Now that then Lenten season is over, it’s important for us to remember that while the season is gone, the positive steps we’ve taken in our lives should not be. The whole point of Lent is to refocus our attention and help us get closer to the people that we want to be. When the season is over, it’s still up to us to make decisions that keep us going in the right direction.
Growing up, my family always prayed together in the evening. We would learn a new prayer each year, pray the usual prayers, and learn about our faith. My dad would choose sections from the Catechism for us to discuss and learn about. It was a great system. Sadly, as we got older and our lives started to get very busy, we moved away from family prayer time.
Praying as a family has been something that Alison and I have struggled to incorporate, but I think we’re finally getting our routine worked out.
Families tend to be together twice per day. They start their day at home and they end their day at home. After breakfast (sometimes even before!), everyone scatters in different directions. Parents go to work, kids go to school, then after-school activities, social clubs, the list goes on and on. When the family regroups at the end of the day, when everyone “comes in from the fields,” there’s a need for quality time together.
Since we spend so much of our days apart, we need time together to connect, communicate and bond. Prayer can do that. In fact, prayer in community is important!
There’s a dynamic of our faith that focuses on the interior life. We should each have a personal relationship with God and be constantly praying and living out our faith. The Church also reminds us that the community life, and more specifically communal spirituality is also very important. When we pray in community, we further support each other and intercede for each other. The Church so heavily emphasizes the communal aspect of the spiritual life that She has entire communities of religious brothers and sisters living, working, and praying together.
Alison and I have daily prayer time in the evening, typically when the kitchen is clean. We’re not always 100% perfect in having this time, but we’re making an honest effort and are starting to see the benefits. There are three main parts to our prayer. We start with a section of the Catechism and discussion. We talk about what line jumped out at us or make observations about what the particular teaching means. We then each share our petitions. We close our family prayer time with an Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be and then we bless each other.
It’s simple, it’s straightforward, and it’s ours.
Now it’s time for you to make yours. Talk to your wife about her spirituality and design a family prayer routine that appeals to both of you. Then, designate a sacred time and make it happen.
Prayer, like all relationships, can and must change. As time goes on, if things get stale, change it up. Live a vibrant family spirituality!
Praying as a family on a daily basis can be challenging. At the end of the day, it’s all about priorities.