Family Prayer and Sprituality

As I’ve been trying to incorporate prayer more into my daily life, what’s been most striking to me is all of the different ways that we can respond to God. We can pray with words given to us, or with our own words; through speech and through silence; with our hands, with our bodies, with our breath. And all of these ways can rightfully be called prayer. As we begin to explore ways that we can pray together as families, let us first explore the many different forms of prayer.

  • Repeating traditional prayers and psalms
  • Creating art or music in response to God
  • Listening and engaging to music, art, and stories
  • Speaking in earnest to God
  • Giving of ourselves in service to others
  • Contemplative or silent prayer (repeating a word or phrase, imagining a scene)
  • Traditional devotions like the rosary and novenas

Some of these things will be easier for you than others. There are families who set aside time to say a rosary together every night, and families for whom that’s not feasible or even the best option. (As someone with a lot of trouble focusing, I personally find that the rosary is not the best devotion for me.) Only you can figure out what’s best for your own family. But here are a few ideas:

  • Watch a movie together, and discuss it after. Or, if you want to make it an outing, try going to a play, concert, or art exhibit. See how people have been moved to speak to God through their art, and let the art lift you up to the same place from which the artist was speaking.
  • Say grace before meals if you don’t already. Try asking each child to lead prayer on a different night. This can be planned or spontaneous.
  • Spend a day volunteering together. For a list of great organizations to work with, check out the resources page on this blog.
  • Look into some classic prayers by holy men and women like St. Teresa of Avila or Thomas Merton. Introduce these prayers into your daily life.
  • In casual conversation, ask one another to pray for your needs and the needs of others. For instance. “I’m having lunch with Aunt Betty today. Could you pray for her? She’s been struggling a lot since Uncle Bob died.”

Please feel free to add more ideas and suggestions in the comments!

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