How important is family prayer?


#1

In your opinion, how important is family prayer in developing a person’s faith? My family goes to mass every week, but we never pray together (except on some holidays there’s an awkward prayer or two before the meal) and I don’t feel like faith is a regular part of my home life, yet my parents have a very strong faith (I think).

My brother is 19 and he’s pretty much dumped his faith. I’m 16 and trying to hold on. I’m wondering why I’m still trying, when it seems like I should have given up months ago, and I’m just curious what you all think about family prayer. Can faith be too private?

Thanks!

~Lefty


#2

Extremely important. Probably rare.

You are to be commended in recognizing this critical gap. Parents are often uncomfortable about starting family prayers. It's pretty easy to promote prayer with younger children, but it looks like your family missed that opportunity. As a parent, it's VERY encouraging when the children respond positively to prayer. At 16, you could really have an impact by helping the family find ways to pray together.

An easy start would be to make the sign of the cross and say grace before EVERY meal. Next meal, just ask if they mind your saying grace. How could they refuse? A good traditional "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen." followed by "Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty, though Christ our Lord" will take you a long way. It will be a little awkward at first, but after a few days it will become a routine. Our family always says grace together at dinner. Other meals, we often eat at different times/places, so each of us will make the sign of the cross and say a silent grace.

Another good possibility is a family rosary, maybe as a Lenten practice. The rosary is structured, so may not be as awkward as freer forms of prayer. It's important that it's done properly, though. That is, make sure there's contemplation about the mysteries, not just rote recitation of the prayers. That's what makes the rosary come alive. If your parents (or you) don't know how, there are lots of on-line helps. The best may be a scriptural rosary, where a short Bible verse is read before each Hail Mary. That helps you learn the stories and give you lots of things to think about as you pray the rosary. If no one will join you at first, start alone. But make a prayer time and do it in a public part of the house. Not to show off your holiness, but to invite others to join you in prayer. If you talk about it as a special Lenten devotion, I bet someone will join you.

I realize that's a lot more than you asked about. Maybe it will be helpful to you or others.

God be with you and your family.


#3

Maybe you should try something simple, like offering to say a prayer before meals. I doubt your parents will say no, maybe they will even love the idea and be happy that you’re taking this initiative. :slight_smile: It might be awkward at first but soon it will be routine.

As for my family however, they are all non practising, and it can feel pretty lonely. I really wish we could all practise our faith together… so I feel family prayer is important, but in my house, it just doesn’t happen. Although even my parents are fine with the occasional meal time prayer
Sometimes I feel like I’m just hanging on too, but faith is too important to just give up on it, and God is there to help us go on…


#4

Grace before meals is a great time to join as a family in prayer to God. I believe family prayer is critical to a families well-being. Whenever two or more are gathered in Christ's name He is present. I offer you this last piece of advice, find a saint whom you connect with dearly and ask them for help and guidance. Lately I have been talking to St. Therese of Lisieux after reading Story of a Soul and I have become very close to her and she has helped me very much. The Saints and Angels in Heaven will help you. You should never feel as if you should give up your faith. God bless,

Jeff


#5

Yes, I think family prayer is absolutely ESSENTIAL for passing on the faith and fro strengthening the family. I have failed miserably at it. I think the husband and father should be the leader and every time I tried to implement any sort of prayer (except at meals) I got nowhere (because my husband is only Catholic by baptism, not belief). I think some Protestant denominations do phenomenally well at family prayer and I think we Catholics do tend to be somewhat private about things like that. It can feel unnatural and a little strange. It's not easy. But when you have kids of your own, please institute daily and nightly prayer!


#6

[quote="lefty22, post:1, topic:229213"]
In your opinion, how important is family prayer in developing a person's faith? My family goes to mass every week, but we never pray together (except on some holidays there's an awkward prayer or two before the meal) and I don't feel like faith is a regular part of my home life, yet my parents have a very strong faith (I think).

My brother is 19 and he's pretty much dumped his faith. I'm 16 and trying to hold on. I'm wondering why I'm still trying, when it seems like I should have given up months ago, and I'm just curious what you all think about family prayer. Can faith be too private?

Thanks!

~Lefty

[/quote]

Dear Lefty.
I give you two links that will only take a few minutes to see, and a page full of testimonies (I recommend Roy Schoeman and David Moss)

youtube.com/watch?v=H7dpGWYZMDc&feature=related
youtube.com/watch?v=mAoYSH0BUtM

salvationisfromthejews.com/audioconverts.html

Why? Because you need to read in the New Testament, listen and read testimonies and associate with people who have a living faith, a living relationship with Jesus in their daily life. Then a world will open up for you that you never knew existed.
You need to find a fellowship of young Christians who are intent on staying on that path of meaning together with you.
Christian parents are a great gift. Parents that pray with their family and read Scripture together.. even better.. But as a young man or woman you need to find a faith fellowship with people your age in order to be strengthened..

But also.. read testimonies.. saints, people from other churches who overcame great trials by Gods help.. It will open your eyes to the unseen and to the things that God does in the world and that you haven't yet seen or experienced yourself.
I speak about the supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit. I have a bunch of friends who saw Jesus, who saw Mary, who saw Angels, who heard the voice of God, who got healed from sicknesses, had heavenly visions and prophesies, who were set free from demons, who died in peace (thats a miracle too) etc etc... I was 19 years old the first time I saw for the first time people getting healed in front of my eyes, when others prayed for them in the name of Jesus. My sister got healed, my dad got healed.. I realised, Man! Jesus is alive today.. I thought He was some cool guy walking around 2000 years ago.. But more than seeing miracles, shortly after He showed me that He wanted ME. He wanted personal contact with me... I still gotta get used to that here 8 years later because .. why would He wanna associate with me? Im nobody...But God can use me greatly.

The Kingdom of God is already here. Maybe your parents don't have more to give you when it comes to faith.. maybe they also need to get strengthened.
Go find people who knows what intimacy with God means and who will share with you. Ask Jesus to guide you.

God's peace and blessing to you.


#7

[quote="lefty22, post:1, topic:229213"]
In your opinion, how important is family prayer in developing a person's faith? My family goes to mass every week, but we never pray together (except on some holidays there's an awkward prayer or two before the meal) and I don't feel like faith is a regular part of my home life, yet my parents have a very strong faith (I think).

My brother is 19 and he's pretty much dumped his faith. I'm 16 and trying to hold on. I'm wondering why I'm still trying, when it seems like I should have given up months ago, and I'm just curious what you all think about family prayer. Can faith be too private?

Thanks!

~Lefty

[/quote]

I don't like the idea of you giving up on your faith just because your parents don't lead you in prayer. Yes, they should be modeling this action to you, but it doesn't mean you have to wait for them to initiate prayer! Get a rosary if you don't have one, and start using it. Pray the rosary in the house, and aloud if you feel comfortable to do it. You might just surprise your parents into joining you! They might be privately praying and not sharing it. Your brother may have other reasons for "dumping" his faith. Don't give up on the faith simply because your parents do not pray out loud. Remember the Pharisees who prayed very visibly but were still "whitewashed tombs."

Prayer ALWAYS works, no matter what!


#8

Thank you all for your replies. That definitely helps. I might see if we could start saying grace before dinner at least, and I'm going to try to get more involved in things at church.

GraceDK, I just watched those videos. All I can say is wow. Thank you, I needed that.

TheRealJuliane, yes, sorry if I sounded a bit extreme. I know I'm responsible for my own faith and my own actions. But sometimes I wonder why I haven't been able to let it go, even when I've tried to, when nothing in my family seems to be holding me to it.

Thanks, and God bless! :)


#9

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