Elements of Family Prayer
Continuing with extracts from the “Praying with children” booklet, here is the section that suggests some of the elements that parents can think about when planning family prayers:
“When thinking about praying with children, whether is it something that already happens regularly or are thinking of starting, there are some things that might be considered:
• Beginnings: How are you going to start a session to help children settle?
• Storytelling: Are you going to include Bible Stories or stories that help explain aspects of faith e.g. the life of a particular saint?
• The Liturgical Year: What are the current readings or themes? Is it a feasting or fasting time? What have the Sunday readings taught you?
• Silence: Where are you going to have times of silence? How long is it going to be?Building up slowly is a good idea if children are young or never had times of silence before.
• Reflection: Where are you going to invite your children to reflect on what they have heard or prayed about? When are you going to offer your own reflections.
• Prayers of the Church: Family prayer times can be used to teach the prayers of the church such as the ‘Our Father’, ‘Hail Mary’ and the ‘Glory be’. It can also be used for exploring some of the themes and meaning behind the words with children.
• Different Ways of praying: There are lots of ways of praying and some of these can be explored in prayer times. For example you might try praying the rosary or using a prayer rope for the Jesus Prayer. There might be occasions when you use guided meditation or imaginative prayer around a text from scripture. The list is quite a long one. Sometimes some thought has to be given to how to make different types of prayer accessible to children.
• Music: Are you going to use singing in your prayer time? This might be songs, hymns or chants. Are you going to play music quietly in the background? These can be used every time as part of your routine or used occasionally or for special occasions. Songs or chants could fit in with the liturgical season or the theme from Sunday.
• Endings: How are you going to end your prayer time together?”