Prayer is at the heart of our lives as a Christian families but for many of us, we are unsure of how to pray with our children. But prayer is as simple as talking to a friend because prayer is all about closeness and friendship with God. When we pray to God, we are deepening our relationship with Him and when we pray together as a family, we strengthen our family relationships too.
There are countless ways to pray as a family. If you aren’t sure how to pray, here are some engaging ways to introduce your children to the mystery, joy, and peace that prayer can bring.
Pray Before Meals: Grace
Giving thanks before meals is a great place to start with family prayer. “Thank you, God, for this food and for those who grew and cooked it. In Jesus name, Amen.”
This simple prayer or another like it, helps our children to develop gratitude for, and recognition of, the blessing to be able to sit and enjoy a meal as a family.
Pray With Music: Make Some Noise
Music has a way of getting us involved in prayer in body, mind and soul. Music is also a great way to pray when you feel like you don't have the words. Our diocesan worship band, 'Wildfire' has produced beautiful music that your family will find is great inspiration for prayer.
Click here to be inspired.
Pray While Walking: The Neighbourhood Prayer
This idea is great for active children. Take a family walk around the neighbourhood after dinner and encourage everyone to pray for neighbours, creation, the world....whatever they are inspired to pray about.
Pray In Silence: Christian Meditation
Christian Meditation is taught in our Catholic schools and is a simple way to practice stillness and silence and open our hearts to God. Everyone sits comfortably, with their eyes gently closed. Pray the word "Maranatha" silently and repeatedly. Maranatha means 'Come Lord' and is a simple invitation to God to enter our hearts. Allow the meditation to last 3-5 minutes depending upon the age of your children.
Pray Through Art: Colour Prayer
Provide your children with paper and coloured markers, crayons, or even stick on decorations and decals. Ask your child to start by writing the name they use for God eg. Loving Father, Creator, Jesus, My Friend. Encourage them to write and draw around this name all the people and issues they want to pray about. Using reflective music for this prayer is a great focusing tool.
Pray Before Bed: Popcorn Prayers
Gather as a family and invite one person to say a short prayer about anything they feel moved to pray about. At the end of the prayer, that person names another person in the family whose turn it is to ‘pop’ up to share another spontaneous prayer. This continues until everyone has prayed.
Pray with Movement: Body Prayer
We don’t just have to use only our minds to pray, we can use our bodies too. Lead your children through this movement prayer.
Begin by kneeling down and sitting so bottom is on feet and bend over so arms are stretched out over your head and touching the ground. Your head will be near knees. Use hands to help you push yourself up to standing. Move your arms from beside your body all the way out and then bring your hands to meet over your head.
Say: God, you are above. (Touch your toes). God you are below. God you are inside (Bring your hands toward heart) and all around (big arm circles). I worship you (bow from the waist), and give my life to you (move your hands from the front of your body out and up). And I love you (hands to heart) with all that I am (extend arms out to the side and gently sway your torso). (3 deep breaths) Amen
Click here for a downloadable version of these ideas.