Should I pray for a vocation?

I read here a lot, but don’t post often… but I am hoping that people here will weigh in on a question which has been troubling me.

I have a 7yo son who, when asked what he wants to be when he grows up, will invariably give one of two answers: either a priest, or one other specific secular career. Only those two, for at least the last 3 years. We go to daily Mass at his request. Both the priests in our parish have expressed the belief that he will be called to the priesthood. But, this is still a little boy! He hasn’t even made his first Communion yet (this spring.) How can anyone know what path God has planned for him?

We are encouraged to pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood, and I do. My question is, though, whether it is right to pray specifically for a vocation to the priesthood for my son. I feel like maybe I ought to, on the one hand (I should mention that I think his personality and temperament are well suited to parish priesthood.) On the other hand, I think that it is not my right to request this for him. There is no greater honor, but no greater challenge either (lifelong celibacy!) I believe that if it is God’s will that he become a priest, then he will. If it is not, no amount of prayers will make it so, and I do not in any way wish to create an environment where he will feel that he is disappointing his father and me if he does not have this calling. I should also mention that we will support him EITHER way.

For now, I have resisted the urge to pray for this specific vocation, and instead I pray that God give us the grace to raise a man of character who will discern God’s will for his life and follow it.


I think it is unwise to pray for a specific vocation for your son because then you do fall into that trap of desiring that vocation for your son and being disappointed if he does not fulfil it, both disappointed with him and with God, and he could end up feeling like you are disappointed in him.

It must seem that your son is very young for people to be saying that he may have a vocation to the priesthood. And though that may be a sign that he may later discover he is called to the priesthood, you should also try to be careful not to let the expectations of others make him feel pigeon-holed into the priesthood. I would say encourage him to discern his vocation as he grows, not necessarily of the priesthood individually but an open discernment of what God’s will for him may be.

Pray that your son have the grace to discern and follow the will of God. Pray that he will grow up to be strong in his faith and love of God.

I wouldn’t specifically pray that he becomes a priest since that may well cause you to shepherd him in that direction without meaning to and may deny him a career that may be more suitable to him. I think many will have heard stories told of unhappy priests living out the “vocations of their mothers” rather than their own.

Rather, as he grows up, put no impediment in the way of priesthood as a choice of his own. If he expresses the desire, tell him in ways that he will understand that if it’s what makes him happy then he is free to choose it but that you will be proud of him no matter what he chooses to make his vocation in life.

There are, of course, practical things you can do to help him keep the enthusiasm alive in his heart. Expose him to the richness and beauty in Church. Help him be involved in the life of your parish. If he expresses a wish to be an Altar Server, let him do so. If he sings well, encourage him to join the choir if there is one. If he’s responsible and steady enough, he can participate in the offertory procession or the collection.

Teach him about the beauty of all the things the Church does and teaches. Let him come to God on his own terms though. Open every door for him but let him walk through of his own accord.

It is my experience that children delight most in being trusted by grown ups. The pinnacle of that trust as he grows up may be, for him, the experience of being a priest, or it may end up something else. In any event, your joy in him will give him the encouragement and confidence he needs to make the right decision for himself when the time comes.

Beware-doing so would be a protestant practice


He has a vocation: he may not be able to discern it yet.

Since vocations are a gift/grace from God whatever that vocation is, will be right for him. It may not be what either he, or you “wants,” but it will be what God wants.

Pray for that as your son grows he has the grace to discern his vocation. :thumbsup:

Thank you all for your kind responses; you have confirmed my thoughts that the right thing to do is to continue to pray that as he grows he will discern God’s will for his life and for now just focus on our job as parents of loving him and helping him to grow in his faith (which I think we are doing pretty well)

Not that it is in any way up to me - but if it were, I honestly can’t say if I would choose this path for him or not. So all around it is better left up to God.

Thanks again for taking the time to answer a question from a lurker. You encourage me to take the plunge and post once in a while!

Of course, if you want to pray for someone who wants to be a priest, I’d be a happy recipient of your prayers. :slight_smile:

^^Same here! :thumbsup: :slight_smile:

Dex and Bob, absolutely! :slight_smile:

Would it be too much to ask that you pray for my discernment with the Diocesan Priesthood as well? :smiley:

@longing4Jesus - See the riches you receive when you ask for such guidance? Now you can be spiritual-mama to three men seeking to live out their vocation as priests! :slight_smile:

Spiritual mama. I like that.

Teutonic Knight, consider yourself added to the list.

Pray that your son will always follow God’s will for his life.

I don’t think it’s very weird it at all that your son wants to be a priest so young. I’ve wanted to be a nun since I was 5 (so my parents say) and was always playing nun with my barbies and dressing up as a nun with blankets and stuff. I’ve been praying about my vocation lately and I really think that I have a vocation to the religious life.

Thanks so much. I need all of the prayers in the world right now.

You’re not alone brother!

By all means, do make a general prayer for increased vocations to the priesthood & religious life, but I wouldn’t make that a specific prayer for your son. Bless his little heart! I would encourage him to be an altar server when he’s ready. Ask God to help him as he grows to learn how to submit to God’s will. That is the toughest nut to crack for ALL of us. With your support, he may be a precocious young man :cool:

Pray for God to be there, assisting YOU with your vocation & submission to His will. Kids learn piety from example more than any other mode of learning. As he sees you imitate Christ, he will probably be inclined to do the same. It may mean a married vocation… as a DEACON. Or, maybe he will grow to be a rocket scientist… what ever he does, teach him that he gives his utmost for His Highest. That is all you really need.

I have raised two hard headed daughters. I have chosen a second vocation in the consecrated life. Since I am single now, they like & respect that. My older is mentally handicapped, but she is “hyper Catholic” as one of our priest friends called her. I swear, she knows every priest in the diocese. She would NEVER miss an obligation mass. Our family priest had told me that it’s a sign of my parenting skills. I don’t know about that, but every time I look at her, I see God’s unconditional & abiding love for me.

Having just recently decided to join a convent myself, I will sincerley pray for your vocation also for a greater awareness of God’s plan for you.

Every blessing.:thumbsup:

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