Catholic Commute S02E25 6 Ways to increase family prayer

One step to building your own domestic church

Prayer is hard.  Especially when it involves other people, but I often times struggle just to pray by myself!  I think though, in this particular culture, we have a greater need of prayer – both alone and in groups – than ever before.  As men, as Christians, we have a calling to step up and lead those around is in humble submission to the Lord through prayer.

In this episode I suggest 6 ways to increase your prayer life in your family.  I hope that everyone who listens can find at least a couple practical steps that you can try this week.  Be bold, and step up to lead yourself and your family in prayer. Things will change!

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S02E25 6 Ways to Increase Family Prayer


Patron Saint: Saint Joseph

March 19th is the feast day of the patron of the universal church, fathers, families, married people, and much more: Saint Joseph.

St. Joseph is one of the more obscure saints, and everything we know about him comes from Scripture. On the basic level we know that he was a poor carpenter of the line of King David. We also know that he is the foster father of Jesus and the earthly spouse of Mary the Mother of God.


Never speaks in scripture, but his “yes” echoes loudly.

Still working on this – but he says something to us men about living chastely as a husband.


  • Prayer dates to 50 AD

Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interest and desires.

Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.

Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him close in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me. Amen.



Pope Benedict XVI said in his Feb. 7, 2007, general audience remarks.

“Every home is called to become a ‘domestic church’ in which family life is completely centered on the lordship of Christ and the love of husband and wife mirrors the mystery of Christ’s love for the Church, his bride,”


  1. Start with your wife
    1. Pope John Paul II spoke of a Catholic couple’s call to holiness within that sacrament when he said, “Marriage is an act of will that signifies and involves a mutual gift, which unites the spouses and binds them to their eventual souls, with whom they make up a sole family — a domestic church.”
    2. Be confident, she likely wants to pray more than you do – and is looking to you for leadership
    3. Even if she doesn’t want to, she’ll likely follow if you start gently.
    4. Times to pray
      1. In Bed before sleep
      2. Meals, including in public
      3. Start/end of Car Trips
      4. When stressed or fighting
      5. Before sex
    5. Pray for her, by intention, during your prayer time
    6. Be humble and patient
  2. Include children
    1. St Teresa of Calcutta: “The best and surest way to learn the love of Jesus is through the family.”
    2. CCC 1666: “The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason the family home is rightly called ‘the domestic church,’ a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity”
    3. Children have the gift of momentum.  If you start it and keep it going long enough, they’ll pursue it more powerfully than you will
    4. Times to pray:
      1. Before bed time
      2. Meals, including public
      3. Before you go to work
      4. Before they go to school or leave the house
      5. When they are stressed or concerned.
    5. Blessing vs Cursing – teach them by example
  3. Keep it simple
    1. KISS
    2. Better humble sincerity than pompous exhortation
    3. Mathew 6: 7-9 “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

      9 “Pray then in this way: [our Father]
    4. There is nothing wrong with standardized prayers, but add in simple basic extras
    5. Lots of formulas, but basically you have (in order to teach)
      1. Thankfulness
      2. Petitions – what we need
      3. Intercessions – for others
      4. Blessing and Adoration – of God
    6. Kids will pick this up and echo it, almost to a fault
  4. Lead by sacrifice
    1. Story of Lt Colonel Hal Moore (We were soldiers) Lt. Colonel Hal Moore: I can’t promise you that I will bring you all home alive. But this I swear, before you and before Almighty God, that when we go into battle, I will be the first to set foot on the field, and I will be the last to step off, and I will leave no one behind. Dead or alive, we will all come home together. So help me, God.
    2. Leadership isn’t about giving orders, it’s about going first
    3. Be the first to pray about what’s really important in your heart, even if its embarrassing
    4. Be the loudest to pray in public
    5. Be gentle when starting the prayer
  5. Dive into scripture
    1. Numbers 6:24-26 24 The Lord bless you and keep you;
      25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
      26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
    2. Mark 1:11 “You are my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased”
    3. Story of Tobit
      1. Overview
      2. 8:4-5 When the parents[b] had gone out and shut the door of the room, Tobias got out of bed and said to Sarah,[c] “Sister, get up, and let us pray and implore our Lord that he grant us mercy and safety.” 5 So she got up, and they began to pray and implore that they might be kept safe.
      3. 8:5-7 “Blessed are you, O God of our ancestors,
           and blessed is your name in all generations forever.
        Let the heavens and the whole creation bless you forever.
        6 You made Adam, and for him you made his wife Eve
           as a helper and support.
           From the two of them the human race has sprung.
        You said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone;
           let us make a helper for him like himself.’
        7 I now am taking this kinswoman of mine,
           not because of lust,
           but with sincerity.
        Grant that she and I may find mercy
           and that we may grow old together.”
      4. 8:9-14 But Raguel arose and called his servants to him, and they went and dug a grave, 10 for he said, “It is possible that he will die and we will become an object of ridicule and derision.” 11 When they had finished digging the grave, Raguel went into his house and called his wife, 12 saying, “Send one of the maids and have her go in to see if he is alive. But if he is dead, let us bury him without anyone knowing it.” 13 So they sent the maid, lit a lamp, and opened the door; and she went in and found them sound asleep together. 14 Then the maid came out and informed them that he was alive and that nothing was wrong.
  6. Be bold
    1. The devil is strongly against you leading your family in prayer
    2. there will be temptations and challenges
    3. Like Tobit, there is life and death riding on your choices
    4. Bishop Olmsted (Phoenix): I begin this letter with a clarion call and clear charge to you, my sons and brothers in Christ: Men, do not hesitate to engage in the battle that is raging around you, the battle that is wounding our children and families, the battle that is distorting the dignity of both women and men. This battle is often hidden, but the battle is real. It is primarily spiritual, but it is progressively killing the remaining Christian ethos in our society and culture, and even in our own homes.
      The world is under attack by Satan, as our Lord said it would be (1 Peter 5:8-14). This battle is occurring in the Church herself, and the devastation is all too evident. Since AD 2000, 14 million Catholics have left the faith, parish religious education of children has dropped by 24%, Catholic school attendance has dropped by 19%, infant baptism has dropped by 28%, adult baptism has dropped by 31%, and sacramental Catholic marriages have dropped by 41%.1
      This is a serious breach, a gaping hole in Christ’s battle lines. While the Diocese of Phoenix has fared better than these national statistics, the losses are staggering. One of the key reasons that the Church is faltering under the attacks of Satan is that many Catholic men have not been willing to “step into the breach” – to fill this gap that lies open and vulnerable to further attack. A large number have left the faith, and many who remain “Catholic” practice the faith timidly and are only minimally committed to passing the faith on to their children. Recent research shows that large numbers of young Catholic men are leaving the faith to become “nones” – men who have no religious affiliation. The growing losses of
      young Catholic men will have a devastating impact on the Church in America in the coming decades, as older men pass away and young men fail to remain and marry in the Church, accelerating the losses that have already occurred.


  1. Start with your wife
  2. Include children
  3. Keep it simple
  4. Lead by sacrifice
  5. Dive into scripture
  6. Be bold


Tim Keller: “It is remarkable that in all of his writings Paul’s prayers for his friends contain no appeals for changes in their circumstances.”

“Jesus Christ taught his disciples to pray, healed people with prayers, denounced the corruption of the temple worship (which, he said, should be a ‘house of prayer’), and insisted that some demons could be cast out only through prayer. He prayed often and regularly with fervent cries and tears (Heb. 5:7), and sometimes all night. The Holy Spirit came upon him and anointed him as he was praying (Luke 3:21–22), and he was transfigured with the divine glory as he prayed (Luke 9:29). When he faced his greatest crisis, he did so with prayer. We hear him praying for his disciples and the church on the night before he died (John 17:1–26) and then petitioning God in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. Finally, he died praying.”


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