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Meredith HenningSweetness and Light in the Catholic Home
by Meredith Henning

 

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http://happyheartsmom.typepad.com/

 

 

Daily Prayer with Children

Daily prayer and prayer time with our children is one of the main foundations of the Domestic Church.  Without a family connection to prayer, it's members can seem disjointed and out of step.  It's like getting up on the wrong side of the bed.  As the saying goes, "The family that prays together stays together."  This couldn't be more appropriate for Catholics and peoples of ALL faiths alike in our troubled and fallen world.

Establishing a tradition and rhythm of daily prayer with our children does not happen overnight, it is a gradual adding in of thoughtful and simple prayers that the children can begin learning from a very early age.  If you can fold prayer time into your days like kneading dough into bread, it will become as natural as eating!

Holy_famI would like to share what our family does for daily prayer and what has become a very nice tradition of sharing, praying and devotions at our house.

Because we are a Catholic home schooling family, we begin our gathering time or table time together after the breakfast dishes have been cleared away and morning chores have been completed. I really try to start no later than 9:00am with our prayer time, usually earlier in the late Autumn and Winter with the time change. We gather rosaries, a Saint's book, and the bible and light a candle.

The tradition that we have established for devotional prayers follow a "theme" for each day.  I created some simple 9 x 12 inch poster board prayer cards to display each day with the Theme and Prayer written in large print.  They are beautiful to look at as the children helped me to decorate them with a few Holy images and symbols, but they can be simple index cards as well.  This has been very helpful for the dear children to remember what our specific focus is for the day and definitely helps ME stay centered, especially with a wiggly two year old on my lap. 

After we make the sign of the cross we pray this very simple morning offering:

"Dear Jesus, we offer you this day, our works, our joys, our sorrows and our play, please help me to be good today Jesus, I love you, Amen."

Then we follow with the daily Theme:

Monday:  The Angels

We Sing the Angel of God prayer, pray to St. Michael the Archangel, and ask for special protection and care for each other’s Guardian Angels and all those of our extended family members collectively. 

After we have a short bible reading, Saint of the day or a Saint that one child has chosen (rotate through each able child) and then pray a decade of the Rosary, also a mystery of one child's choosing.

We close by asking all the Holy Angels & Saints to pray for us! (Monday)

We blow out the candle, clear the table and begin our learning day!

(The example in bold is what we do each day following the Theme Prayer and changes only for inclusion of prayers for either Advent or Lent, Marian or Other High Feast)

Tuesday:   The Apostles

"Dear Lord, help me to be like your Apostles and Saints, always doing your will and spreading the good news.  Help me to practice the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity, Amen." 

Then we recite the Apostles names, and ask them to pray for us.  Finish with... a short bible reading, Saint of the day or one child's Saint choice and then pray a decade of the Rosary, also a mystery of one child's choosing....

Wednesday:    St. Joseph   

"St. Joseph, model of every virtue, pray for us.  Patron of Fathers, Patron of Families, Patron of the Church, Pray for us."  "Protector of the Holy Family, protect us in all dangers.  Amen." 

Finish with... a short bible reading, Saint of the day or one child's Saint choice and then pray a decade of the Rosary, also a mystery of one child's choosing....

Thursday:    The Eucharist

We make a Spiritual Communion as follows:   Pray 3 Our Fathers, Hail Mary's, and Glory Be's, then;

"I wish Lord, to receive you with the purity, humility, and devotion with which your most Holy Mother received you, with the spirit and fervor of the Saints."  and "Lord, as I make this spiritual communion today, I believe that you are truly present in the Eucharist, Amen."

Finish with... a short bible reading, Saint of the day or one child's Saint choice and then pray a decade of the Rosary, also a mystery of one child's choosing....

Friday:   Jesus’ Passion 

"Lord, I offer my sacrifice to you today and ask for your mercy for all my offenses, Amen."

We talk about the ACTS of prayer, A-Adoration, C-Contrition, T-Thanksgiving, S-Supplication, and then we pray,

"Lord, by your cross and resurrection you have set us free, you are the Savior of the world, Amen." 

Finish with... a short bible reading, Saint of the day or one child's Saint choice and then pray a decade of the Rosary, also a mystery of one child's choosing....and any personal intentions including the aforementioned sacrifice.

Saturday:  Our Blessed Mother 

Mass if possible and we try and say the Memorare at breakfast, finish with the Fatima prayer,

"Oh My Jesus, forgive us our sins, Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee."

Sunday:  Our weekly Easter
Treated as an extra special day with Mass, and family Sunday activities, sometimes a hike or drive, and dinner which varies weekly with the liturgical calendar.



As we are trying to model ourselves as a constant offering to God in prayer, we pray the Angelus at lunchtime before we say our mealtime Grace and we try and pray another decade or (sometimes) the whole Rosary as a family every night (God willing).

During the seasons of Advent and Lent our prayers take on a different tone and lead us into the preparation of these special times in the Church year. (This is another article begging to be written, in the meantime, please visit O Night Divine for Advent inspiration).

I also want to mention the various was to set up a prayer table or altar in your home is a nice addition to family prayer times and can help even the littlest of prayers to sit for a little longer.  Here is an example of a simple prayer corner for little ones:

Littlesprayer

A more elaborate setting can be made up higher on a shelf for older children, and I would even encourage prayer shelves or corners in your children's bedrooms, a quiet place where they can learn to be silent with the Lord and Our Lady.

~ If you think this might be something you'd like to share with your family, please feel free to print out and implement as you see fit, and may God bless your special prayer time with your children. ~

 

 


Meredith HenningMeredith Henning is an Economics graduate of Seattle University with a French Minor. She now home educates her four beautiful children, the oldest being a girl, followed by three boys.  She currently writes about Catholic family life and home education at her weblog Sweetness and Light.  Also this year she spoke at her first Catholic Home Education Conference in Manassas, Virginia.  She is also a recent contributor to the very lovely Christmas weblog O Night Divine hosted by Mary Ellen Barrett.  Married 14 years to her wonderful and dear husband Matthew, she is currently working on a book about Catholic motherhood and home schooling.  Please visit her other weblogs Sweetness in the Kitchen and Threads of Love (a mother and daughter blog).


© Meredith Henning 2007

11/19/07

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