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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Praying at Other Times

Praying at Other Times
There are many other times or occasions when we can develop the habit of praying together. These examples might inspire our own creative or spontaneous prayer.
In the Morning:
It can be quite transformative of our family bonds, in faith, to pause very briefly to pray together. This might be a spontaneous prayer, while we are laying in bed with our spouse, Lord, be with us today, or Dear, I ask the Lord to give you strength and peace today at your meeting. Perhaps we are rushing around each other in the kitchen, grabbing breakfast. It can be wonderful to pause to pray, simply asking the Lord to be with each of us in what we are about to do.
In the Car:
So many of us spend a fair amount of time in the car, often with other members of our family. These can be nice times to begin or end the trip, with a very brief prayer. Bless our shopping tonight. Help us be grateful for the gifts you give us. May this food/these clothes help us be mindful of those who have so much less than we do. Or, Bless Ann at practice today. Give her gratitude and delight in the gifts you give her. Help her to do her best, to encourage others, and to learn what you offer her today. Or, Lord, as we go to Bill and Ann's for dinner, we thank you for our friendship with them, and we ask you to bless this night with all the graces you might offer us in the care we have for one another; we ask this in Jesus' name. Or, Lord, as we drive to church, we thank you for our faith and for this chance to be together with our parish community; please allow us to hear your Word, to give you thanks and praise, and to be nourished for the mission you give us this week.
Over the Weekend:
Often the weekend offers some special moments together that can be wonderful times of prayer.
Other Times:
We can say brief prayers like this at so many special times. It can be very important to pray together, while cleaning up, in preparation for guests coming for dinner, or an overnight slumber party. We might share the responsibility for "designing" the family prayer for special occasions: Birthdays, Anniversaries, the beginning and ending of a school year, when one of us is beginning any new endeavor. We may want to add some special prayer time if one of us is experiencing a personally anxious time or crisis. For example, if one of us has to wait for an appointment for a biopsy, and then wait for the results, we might place a special candle on our dining room table, and light it each evening as we remember that person in our prayer.
Simple Rituals:
It can be so easy to add gestures that bring powerful prayer to our family life. One of the simplest and most natural is to trace a cross on a loved one's forehead. It can speak volumes to a young child, if his or her parents were to give them this gesture of love and prayer. This ritual can be done everyday, when we part for the day, or at bed time, or it can be reserved for special prayers of blessing before a big event. And, it can be a powerful, faith-filled ritual for a husband and wife, as part of an every day pattern, or at times of great intimacy, to touch each other in blessing.
Any of the "symbols" that we refer to in our page, "Symbols in Our Home" can be a source of family ritual. Perhaps we have our own family gesture or ritual that speaks of our faith or draws us into prayer.
Praying for Each Other:
The most important part of family prayer is perhaps the easiest to overlook - how we hold each other up to the Lord. Even when we are not physically together, as a praying family, we want to pray for each other. In reality this means that I have a pattern of talking with the Lord about the people I love most dearly, each and every day. They become part of my very relationship with God. Whether we are a married couple with young children, or I am a single parent, or if my children have grown up and begun lives of their own, this aspect of family prayer is so important. My spouse and I may not share our faith; perhaps my spouse doesn't pray at all; but I can talk with the Lord about my spouse every day - sometimes asking for help, sometimes just expressing my gratitude, sometimes begging for the gift of faith for my spouse.
May our Lord bless our praying, in the community of our family,

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