Friday, September 11, 2009

The Children Need to See You Pray

Constantly my husband and I talk about how to do family prayer. With two small children it seems like madness every time we pray as a family. We think, what have we done wrong?

I started reading a book called “Graced and Gifted: Biblical Wisdom for the Homemaker's Heart” by Kimberly Hahn, with Waco Catholic Mom’s Group. I have never read anything by the Hahn’s before, but I have heard much about them. So far the book has been extremely easy to read and has lots of compact and precise wisdom from biblical passages.

Mrs. Hahn wrote about every homemaker needing the five “P’s,” which she learned from another homemaking book, “Living by a Mother’s Rule of Life,” by Holly Pierlot. The Mother’s Rule is in the following order by priority, “Prayer, Person, Partner, Parent, Provider.”

“Prayer (your relationship with God), Person (what you need to do to take care of yourself properly), Partner (your relationship with your partner), Parent (what you need to do to take care of your children), Provider (the things you do to care for the whole household).” Designed to be a checklist to make sure the Mother is doing her job well.

The first thing that has stuck in my head is “Prayer.” I read about how other mothers and homemakers pray, and realized that a lot of women just pray while they go about their daily chores and duties, and let it permeate their day. As we should, “pray without ceasing.” As I read about other mothers’ prayer tactics it occurred to me, the children need to see you pray.

We learn best by example and if the children do not see and hear us pray daily, how are they to learn the habit themselves? Kimberly Hahn wrote about ways in which mother’s managed to make time for prayer—one mother sat in the kitchen with her apron over her head and her children knew not to disturb her. It may not be feasible to get everyone together at one time to pray together and what about time for personal prayer. So mum should just go ahead and pray. If the family joins in great; if the children start interrupting personal prayer, stop and tell them what you are doing, or find a safe place for them to be and continue praying.

I am glad I read this and I have made it my goal to pray in front of the children, even when it is personal prayer. I pray often in my heart throughout the day. Alex and I pray together before he goes to bed and then he prays again with Andrew after I leave. He likes one on one praying. But our children do not see us pray other than at church or before meals. I think it is important to simply do it and let them see you do it.

I read about all of this a couple of weeks ago and still have not achieved my goal of praying in front of the children at least once a day. But, I set the time to do it after dinner. I have decided that is a bad time, because by the time dinner is through someone is always crying. Tonight when I get home I am going to rush in and drop everything and pray right away and then begin making dinner. I hope to make it a habit. Wish me luck.


Michelle M. said...

Ok, Renee, this is just weird! My husband and I were literally talking about this same thing at dinner.

We are terrible at doing our prayers as a family. Frankly, Punky wants nothing to do with it. He likes to pray at bedtime, but that is about it. Spunky likes to pray any time and loves making the sign of the cross.

My husband made the same comment that you did: our children only see us pray at bedtime, dinnertime and at church. We are going to try harder to incorporate more prayer into the time that we spend with the kids.

Anne said...

Good luck, Renee! I don't have any advice about praying with children yet, but I think you're doing great--hopefully the before-dinner prayers work. Let me know how it goes! God bless :)