Prayers and Children


#1

At what age do you introduce prayers and praying to your children?
Do you start with the Our Father?

Thanks.


#2

as soon as they are old enough to pray before meals and bedtime. As infants I sang hymns as lullabies, and night prayers and grace as soon as they are old enough to listen and enjoy stories, and repetition of sounds and words. Start with the traditional prayers and gestures, including the rosary (a few prayers at a time) they learn the words and sounds long before they learn the meanings
the way to teach the prayers is to pray at home


#3

I don't have any children, but when I do have them I will probably pray in front of them and when they are old enough to start learning prayers on their own I would start them off with the shortest and work on progressively longer prayers. For instance, once they master the "Glory Be" which is simple and short and has hand motions to match (a great way of learning to make the Sign of the Cross at the same time) then I would progress to the Hail Mary, which is a bit longer. After that, I would teach them the Our Father, which is even longer. etc.

I know that my mom always told my sister and me to do the Sign of the Cross as we walked into Mass. This sunk in to the point that at 3 years old I actually blessed myself in a water fountain at the entrance to a garden store because I figured if there was water at an entrance it HAD to be Holy Water. :) My mom still won't let me forget about that because she thought it was so cute and innocent.


#4

As soon as they start singing and demonstrate in their songs that they have recall and memorization. Then there are little nursery prayers that they can sing. Also, before and after Mass take them to the statues in the Church and tell them who they are so they can begin to visualize the saints and angels.


#5

When my daughter was three, I taught her “Now I lay me down to sleep”. It was never a big hit, and more recently I started singing the song “Before the Ending of the Day” with her (she’s five now) and my two year old. I also began saying a few other prayers that went with it in the Compline service of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.

Well, it surprised me, but they love them, and the two year old knows them by heart, though they are very adult prayers. I’ve just begun to add the Lord’s prayer before the song, and I think I’ll go on adding bits from Compline as they memorize more, and it seems appropriate to their age.

Also, after we always say our “personal” prayers: one think to thank God for, one person to pray for, and one thing to be sorry for - though the last only for my older daughter.

The song and prayers we do are:

*BEFORE the ending of the day,
Creator of the world, we pray
That with thy wonted favour thou

Wouldst be our guard and keeper now.

From all ill dreams defend our eyes,

From nightly fears and fantasies;

Tread under foot our ghostly foe,

That no pollution we may know.

O Father, that we ask be done,
Through Jesus Christ, thine only Son;

Who, with the Holy Ghost and thee,

Doth live and reign eternally. Amen.

Minister. Keep us as the apple of an eye;
Answer. Hide us under the shadow of thy wings.
Anthem. Preserve us, O Lord, waking, and guard us sleeping, that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.

O LORD, support us all the day long of this troublous life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then, Lord, in thy mercy, grant us safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at the last; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.*

So the moral is, I guess, that it isn’t always necessary to use "children’s " prayers.


#6

I would say pray out loud with them even if they don't speak yet. So far they just start praying on their own with us, without us knowing they knew the prayer. When I notice they are praying I might start pronouncing things more clearly, and I will correct the older kids (3 and up?) if they are saying something wrong, but its cute to see a 1 yr old pray however he/she can, and by 2 they really start catching on. The food blessing is very popular at our house, lol, probably one of the first ones they pick up (I think the Amen part is the first part they usually pick up) :). Same goes with Mass responses, so far they have learned from being there. I guess what I would say is that it is never too early to teach them. If there is a specific devotion/prayer you want to teach them, I would just pray it out loud slowly with them.


#7

I used to sing Hail Mary, Gentle Woman to my boys ALL the time. It was very calming. For all of us.

And we went straight to the Lords Prayer for night time prayers once they could follow. Which they can both recite now (they’re 5).


#8

As a family we say a rosary each night before bed and grace before we sit down to meals ("Bless us oh Lord and these thine gifts which we are about to receive through the bounty of Christ, Our Lord. Amen.").

Our two year old loves making the sign of the cross over and over again and saying "amen!"


#9

We've been praying w/Drake for a few months now.
Mainly a simple, repetative, "God bless..." and go through
each family member, finishing w/"God bless everybody, everywhere, Amen."

As he gets older and understands more, we'll add to it in scope and
complexity. I don't think it's ever to early to let your children see you pray, or
to pray 'with' them, even if they don't understand yet.


#10

We started saying "Our Father" with our twin girls before bedtime at around 18 months. I know that they could say it themselves at two years old. We still say it every night with them at bedtime and they will be 7 next week.

I am not sure when we introduced Hail Mary, Angel of God and Bless Us O Lord, but they have known those for a few years. I should teach them the Glory Be next and start working on the rosary.


#11

Oh that is so CUTE!!! Spot the Catholic kid!!! LOL :D:D:D You really made me laugh today. i can just see it…


closed #12

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.