Praying with children


I recently have become more active in my faith and would like to get my family involved in family prayer out loud. My wife is on board, but my son (age 6) is seriously reluctant to pray out loud. At this point we are only saying the Lord's Prayer and Hail Mary at night before bed. My son prefers to say his prayers "in his head" privately, which I certainly respect. But I'm having a tough time convincing him that it would be enriching for all of us to pray out loud. I also want to make sure he knows these prayers. Any advice?


Why not bring him in gradually? Like let him end the prayer... or start it. He might be nervous to say certain parts wrong? Or maybe just give him some time to get used to hearing prayers said aloud and lead by example?

I haven't had kids but I know the things I most wanted to do were the things I saw others doing. :)


Welcome to CAF! :wave:

Would your son be open to sitting and listening while you and your wife pray a rosary together every night? Just sitting together and praying as a family is a wonderful thing, even if he himself is not doing any of the out loud parts. Perhaps once it becomes routine, he'll feel more comfortable joining in.


My daughters four, and while I know she knows the basic prayers, she can often put up a little fight about saying her prayers when she’d rather read a story or something else. But I find that if I say so much of the prayer then stop, she will fill in the next part. Or … if I allow her to sing the prayers, she will go through them happily. Which is fine with me as long as she sings them properly and doesn’t take it to be play time. Or if I let her sing some of the songs she hears at church. “Lamb of God” and “Jubliatte” being her favourites.

At bed time we say “now I lay me,” a thank you for our family, “angel of God, my Guardian dear,” “Haily Mary” the Fatima prayer, “Our Father” and “Glory Be.” She also for some reason adds in grace from meals and a prayer she made up on St.Patricks day every night. She calls them her special prayers and lately had gotten a real delight out of me repeating her prayers after she says them.

My nephew on the other hand, just turned six and is a real stickler. Has no real interest. To be honest, the only part of religion he gets is when he is with us so when it comes to praying, he feels a little awkward. But slowly, he’s getting into it. Now he will happily bless himself and say grace before meals with us. My heart thumps loud.

Maybe it’s just an age thing? Kind of be careful to not be too strict and pushy about prayers, we don’t want to turn them away from it. i worry about that with my daughter on the nights she’d rather just go to sleep. If he prefers to pray to himself for now, let it be, while you and the rest of your family pray out loud. Then he is still involved.

Maybe I am just reiterating what someone else has said … sorry. My brain feels a little fuzzy from the surprise of 20+ weather today. :o


If it were me, I wouldn’t push him to pray out loud. I would however, gently persuade him to at least sit with the family during prayer time. It is important to pray as a family, but some people are shy and more private than others. I was an extremely shy child. I did outgrow it, but the worst thing anyone could do to me back then was to be pushy about anything like that. I know it sounds silly to be shy in front of your own family, but believe me, it’s possible. My oldest sister was VERY outgoing and funny, so I was content to just observe.
You never know–maybe he’ll end up becoming a priest and saying Mass before hundreds of people. Nothing’s impossible! People change and personalities evolve. I would always include him and maybe ask him if he would like to say a prayer. Make sure he knows that it’s ok if he’s not comfortable vocalizing prayer in front of others. I bet he will come around eventually. Be a good example and all will work out fine :wink:


We have a 6 year old as well.

Let him listen and join in when he's able. As adults we often "ramble" through our prayers making it hard for little one's to hear the words. Say the prayers slowly and purposefully and soon everyone will be in unison!


Thank you all for your responses. They are helpful. We've decided to say the prayers out loud and let him say it silently. We've got time, and I think he will eventually come around.


This is something I’m trying to work in myself. Other than grace before meals (and then only dinner, and only at home), my family NEVER prayed together when I was a kid, so it’s something that feels a bit awkward to me. My wife seems to be on the fence about it, since she prayed with her parents even less than I prayed with mine. She did shock me the other day when we were at a restaurant for dinner and with no prompting she led us all in grace–something she typically doesn’t even do at home. I figure that’s a good sign.


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