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Where should children first learn how to pray?

CATHOLIC SCHOOL

Philippe Lissac | Godong

Philip Kosloski - published on 02/29/24

Should children first learn how to pray in religion class? Or should the priest be the first person to teach a child how to pray? What about parents?

For nearly all subjects taught in public and private schools, it is the teacher who has become the primary educator.

Parents no longer have to worry about teaching their kids math, or even how to read. They will be taught that at daycare or during pre-school and eventually when they are enrolled in grade school.

What about prayer?

If teachers have become the primary educators of children, then should children first learn how to pray from their religion teacher? Or should a priest be the first one to instruct them in prayer?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that it should be the family who are the primary educators when it comes to prayer:

The Christian family is the first place of education in prayer. Based on the sacrament of marriage, the family is the “domestic church” where God’s children learn to pray “as the Church” and to persevere in prayer. For young children in particular, daily family prayer is the first witness of the Church’s living memory as awakened patiently by the Holy Spirit.

CCC 2685

The Church firmly believes that parents should not wait until their children are sent to Catholic school or parish religious education before they learn how to pray.

Prayer should be a central pillar of the family, and part of a child’s daily routine at home.

Children learn best by example and will learn about prayer during a family’s daily prayer time.

If there is no prayer in the home, it is unlikely that the children will ever fully integrate prayer into their own lives.

As Venerable Patrick Peyton would say, “The family that prays together stays together.”

Tags:
CCC PrayerFamilyPrayer
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