Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~ GK Chesterton

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Family Prayer

8 Kids and a Business is a blog that I follow from time to time.  Today's post is something close to my heart:

The Family That Prays The Rosary Together

I link to it as a preview of things to come on this blog. I have been writing about children and prayer on and off for years, but haven't shared much anything with others.  The copious notes in my journal will find their way online!

The above-linked article is the story of one family's decision to make it a priority to say the rosary as a family.  Every night. An excerpt:

"It’s important that the children understand the significance of praying the rosary together. By prioritizing our evenings, we think the message is getting through. They have stopped trying to make the excuse that they have too much homework and while we still have our struggles, they gather in the living room willingly. It’s difficult to coordinate family rosary time on the weekends but we encourage the kids to pray on their own."

Certainly, praying the rosary opens oneself to receiving God's graces. It is good for families to choose some sort of devotion to practice together.  Why? Because it provides an example to children about that all-important "face time" with God. (You don't even need an iPhone for that face time.) You cannot get to know God if you do not spend time with Him.

We need to teach children how to pray.  Yes, we bring them to Mass on Sunday.  Moreover, we lead by example in acting like a Christian the rest of the week.  But we make Christian life real by giving them the blueprint for building a personal relationship with God: prayer.

Does that sound like a bus stop evangelist?  "Do you have a personal relationship with Christ?"  I don't mean to sound cheesy.

Faith without works is dead, we read in James.  And St. Paul tells us that works without love are meaningless.  But the world is filled with people doing good works without a conscious thoughts of God.  What do we say to our children about that?  We tell them that they were created for more than merely being good citizens of their community.  We were created to know God on an intimate level, through faith, as a precursor to our good works.  Hopefully, this is what we are striving for ourselves!

We want our children to desire to make the world a better place because the world was made by God and belongs to Him.  The desire to contribute to the building of the Kingdom must spring from knowing God and self on an intimate level.  For most of us, I'm not sure that can come from one hour at Mass on Sunday, with a bit of being helpful to others during the week.  It needs to come from more intentional living: it needs to come from prayer.

So.  Family prayer time.  Personal prayer time; for them, for us.  It is essential to carve this into our daily lives.

I fall far short of my goals, where my children are concerned.  But, I'm still here, so there's still time!


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