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Should we teach children to memorize basic prayers?

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Philip Kosloski - published on 03/02/24

The memorization of basic prayers is an essential first step in the life of prayer, but teachers should also emphasize the meaning of these prayers.

While there are a variety of teaching methods in the area of prayer, one method that has stood the test of time is the memorization of basic prayers, such as the Our Father.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains the importance of teaching children how to pray in a myriad of ways:

The catechesis of children, young people, and adults aims at teaching them to meditate on The Word of God in personal prayer, practicing it in liturgical prayer, and internalizing it at all times in order to bear fruit in a new life. Catechesis is also a time for the discernment and education of popular piety.

CCC 2688

The Catechism then comments in particular on the method of teaching children and adults to memorize basic prayers:

The memorization of basic prayers offers an essential support to the life of prayer, but it is important to help learners savor their meaning.

CCC 2688

The Church sees value in memorizing prayers, especially the most basic ones, such as the Our Father and the Hail Mary. These prayers have been passed down through each generation and are a staple of every Catholic’s prayer life.

However, memorizing prayers has some drawbacks, as the meaning can get lost. That is why the Church encourages catechists to help children and adults the meaning behind the prayers, so that they pray with their whole heart.

Teaching children to memorize prayers is a good thing, but catechesis should not stop there and should try to go one step further in fostering a deep spiritual life.

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