Pray as a Family
It is very important to take time to pray as a family each day. When your family gathers at meal time, you should say grace before the meal. There is also a “Grace After Meals” prayer that is a great addition to your family meal time. Saying grace after the meal is over will keep everyone from leaving the table as soon as they are finished eating. Sharing a meal together once or twice a day may be the only time that you have to spend with the entire family present. Make this time special. Turn off the TV and really listen to one another. Even when you’re done eating, stay seated and talk to one another. When everyone has finished eating, pray the “Grace After Meals” prayer together.
In addition to grace before and after meals, families should sit down and pray together. Children in grades kindergarten through eighth grade have several grade level prayers to memorize each year. Praying each day as a family using the prayers they are required to learn, will help them to commit these prayers to memory. It will also reinforce these prayers as important and ensure that your children will pray on their own more often.
People don’t automatically know how to pray and your children are no exception. Even the Apostles asked Jesus how to pray. Memorized prayers give us the words we want to say to Our Lord at times when we cannot seem to come up with the words ourselves. They can actually teach us how to pray. Using memorized prayers to pray to God is an excellent way to teach your children how to pray. After a while, your children will begin to develop their own prayer life and will begin to simply talk to Jesus. Their prayer life will become a combination of memorized prayers and spontaneous prayer to Our Lord. This is exactly what you want.
“The Morning Offering” is an excellent way to start off each day and one that our Bishop, Robert Baker, asks every Catholic to pray each morning. In “The Morning Offering” we offer our day to the Lord. Everything we do becomes an act of love to Him. In addition, everything we do becomes an offering to God for the reparation of our sins. “The Act of Contrition” is a great prayer to pray before we go to sleep at night. “The Act of Contrition” tells God that we are sorry for our sins and want to do better each day. These are excellent ways to begin and end each day. They become even more meaningful when the entire family prays them together. Both of these prayers can be found in the appendix of this book.
When you come together to pray as a family, incorporate spontaneous prayer as well. Pray for our Holy Father, Pope Benedict the 16th; our Bishop, Robert Baker, and our priests by name. Ask Jesus to guide them and make them holy. Pray for your own holiness and the holiness of your children. Ask Jesus to guide each of your lives. Pray for anyone who is sick or need of your prayers. Pray for help for this world such as praying that God will lead our elected officials and for an end to abortion. Pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Ask Jesus to help your family members with any difficulties they may be facing. Finally pray for family members by name who have died, that God will welcome them into Heaven to be with Him for eternity.
This combination of memorized prayer and spontaneous prayer will benefit your children in so many wonderful ways. You will be teaching your children by example how to pray; how important prayer is; and that we rely on God for everything. These are the greatest life lessons you can give to your children.
For a complete list of the grade level prayers that your children should be learning, go to the appendix of this book. You can also find them on our Religious Education Website at www.holyspirithsv.com Click on “Sunday Religious Education Classes.” Then click on “Prayers”. You can print all of them or a specific grade level.
Praying the Rosary as a family each evening or at least weekly is a Catholic tradition. It also instills the importance of the Rosary in your children making it more likely that they will pray it as adults. Saint Francis de Sales said, “The Rosary is the ladder to Heaven” and truly, it is. Many saints have confirmed that every problem can be solved by praying the Rosary. Remember, the Rosary is a critical link to Jesus through the intercession of His mother, Mary.
If your family owns an iPad, you can get the iRosary App. This is a really fun way for the family to pray the Rosary together. Your children can take turns pulling down each bead. The iRosary App. is also good for learning how to pray the Rosary as it guides you right through it. All prayers are written out and there is even a picture of each mystery. Your children will love it!
We teach our sixth graders how to pray the Rosary in our Religious Education Classes and we require them to memorize the Mysteries. What we find is that the children quickly forget what we taught them. Soon they simply do not know how to pray the Rosary at all. They were taught in sixth grade, but because they never practiced this devotion at home and it has never become part of their actual life, they do not ever really know how to pray it. If families would pray it, the children could internalize it. I guarantee that the practices developed in childhood continue on in adulthood. Our Blessed Mother, Mary, has appeared on the earth several times in recent centuries. You may recall the story of “Our Lady of Fatima.” Every pope since the appearance of “Our Lady of Fatima” has proclaimed this apparition to be “worthy of belief.” Our Blessed Mother’s message at Fatima is very clear: “Pray the Rosary and souls will be saved.” She asks each of us to pray the Rosary daily. If you are like me, you just want to do what God asks us to do. One of the things He is asking us to do in this century is to pray the Rosary. Our lives change when our habits change. Let praying the Rosary as a family, become a habit in your family life. Your children will continue this into adulthood and make it apart of their own family life once they are married and have children.
You will find directions on how to pray the Rosary in the Appendix of this book on the last page.
Prayers of the Rosary
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen
Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen
Glory Be: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins and save us from the fires of Hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of your mercy.
Hail Holy Queen:
Hail! Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope, to you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears; turn, then, most gracious Advocate, your eyes of mercy towards us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus. O clement! O loving! O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.
Mysteries of the Rosary
Glorious Mysteries: (Sundays and Wednesdays)
- The Resurrection
- The Ascension
- The Coming of the Holy Spirit
- The Assumption of Our Blessed Mother, Mary into Heaven
- The Coronation (Crowning) of Our Blessed Mother, Mary, Queen of Heaven
Joyful Mysteries (Mondays and Saturdays)
- The Annunciation
- The Visitation
- The Birth of Our Lord
- The Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple
- The Finding of Our Lord in the Temple
Sorrowful Mysteries (Tuesdays and Fridays)
- The Agony in the Garden
- The Scourging at the Pillar
- The Crowning with Thorns
- The Carrying of the Cross
- The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord
Luminous Mysteries (Thursdays)
- The Baptism in the Jordan
- The Wedding at Cana
- The Proclamation of the Kingdom
- The Transfiguration
- The Institution of the Eucharist