Family Prayer


By the grace of God, about a few Lens ago we started saying grace before meals as a family. It’s indeed a blessing, but from the beginning, my children have taken it lightly, never having crossed themselves at the beginning and at the end, as I and my wife do. We take turns every day on leading the prayer, but my daughter in particular keeps herself to praising the food.

I’m afraid that they’re leaning towards just going with the moves, so I thought of inviting them for a novena to Our Lady of Lourdes to not allow abortion to be approved in Portugal in the referendum on the day of her feast, next Sunday. I tried it yesterday, but it was met with extreme resistance and got no participation from them.

Of course, it’s all my fault for neglecting raising them in the Faith, a Faith I myself was separated from for many years. Already in their teen years, I wonder what would be just the right nudge.

Does anybody else have gone through similar challenges?



Why don’t you start with, in addition to the grace they tend to boycott, insisting that they take the grace seriously enough to at least be respectful during it, and bless themselves properly?

Another good shot: It is all well and good to suggest a novena. But jumping from saying the blessing before meals, and a novena? Big jump, like jumping a canyon. Instead, how about insisting on an after-meal decade of the rosary, or even just an Our Father, Hail Mary & Glory Be for the same reason? They’d all be in the same room anyway, and it’s a lot shorter jump- even if there is pouting and sudden excuses that homework suddenly has to be completed. Your wife and you can still catch the novena, with those who do not wish to attend drawing baby-sitting duty.

I take it as the father of this brood you’d like to exercise a little fatherly leadership. Go ahead. Insist, not request, family prayer. But take it in steps.


A little more firmness and insistance is what you need.

For teens, recalling on my own memory from when I was one, you might try to push the challenging aspect of faith.

When people talked about their faith with terms like “Christian soldier”, “spiritual battle”, “The Enemy”, “total sacrifice” I perked up. Christianity sounded like one whale of an adventure (which it is).

But when people would discuss their faith in terms of “peace” and all that flowery language aimed at tired old people I got turned off in a hurry (still do). They tried recruiting for perpetual adoration by talking about how peaceful and serene the hour would be. Blech, now whenever I go there, I feel like the only one under 65.

Not that peace is anything bad, it’s just not what attracts teens who are overloaded with energy.

So present the pro-life novena in terms of a challenge. Invite them along. Tell them that you’ll really put a blow to Satan, and that he might fight back. And finally end the invite with:

. . .That is. . . if you’re up to it.


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