Christian prayer is one of the four pillars of the Catholic faith. The other three are: the profession of faith, or the creed; the life of Christ, or Christian morality; and liturgy and sacraments, or how Catholics celebrate the Christian mystery. Prayer prepares Catholics for the liturgy – official services, rites and ceremonies of the church – and extends its celebration in their spiritual lives. It is through the church, parish and home that children and young Catholics are taught how to integrate Catholic practices into their lives.
It Teaches Children Prayer
The family is the first place children learn how to pray. According to the Catechism of Catholic Church, Section 2685, the family serves as domestic church where God’s children should be taught how to pray and persevere in prayer. It is also through family prayer that Biblical teachings find life in children’s lives through the Holy Spirit. Meditating in the word of God in the time of prayer also helps children learn how to profess their faith and to grow spiritually.
Building a Relationship With the Lord
Praying together helps a Catholic family to establish a stronger relationship with the Lord. It lifts the minds and hearts of family members. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Section 2565, without a life full of prayer, the faithful risk losing the life of grace, which is available first through baptism and later through other sacraments and prayer.
It Teaches Compassion in a Family
Catholic doctrines instruct the faithful not just to pray for themselves but also on behalf of those souls that are in purgatory – a state of suffering inhabited by the souls of sinners – and of those in need. Taking the time to pray for people in need as a family builds values such as compassion. It also makes the members of a family more aware and grateful of what they already have. For example, thinking about and praying for people in flood-hit areas enables the family to appreciate the value of a shelter and warm clothing.
It Encourages Family Time
Time spent in prayer adds to the total amount of time a family spends together. Also, the commitment of meeting at a specific time or place to pray brings unity in a household. Daily prayers include the morning offering, evening prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary and the Apostles’ Creed. In addition, the rosary is divided into five decades, each representing an event in the life of Christ. It is customary to say five decades at a time, which can take a considerable amount of time. Through such practices, a family also learns patience and discipline in prayer.