Teaching Our Kids To Make Time For Prayer

There are a great many elements involved in authentic prayer and mentoring a child or godchild through it can be difficult to know where to start.

As a family we have set moments for prayer. We pray to start our day (usually right before homeschool work begins), pray before meals, and pray before going to bed. We also pray after lunch; this ranges between the Rosary, Midday Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours, Angelus, Litany of Saints, etc.

Our kids know what to expect. Our prayer rhythm as a family unit is a normative part of their life. And when we pray together there is a comfort in holding each other accountable. Even if I forget because of some issue that comes up, my children will remind me. Some of these habits may be easy for them to continue when they leave their home but I have always known that they needed to be more comfortable in praying by themselves and sticking to their prayer commitments. Children, just like their parents and godparents, need daily moments to rest in the sanctuary of God’s heart.

Each of our kids’ rooms have a crucifix and a few religious images/statues. They also have a Bible, a couple devotionals, and a collection of prayer cards. While I occasionally offer them tips and reminders, it is up to them to (1) remain faithful to their time of solo prayer and (2) to determine how to spend their time in prayer.

Sometimes they say a quick prayer from a prayer card. Sometimes they pray with a devotional that has a reading, reflection, and short prayer. Sometimes they offer a spontaneous prayer and an Our Father (Lord’s Prayer). Sometimes they read a bible passage for the day and offer their own prayer as a response.

By praying as a family we show the place that prayer has in our life. We express that value to our children. Praying together also offers us a chance to walk with them in their life of prayer. My wife and I have our own times of prayer. From here we can invite our children to develop their own prayer routines.

“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” -Matthew 6:6

Published by Brandon Harvey

Brandon Harvey is married and blessed with four children. He received a B.A. in Theology from Briar Cliff University and a M.A. in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. He has taught theology and served as a catechetical leader for 12+ years. He currently teaches theology for undergraduate and graduate students, and is the leader of his local Communio Circle. He is in the process of finishing a doctorate.

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