Thursday, January 17, 2008

Prayer Time

We want prayers to be an important part of our day. We do take our conversations with God very seriously. We are a happy, joy filled group that struggle with concentration. I remember years ago dreaming of a large family that would kneel each morning and night together to say their prayers. A family rosary would be the thing that held us together. I spent years in denial and frustration. We would start our prayer time and it would get chaotic. I would beat myself up and yell like crazy. These "unholy hooligans" were ruining my prayer time. God is so good to me. He calmly spoke to my heart.
"These are my children, I want them to talk with me, I like the way they are not the way you think they should be!"
I am slow to understand Him sometimes but I do enjoy our family prayer time. It might not be good for your family but it is perfect for ours. On as many nights as we can we gather together to pray.

1) SIGN OF THE CROSS - This is a big prayer for the little ones.
2) We all say the names of our Godparents, then mom and dad say the name of their God children. We ask Mary to help each of them with a HAIL MARY.
3) Special intentions. This is the longest and sometimes most challenging part of our prayer time. It can get long, but it is my total favorite. When someone is kind enough to ask you to pray for their intentions you have a window into their soul. I love that our family shares these prayers with each other. We try to limit ourselves to 3 each. (It sounds mean to say, but each of the kiddos will list 10 minutes worth of prayer, and we all miss bed time. After each person says around 3 then we also pray for all those that we couldn't list that night. We offer the OUR FATHER for all these prayers.
4) The next prayer is for an increase in vocations and for all good and holy priests. We list two of our favorites every night with others sneaking in every now and again. We also include the intention of anyone mislead my miss guided priests. We offer this with the Hail, Holy Queen.
5)/6) If we remember we add GLORY BE TO THE FATHER and the Memorare here. We often skip these and go right into the next bunch.
7) Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep
8) Holy Michael, the Archangel, Defend Us in Battle
9) Guardian Angel
10) Prayer for the Home This is a little known prayer but a wonderful one to say the least. It is one of my favorites.
11) Now we ask everyone to close their eyes while we do a small and quick examination of conscience. I will say, "Now we need to call to mind our sins, what have we done or not done that would be sinful. Did we yell at each other,not listen to mom or dad or our children, did we say bad words, did we hit?" They know not to answer out loud and often they will offer suggestions to each other. (They are not supposed, but it happens.) Then we say the Act of Contrition together.
12) SIGN OF THE CROSS - to close things up.
13) If I have not completely lost my mind, no one has been injured during prayer time and as they walk upstairs we will try to ask our saint to pray for us. Each child will call out their favorite Saint or their namesake and we will all say "Pray for us!"

Our prayer time is simple. It is what God wants of us for now. It isn't too much and it isn't too structured. I am glad God loves us for who we are. We are always trying to add to our prayers and include more. Just today Goobers asked if we could add The Angelus before lunch again. We will try. My prayer for you is that you remember to keep is simple and faithful. If you are waiting until they are big enough to meditate on the rosary with you, then you are missing some wonderful family prayer time. Our prayer time is special, crazy, loud, wonderful and only looks like prayer to Him. After I gave up on what prayer time should look like I discovered what He wants from our family. We are called to talk with Him, share with Him, cry with Him, and even laugh with Him. Most importantly we are called to be faithful to Him.

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