Catholic Commute S01E23 7 Steps to Improving Your Family Prayer Life

Guiding your children to the power and value of prayer

If learning to pray oneself is hard, teaching and leading your kids may seem nearly impossible.  Yet, if you don’t do it (and let’s be honest, it is primarily your job!) then who else will?  This is a super critical element of parenthood – teaching and communicating the faith.  Teaching children can be slow, painful, and frustrating.

In this episode I try to break it down a little bit into 7 practical steps that I have found useful to help my own children learn to pray.  You can start to build these basic habits and practices when they are very young.  It isn’t easy, but it will carry great weight forward.  One surprising side benefit is that it helps to keep me more honest in my prayer life!

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Prayer part 2: 7 steps to improve your family prayer


To get nations back on their feet, we must first get down on our knees. —Billy Graham


My dad used to sit me on his knee and read from the Bible to us. We were a praying family. Ours was a family of love and a family of prayer. Roma Downey


  1. Recognize the importance of fathers in the prayer life.
  2. Honestly assess where you are at
    1. “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.”–St. Augustine
    2. How does your family think of you – what do they see?
    3. What prayers do your children know?  What prayer pattern do they have?
    4. How big of an obstacle do you have to overcome?
    5. Be honest, be humble
  3. Set regular times
    1. Meal times.
    2. Even eating out
    3. Bed times
    4. At mass oppportunities
    5. Morning
  4. Set appropriate goals
    1. “I do not pray because it changes God… I pray because it changes me.”
    2. Expect bumps
    3. Do not get angry at the children when something goes wrong
    4. They’re going to rebel a bit
    5. They’re going to test your love
  5. Be a role model
    1. Pray so the kids can see you
    2. Say something first, then encourage them to follow
    3. Give them specific encouragements, I like “thankful” topics
    4. Also ask about petition topics
    5. Watch out for list-litany
  6. Encourage what you see
    1. “Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.” Oswald Chambers.
    2. Praise even little efforts
    3. Go out of your way to be excited
    4. A subtle high-5 even in mass is OK
    5. Brag about them to others when they can hear – especially your spouse
    6. Remind them of previous success, and assure them of future wins
  7. Bless those you love
    1. Blessing is the opposite of cursing
    2. The danger of swearing/Cursing
      1. Ephesians 4:29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up,[a] as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.
      2. James 3: 9-12 – 9 With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters,[a] this ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters,[b] yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.
      3. Mark 11:12 – Jesus curses the fig tree
      4. Bible filled with examples of cursing
    3. Blessing is the opposite of cursing, and we have that power
    4. Bless your children in evening and/or when you leave
    5. They will come to expect it
    6. Do not be embarassed, it is a good thing you are doing!


C S Lewis “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.”

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