The best way to begin family prayer is to assemble the whole family. If only for a few minutes bring everyone together. At the heart of family prayer is scripture. The children’s rosary has been giving out read aloud Children’s Bibles . These are wonderful as they are compiled in a way that makes reading the stories easy and relatively brief. The Bible we use also has two questions at the end of each story which allow for the children to become more interactive. Our family reads 2 stories per night.
The next relatively essential part of night prayer is prayers of petition by each person. We have by example shown our children that these prayers are not meant for ourselves but other people or family members. Despite what has gone on during the day, there is a healing of the family that occurs when you hear your children or spouse pray for you. So often I will lose my temper with the children during the day but yet at night they pray for me. Hearing them pray for me after I have disciplined them seems to heal any misunderstandings or disagreements we may have. No matter what has happened they still care about us and we care about them. The next piece to night prayer may include an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be. This is not essential but merely a suggestion. When I began adding prayers to our family night prayer, I began with prayers that they would need to learn for the rosary. This seemed to work out well. Later after months of night prayer it became much easier to teach them the rosary when they already knew most of the prayers.
One thing I have learned from being in the school of Our Blessed Mother is that she always takes things slowly. She does not expect us to change our lives over night. Begin small but do it faithfully. If I may humbly suggest a starting point a family could:
- Read 1 or 2 Bible stories
- Say 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Glory Be together
- Each person individually pray aloud for their petitions
Nice additions to family prayer include having a crucifix present during prayer. Many graces are available to families who pray at the foot of the Cross. Also place your Bible in a visible place in your home.
Additional prayers that we say during our night prayer include:
- Children’s Prayer to Mary
- Fatima prayer
- Vocation prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
|Children's Prayer to Mary|
Dear Mother of Jesus,
look down upon me
As I say my prayers slowly
at my mother's knee.
I love thee, O Lady
and please willest thou bring
All little children
To Jesus our King. Amen
Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell and lead all souls into heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy. Amen.
Loving God we pray that more young people will be touched by your grace and say yes to your invitation to follow Jesus by becoming priests, brothers, and sisters. We ask this through Christ our Lord .Amen
Advice about prayer from Our beloved Saints:
What prayer could be more true before God the Father than that which the Son, who is Truth, uttered with His own lips? (Saint John Chrysostom)
"Have confidence in prayer. It is the unfailing power which God has given us. By means of it you will obtain the salvation of the dear souls whom God has given you and all your loved ones." Ask and you shall receive," Our Lord said. Be yourself with the good Lord." (Saint Peter Julian Eymard)
My daughter...why do you not tell me about everything that concerns you, even the smallest details? Tell Me about everything, and know that this will give Me great joy. I answered, But You know about everything, Lord." And Jesus replied to me, "Yes I do know; but you should not excuse yourself with the fact that I know, but with childlike simplicity talk to Me about everything, for my ears and heart are inclined towards you, and your words are dear to Me. (St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in my Soul)
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