It has been said that, “the family that prays together, stays together.” This slogan was adopted by Father Patrick Peyton and the Roman Catholic Family Rosary Crusade. Research shows that the old slogan actually has a great deal of truth. Retrouvaille International, a highly-respected marriage-support organization, cites a 1980 study which indicates that the divorce rate for couples who attend church regularly and pray on a daily basis account for less than one divorce in every 1105 marriages (Source: coupleprayer.org). Does this prove that praying families stay together? No, but it certainly shows that low divorce rates and praying families correlate. And this shouldn’t surprise us. Families that pray together must then spend time together, quality time at that, which is essential for the dynamic of any family.
Praying together as a family is a great practice for keeping the family together and keeping the whole family focused on God in their lives. It is ultimately the goal of parents to see to it that the family prays together, but it’s not always that easy. Making sure your family prays together takes effort and time. Here are some tips for helping your family pray together, and therefore stay together as well.
Pray at meals: One of the reasons I think praying together and staying together correlate is because families that pray together probably do so during family meals which are important to have. Eating together is one of the most important things a family can do. Jesus himself showed the importance of eating together through the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist. Praying before and after meals completes the meal and teaches your children one way to pray. Everyone knows “Grace” before meals, but try this easy prayer for afterward, “We give you thanks for all your gifts, O Loving God, You who live and reign forever. And may the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.”
Attend Sunday Mass Together: Attending Mass together is one of the most important ways a family can practice praying together as well as with other Christians. This is not easy to do, but is nonetheless very important. At Mass we receive numerous graces and grow closer to God. Giving God our time and energy as a family during Mass is crucial to keeping Him as the center of the family.
Read Bible Stories Together: The Catholic Bible is full of wonderful stories and the most wonderful story which continues today. Stories from the Catholic Bible teach the importance of faith, hope, and love among many other things. Children are never too old to read the Catholic Bible. Perhaps the best way to read with older children is to set aside an hour each week for a family Catholic Bible Study or discussion of verses out of the Catholic Bible. For our younger children, we read Bible stories before bedtime and have a Children’s Bible handy for our early readers.
These are just a few simple ideas on how to practice praying together as a family. The family unit is the foundation of society, and one of the saddest events to witness is the destruction of a family. Praying together has probably kept families together for years and will continue to for years as well. Do you have any other ideas as to how to pray together as a family? Please share and comment below.