Children's Prayers?


#1

Hello all, I've a question about which prayers I should be teaching my children. I tried to use the search function, but apparently lack the appropriate skills, and the results were baffling.

My background is mostly Protestant rearing with sort of an Agnostic bent after college. I was Baptized into the faith 4 years ago, and have tried to live it well. My wife is, nominally, and Episcopalian, but has agreed to raise our girls Catholic. The first was conceived about 3 weeks after I made the decision to join the Catholic Church, so I took it as a sign :)

Anyway, our parish church, is about 45 minutes away, which can be kind of a struggle with two kids under 4, so we generally attend Mass at the local Monastery of St. Clare, which is only ten minutes from the house. It's more convenient, the Nuns love the girls, and I feel it's good exposure for the girls as well as they grow up to be around the Nuns.

However, there are no "Sunday School" classes for the kids, where they might normally be learning prayers and things about being Catholic. As I was not raised Catholic, I don't know much about all of the different prayers, but have been teaching them the ones I do know, mostly taken from the Rosary.

Every night at bedtime we say prayers with the girls, starting with the Our Father, followed by the Hail Mary, followed by one I think is called the Fatima prayer in the Rosary, and ending with the Guardian Angel prayer.

What else should I be teaching them? In another year or two, they'll be starting school, and we hope to get them into one of the local Catholic schools, where that part of their education will be handled by professionals. However, what should I be doing as their father, to get them ready for that?

Thanks in advance for any help and advice.

Casey


#2

Sounds like you're doing a fabulous job, actually!

Do you pray before meals? One classic Catholic prayer before meals is:
Bless us, Oh Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

We also say similar bedtime prayers including the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, and Angel of God... as well as the classic "Now I lay me down to sleep"...

Mostly it's about teaching the HABIT of prayer... bringing it into your everyday, visible lives...

Keep up the good work! :thumbsup:


#3

[quote="Em_in_FL, post:2, topic:202985"]
Sounds like you're doing a fabulous job, actually!

Do you pray before meals?

Mostly it's about teaching the HABIT of prayer... bringing it into your everyday, visible lives...

Keep up the good work! :thumbsup:

[/quote]

Well thanks for the support. Actually, my oldest daughter, who is about 3 and a half, says the prayer before we eat at meals. It seems to be a bit of an amalgam of prayers, and goes like this:

God is great, let us thank him for our food, by his hands we shall be fed, give us Lord our daily bread. Amen.

I'm not sure where she picked that up, but it had become a regular part of meal time with her leading the prayer for the last several months.

Casey


#4

You're off to a great start! I just wanted to state that YOU are your children's first and most important teacher. Please don't think that the local Catholic school or even sunday school, is a good substitute for YOU teaching and LIVING the faith. It all starts with you. I would suggest that you further your study of the faith and traditions so that you feel more comforable (btw, I'm a convert, too, and it takes a while to figure out what traditions you want to start in your family, what prayers to teach and how to convey your faith! Keep at it!)

Here are a few books that might help:
amazon.com/My-First-Prayer-Book-Picture/dp/0899422888/ref=sr_1_27?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277316912&sr=8-27
amazon.com/My-First-Catechism-Package-10/dp/0899423825/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277316994&sr=1-5
amazon.com/Mass-Book-Children-Donna-Piscitelli/dp/1592760759/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277317025&sr=1-3

Some web sites that can help:
domestic-church.com/
catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm (liturgical year, you can look by season, by day, by month, by prayer/activity, VERY helpful!)
wf-f.org/WFFDomCh.html (Women for Faith and Family--Family Sourcebooks for Lent/Easter and Advent/Christmas also, this site has prayers, activities and info about various feasts and days)

gracebeforemeals.com/ (Catholic movement for strengthening families started by Fr. Patilinghug)

Hope that helps!!!


#5

All those are wonderful prayers.

Here's one I came up with for my children. I wanted something that has all 4 of the different prayer types, and it's simple to learn. Take it or leave it. :)

Dear God, we love you so much. We're sorry for anything naughty we did today. We thank you for this day, and ask that you help us grow in your love. Amen.


#6

I'm a convert too :thumbsup: but my husband is a Cradle Catholic, seriously devoted, and an awesome Head of Household. I'm thankful that he'll lead the way in this. We are still awaiting the arrival of our first baby, hopefully soon, but my husband's parents bought us a great book for our little one. It's called The Caterpillar That Came to Church A Story of the Eucharist and you can get it at amazon.com amazon.com/Caterpillar-That-Came-Church-Eucaristia/dp/0879738758

It's long, but it is SO good! :)

I guess that's not technically prayers, but it sounds like you're doing great with the teaching of prayers!


#7

We usually say the "Now I lay me..." prayer but I do it a little differently.

"Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, keep us safe all through the night and wake us up with mornings light"

After that I lead in asking God to forgive us our sins and other things then give the boys a chance to say thanks for something or to mention prayers for people or friends etc...

Some nights we also say a Hail Mary and I try to always pray at meals. They have to at School but I don't always make them rather I ask "did you bless this food?" as I want to get them to do it on their own. I figure my example of doing it consistently, at home or out in public is something they will remember.

As the littler ones get older we will probably add more prayers.

Joe


#8

Congratulations on your littles and getting them involved in the church!

Hmm, prayers that they should know…

Well, may I speak from experience? My mother is Jewish, and my father is a wonderfully loving but badly taught Catholic (they agreed to raise any kids they had together Catholic before they were married).

Daddy made sure I knew the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be, but I never learned too many prayers because Mama didn’t know them all and Daddy wasn’t really a formal education kind of Catholic - he just prays whatever he feels and talks about why you should always trust in God.

This is a list of prayers that I didn’t learn until I was in my late 20’s (I’m 33 now). Some of these prayers are ones that I pray regularly now, or try to, but I wish I had known them earlier because I didn’t have recourse to them when I could have used them. Maybe you can slowly introduce these prayers to your littles, so they will benefit from them.

  1. The Apostle’s Creed - Daddy never really “got” the Rosary, so it wasn’t until recently that I started praying it, but I had to sit down and memorize the Apostle’s Creed because I had no idea that it existed. I had the Nicene Creed memorized, but there are differences, and I never knew it.

2, 3, &4) The Act of Faith, Act of Hope, and Act of Love - These are three pretty simple prayers that shouldn’t be too hard to memorize, and they talk about the fundamental beliefs of all Catholics.

  1. The Act of Contrition - a must for when your kids start going to Reconciliation.

  2. The Memorarae - A prayer to the Virgin Mary, asking for her intercession. A bit more complicated, but if your littles seem to have a leaning toward Marian Devotion, this is a good one to get them started on.

  3. The Anima Christie - One day at Mass, after everyone had received Communion but before the Accolytes had finished putting away the bowls and cups, Father recited this prayer ("Soul of Christ, sanctify me. Body of Christ, nourish me. Blood of Christ, inebriate me…"etc). This is a very handy prayer to recite after receiving Communion. It’s also good as a reminder of whom we turn to in all joy and sorrow.

  4. Prayer Before the Crucifix - “Most High, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me, Lord, a correct faith, a certain hope, a perfect charity, sense and knowledge, so that I may carry out Your holy and true command.” A good prayer for when you visit church and come to the Crucifix, or if you have one in your house (we have several, including the traditional Crucifix in the kitchen), to pray before bedtime.

  5. The Stations of the Cross - not something one would pray every day, but there are short versions to explain what the stations of the Cross are and to help one meditate on the Way of the Cross.

  6. The Rosary - Like I said, Daddy never “got” the Rosary, so when I was older I had to learn how to pray it, and was a little confused by some of the “additional” prayers that weren’t in my 1980’s handbook - like the Fatima Prayer (“Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins…”)

  7. Bonus prayer - The Divine Mercy Chaplet - I like this one because it’s short enough to memorize, but has meaning and purpose and teaches the heart humility.

Like I said, this is all stuff I didn’t learn until I was already a grown woman, and I often get caught off-guard by what prayers I don’t know. These are the ones that I wished I had known earlier. HOpefully this will give you some good ideas.


#9

Hey,

Catholic homeschooling sites have great resources for teaching(obviously :) ) Seton homeschool and Catholic Heritage Curricula have some great thing for younger kids. Emmanuel books is another great place to get books and crafts and all sorts of things.


#10

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