Aleteia

Simple techniques to introduce children to prayer

Jeffrey Bruno - Aleteia
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Praying with kids is not without its challenges, including the risk of falling into routine.

Praying together as a family leads to spiritual growth for all its members and strengthens the bond that unites them all. However, simply wanting to introduce it in your home isn’t enough; you have to know how to do it the right way. 

Praying together with children is much easier than praying as a couple. Usually, kids are quite willing to pray with their mommy and daddy. However, praying with kids is not without its challenges, including the risk of falling into routine and disconnecting. 

Let the child take the initiative

Before you begin praying with your kids, remember that you are not having them “say their prayers,” you are actually praying together with them. Your role as an educator is limited to encouraging, suggesting, and helping your kids, with respect for the prayer of the Holy Spirit in their hearts.

Most importantly, you must teach them how to engage in prayer, to become attuned (to close their eyes, think of Jesus who is in their hearts) and then show them how to go over their day, to eventually say thank you for all that has been received and to ask forgiveness. You can repeat together a verse from the Gospels  and teach your kids how to pray for their friends, their parents, their teachers, for the sick, the elderly they know, and the great causes of the Church and in the world. 

The conclusion can be a slowly recited, drawn out prayer, including a Rosary or calling on saints and guardian angels. Its general structure can remain the same, but you must be careful to renew its contents. From time to time, one of the children can prepare the prayer, and you can give do some chanting or singing (children really love this), as well as vary your body posture: standing or kneeling, hands joined together or apart.

Be sure not to let things get stale and routine but always encourage your children be both serious and attentive. As they grow older, children should sometimes be invited to pray by themselves and learn to approach God responsibly on their own.

Jean-Régis Fropo