Family prayer time for introverts?


#1

Ok, I'm in need of some advice, opinions, etc.

I am a pretty introverted, shy person. And as such, I feel uncomfortable praying out loud in front of people (like the rosary with a group, or other public devotions). It's not so bad doing the rosary on Sunday with the rest of the church though, b/c I don't have to speak very loudly or at all really if I don't feel like it and nobody notices.

However, my boyfriend has expressed a desire for us to start praying together outside of church. I understand that it is a very good thing for families to pray together, and when/if I have children I will suck it up so they can have a good example set for them and maybe not be as bothered by it as I am. But for now, I am still very uncomfortable with it.

Has anybody else felt the same way? And if so, how have you handled it?

Thanks


#2

Go for it! Start gradually - just pray an our Father together or a Hail mary, or something that you have memorized that you are comfortable saying. Let your boyfriend lead. It's a rare thing to have a man who wants to be his family's spiritual leader - this is worth encouraging! If he wants to pray freely, let him, and you can just pray silently. Maybe at some time in the future, you can start moving from rote to free prayer by coming up with something to thank God for. This is what I'm trying with my kids. We each choose one thing to be thankful for and one thing to ask God for (after saying our decade of the rosary). Eventually you might be more willing to pipe up with less habitual prayers. If you know you want it for your future children, then you must know that it's good for them. And if it's good for them, it's good for you, so why wait until you have kids to do what is good for you? It will be good for your relationship too, for achieving the right kind of intimacy, and for discerning your future together.


#3

My dad, bless his heart, always looked like a cat in a bonnet in church, but he always went to Mass and all the special devotions he could get to. I think for him it wasn’t a matter of what he liked doing, it was a matter of giving God what God deserves. I have always thought that there would be a special reward in store for those who persevered in prayer and worship when there was no immediate consolation in it for them.

Even if praying with your boyfriend now and your family eventually has all the attraction of getting your teeth cleaned, of course you must, as you put it, suck it up and do it. That’s where the graces are, so that’s where you go.

As John Paul II famously put it, though: “How to pray? This is a simple matter. I would say: Pray any way you like, so long as you do pray.”

Tell your boyfriend how you feel. You may be able to find an excellent compromise, such as attending silent adoration together at least some of the time or letting him handle all spontaneous prayer and leading the Rosary, that kind of thing. There is not a “right way to pray” that says that a shy person has to pray as if she were outgoing.

Give thanks that we have such a rich prayer tradition. You’ll find something!


#4

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