“The family that prays together stays together.”
This famous slogan was coined in 1947 by writer Al Scalpone, and has been frequently referenced ever since. The phrase pinpoints the true power of prayer, and the importance of making family prayer a consistent practice in our lives.
As Christian disciples, we are striving to follow Jesus — to grow in our love of Him and to serve Him through the use of our time, talent and treasure. If we desire to follow in His footsteps, we must first begin by getting to know Him. Spending time with the Lord in prayer forms a foundation on which we can build our lives as Christian disciples, much in the same way that spending time with a girlfriend or boyfriend forms the foundation of a strong relationship.
The Christian family is the first place where children learn to pray. The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls the family unit “Ecclesia domestica,” or “the Domestic Church” (1656). Thus, parents have a responsibility to set an example by taking time for personal prayer every day, and making family prayer a regular practice. This not only sets an example for the children, but also provides them with a faith-filled foundation and brings them closer to the Lord — forming them as grateful stewards of their time.
There are many ways in which a family can pray together. One of the most important times for prayer is before meals, where we thank God for His blessings, and for the food on our family table. Families may also share in the formal prayers of the Church, or perhaps pray a Rosary together every night. We can also thank the Lord aloud, asking Him to answer our prayers and offering Him our daily petitions. One often-suggested method of family prayer is ACTS, where we offer Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving and Supplication. Families may also go to their church and kneel together before the Blessed Sacrament, offering prayers in Christ’s Presence.
These are just several of the many opportunities for families to pray together. Of course, prayer will be influenced by each family’s dynamics and personalities. But no matter how we pray, it is important that we make the time to do so. This will deepen the family’s relationship with the Lord, our commitment as His disciples will be stronger, and we may continually renew and foster our families’ bonds.
PRAYER OF PARENTS:
God, our Father, I thank You for the gift of
my children and for the privilege and responsibility
of being a parent, for this is my way of holiness.
May I regard each of my children as a sacred pledge
of Your love and a beautiful sign of Your confidence in me.
Help me to pass on to my children our greatest treasures —
faith in Your truths, hope in Your goodness,
love in Your name for all.
I entrust my children to Your loving care.
Banish from our home any bitterness or lack of forgiveness.
Let us have time, deep concern, and a sense of
sacrifice for one another. Teach us never to be ashamed
that we are, in name and in fact, a Catholic family
striving to live in the way of Jesus,
Who is head of our home.
Give us Your Holy Spirit to unite us throughout
this life and let the circle of our family be
unbroken in the Kingdom of Your Son Jesus Christ,
our Lord. Amen.