Prayer is the bond that keeps the family together.
If you think about some of the strongest families you know, there is at least one common characteristic that they all share in common. They are a family that makes time to pray together.
Prayer in community dates back to the earliest days of the Church. The faithful would gather in each other’s homes and pray. It is a ritual that is both spiritually rejuvenating and essential in the Christian life.
Yet, we struggle to find the time. Part of the reason for me was that I was nervous about praying out loud. When I pray privately, in my head, the words flow so smoothly. It’s a different story when I pray out loud.
At the same time, Alison and I recognize how important this practice is. A family gathering together to offer prayers of adoration, petition, penance and thanksgiving is a powerful event. The gathering of the domestic Church to recenter itself in God is essential to the health and growth of the family.
As Benedict was going through the Sacrament of Baptism, Alison and I promised to raise him in the faith. We promised to make it our “constant care to bring him up in the practice of the faith.” At the conclusion of the Rite, the Priest prayed over his ears and mouth saying, “The Lord Jesus made the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak. May He soon touch your ears to receive His word, and your mouth to proclaim His faith, to the praise and glory of God the Father.”
While listening to those words, it became clear in my mind again how important weekly, if not daily, family prayer time is.
When setting up a prayer routine, it’s important to frequently change the type of prayer that you engage in. For example, you may pray the rosary together, the Liturgy of the Hours, or maybe even have a Scriptural Reflection. Prayer is a conversation, so make it lively!
I hope that you’ll consider incorporating family prayer time into your family life. In the words of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, “The family that prays together, stays together."