds them to Whom they belong. If they are older and resist, you can always wait until they’re sleeping!
Read the daily Gospel
At a meal when all are usually present (breakfast for our family). My family reads it once, and listens for a word to stick out. Our four-year-old has been doing this since she started to speak, and she would always say that her word was “Jesus” (even if His name wasn’t there)! Great was the day when she suddenly chose, “Shake the dust from their feet.” She kept repeating it for a week, and her ears perk up any time she hears that Gospel now.
Go to daily mass once a week
Or even once a month. Funerals are also an important time that families can pray together. Our girls go with us to funerals, and commonly remember to pray for the deceased at mealtime for months afterward.
So that’s about one habit per year. Each one of these practices has been a hard-won process, and there has been quite a bit of backsliding, but the development is totally worth the effort. I’m not sure how much closer I am to that daily rosary (or the wood burning stove, for that matter), but I can look back over the “training process” with gratitude and hope for the years to come!
(Mandie DeVries, Director of Faith Formation, All Saints Church)