I have received excellent words of advice under the single parenting thread so I am turning to the Forum on this matter.
Due to difficulties in our lives because of my divorce, my 15 year old son says that prayer makes no difference, so he will no longer pray. He will not join in evening prayers with the family, prayer at mealtime, etc. He does attend Mass, including daily Mass when I bring everyone, and receives communion, but will not pray with us. I have told him that even if he feels his prayers are not answered, he still at least owes God thanks for His gifts at mealtimes, but he refuses to join in. In our evening prayers, which include an Act of Contrition, he says it is a lie for him to pray with us.
What is the right response to this? I have spoken with him from several angles, including asking what specifically he has prayed for so that I can help him with anything I can (as, I said, a person can hardly expect to get an answer for prayers for physical healing if he won’t tell a doctor what is wrong). He won’t discuss it with me.
It makes me sad for many reasons, including that his father is one who does not pray. At one point in our divorce we heard “The family that prays together stays together” and my another of my children said “No they don’t.” I answered that their father used to pray with us but then he stopped as he decided he wanted a different life, so the part of the family that did pray together actually did stay together.
But divorce tears a family apart, and my children do in fact have two families now with their father’s remarriage and younger son, and if my son also stops praying… I don’t want him to become less a part of our original family. I am also concerned about the effect of the 15 yo not participating and the younger kids saying that if he doesn’t have to, neither do they.
So, knowing you can’t force a non-believer to pretend to believe, what do I do?