MOSAIC Fall 2015 - Page 9

dren are oriented to joyously come before tual page. If Dad involves himself in leading the Lord, it draws their hearts to perceive family prayer—not Mom alone who typically God as good and happy to be with them. leads in this area—the children will be more • Petition: Teach children how to bring their firmly drawn in. Husbands and wives togethneeds before the “throne of grace” (Heb. 4: er are the spiritual leaders in the home. As the 16). It is extremely important for children children grow older, there is no reason why to believe that God wants to hear and an- they can’t be asked to lead some aspect of famswer their prayers—for themselves, their ily prayer. When they are given responsibility, family members, and their friends. Teach- they identify more with family prayer. ing them to bring “requests before God with thanksgiving” (Phil 4:6) will be crucial, Time and Frequency because God, who is all good, listens to our Ideally, family prayer should be integrated prayers and will answer. into a daily schedule. A set time and place to • Intercession: This is a most precious ele- gather as family could be at dinner table when ment of prayer, since the family is able to ex- the family takes its meals. press its concern for the sufferings of others Whatever is decided, the entire family in a united way before God our Father. My should be committed to supporting the pracwife, Inez, and I never cease to be blessed tice. Parents should be realistic; family prayer and moved by the intercessory prayers of for teenagers may not always be their most our children. So often we are able to catch favorite activity. We will need to help keep a glimpse of their hearts as they seek God’s priorities straight and attitudes positive. It’s help for those they love. what parents do! • Forgiveness: Seeking the Lord’s forgiveExercise good judgment and discernment ness in the context of family prayer can when deciding the amount of time for fambe a fruitful and life-giving experience. As ily prayer. The age of the children, family family, we are all keenly aware of our weak- size, and their capacity to contribute will nesses and small, besetting sins that can be major factors in making decisions about and have disturbed family harmony. It is frequency and length of family prayer. The a salutary practice expression “quality to ask forgiveness of time” may serve us in “As the children grow the Lord Jesus for this regard. A briefer, older, there is no reason having fallen short but well thought out, in loving him and time of prayer may why they can’t be asked one another. serve your situation to lead some aspect of • Listening: Family best, rather than family prayer.” prayer can provide something extended. an opportunity for What is most imcultivating the practice of listening to the portant is that the Lord wants our hearts. Lord together. The family can certainly He wants family prayer to be a place and a “make a joyful noise to the Lord” (Ps space for the heart to be lifted up to God. 100:1), but is of utmost importance to teach them to “be still and know that [he] is Growth Takes Time God” (Ps 46:10). In his apostolic letter Novo Millenio Ineunte, St. John Paul II exhorts the entire Church to Let Us Begin create “schools of prayer.” The family unit can God blesses the faithfulness and right become such a school of prayer. The Holy Faintentions of parents who in faith and trust ther elaborates, “The meeting with Christ is launch out into leading prayer in the home. expressed not just in imploring help, but also The Holy Spirit will help parents in this im- in thanksgiving, praise, adoration, contemplaportant service to the family. The persever- tion, listening and ardent devotion, until the ance of parents will bring the reward of a heart ‘falls in love’” (no. 33). more united family under Christ. May family prayer be that environment Dad and Mom together must step out and where through our perseverance the heart lead. Children are extremely perceptive to the truly falls in love. words and behavior of their parents. They detect our inconsistencies—all too quickly. Paco Gavrilides is an instructor in homiletics Mom and