Models of Family Prayer

It can be very difficult to find time to pray as a family, yet the importance of such prayer cannot be overstated. Praying together represents the foremost opportunity for us to surrender our daily struggles, tensions, triumphs, and endeavors to the Lord. Thus, there ought to be a balance in our family prayer between praise, thanksgiving, and petition. The atmosphere would be safe- but not corny- so that everyone (and especially our teens) feels able to speak sincerely. For this to be so, our prayer should be communal, consistent, and familiar.

One of the most important purposes of family prayer is the cultivation and witness of virtue. This time of prayer should be an opportunity for parents to witness to their faith, to their love of God, and to their love for one another. Children, too, will become witnesses to their faith by virtue of their joy and their willingness to learn. No doubt, the darker, less agreeable elements of family life will also work their way into our prayer, yet this, too, is valuable, even necessary, for in prayer even our struggles become an opportunity to strengthen and instruct one another in Christian love.

Some recommended models of family prayer

  • Model #1: *Praise: Psalm 150; *Petition: each family member contribute and then end with an Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be
  • Model #2: *Praise: A familiar hymn; *Petitions; end with V/: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph… R/: Pray for us.
  • Model #3: Scripture- Read a passage from the Gospels or a story from the Old Testament; *Petitions; end with a Glory Be

Note: The manner of prayer need not be the same every day. The Rosary, for example, or the Divine Mercy Chaplet might be substituted from time to time. See John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, especially 59 & 60. See also Psalms 127 & 128. However this prayer should be something your teens can depend on as a daily ritual. Their lives have enough chaos already. Let prayer be a source of stability for them.

(Compiled by the monks of Saint Louis Abbey)