Prayer

How Do You Pray? 5 Daily Prayers for Busy Families

on Friday, 16 June 2017. Amy Brooks Posted in How Do You Pray?, Family Faith, Prayer

How Do You Pray?  5 Daily Prayers for Busy Families

Our family life is hectic, chaotic and disorganized.  And that was before we were blessed with children.

There are certain times we do come together to pray on a consistent basis, and, well – if we can do it, then I am sure you can too!

When do we pray?

We pray consistently before meals and before bedtime.

We make a serious effort to eat dinner as a family. Lately, it has been a challenge and it doesn’t always happen, but that is not the norm. One thing we do well is family dinner time.

If having dinner together in your family is the norm, that makes praying beforehand a completely attainable goal.

We also pray before bedtime.

Part of our “tucking in” routine involves bedtime prayer. In our house it usually is just one parent at this stage, but we have done this as a family as well.

How Do You Pray? A Stay-At-Home Mom's Prayer Routine

on Wednesday, 24 May 2017. Brittany Miller Posted in How Do You Pray?, Praying with Children, Family Faith, Prayer

How Do You Pray?  A Stay-At-Home Mom's Prayer Routine

For our family, prayer is always present, but very changeable. Our routine may change due to preference, a change in liturgical season, welcoming a baby and making prayer fit with the changing ages of our children. Though our prayer routine fluctuates often, we never go a day without praying at least a little bit.

How Do You Pray?

on Tuesday, 25 April 2017. Posted in How Do You Pray?, Family Faith, Prayer

Daily Prayer Routines

How Do You Pray?

Life makes many demands on today’s families, and lives are often full and hectic. Finding the time for prayer can seem difficult - especially if you aren’t sure where to begin or how to pray as a family.

Make a Plan

John Piper, in his book Desiring God, says that a main hindrance to prayer is our lack of planning:

"If you want to take a four-week vacation, you don't just get up one summer morning and say, 'Hey, let's go today!' You won't have anything ready. You won't know where to go. Nothing has been planned."

Take the time to create a plan for your own personal prayer life.  It doesn’t have to be rigidly followed, but can serve as a grounding reminder -- a thriving, regular, consistent time of worship of and communion with God in prayer.

Tools to Help

We have developed four tools to help you get started developing your personal prayer routine...

Advent: Unprepared to be Prepared

on Monday, 28 November 2016. Kristin Bird Posted in Family Faith, Prayer, Advent, Seasons

A Season of Preparation, Holy Waiting, and Hopeful Anticipation

First Sunday of Advent

It's the First Week of Advent, but you wouldn't know it at our house. The wreath and calendar are still packed away in the basement. I have made no plans for what additions I will make to my prayer life for the next few weeks. Apart from the fantastic seasonal nail art I helped my 7 year old with last night, I have not even discussed the season of Advent with my children.

advent nail art
Advent nail art gives a whole new meaning to wearing your faith on your sleeve!

The wreath lighting at Mass this morning made me realize that I had procrastinated too long. Advent has started, and I'm not ready.

Then came this morning's social media onslaught. My news feeds were filled with blog posts, book reviews, youtube videos, and list after list of the best ways to enter into the season...

 

Pray Your Way to an Evangelizing Heart

on Thursday, 01 September 2016. Kristin Bird Posted in For Parish Leaders, New Evangelization, Prayer

Pray Your Way to an Evangelizing Heart

At it's core, the New Evangelization has everything to do with this question: Do I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?

If we want to be intentional disciples who live the New Evanglization in our parishes, schools, workplaces, and homes, we must begin by deepening our own relationships with God.

A central tenet of Pope Benedict XVI's teaching on the New Evangelization focused on the centrality of prayer in this mission. Benedict XVI understands prayer as holding a two-fold significance in evangelization:

Understanding the "Hail Mary"

on Tuesday, 08 September 2015. Posted in Prayer

Along with the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary is one of the most widely used prayers in the Catholic Church. The first half of the Hail Mary comes from Luke’s Gospel accounts of the Angel Gabriel’s annunciation to Mary that she was called to be the Mother of God’s Son (Lk 1:26-56).

St. John Paul II explains that although the Hail Mary is addressed to Our Lady, "it is to Jesus that the act of love is ultimately directed" (RVM, no. 26).  Every time we recite the Hail Mary, we are repeating the words of Gabriel and Elizabeth.  In doing so, we enter into the ecstatic joy of "heaven and earth" over the mystery of Christ: heaven, represented by Gabriel, and earth, represented by Elizabeth.

“Hail Mary, full of grace.”

800px Fra Angelico 069Annunciation - Fra Angelico

This is the greeting the Angel Gabriel spoke to Mary of Nazareth. Gabriel proclaims that Mary is full of grace, meaning that she is a sinless woman, blessed with a deep union with God, who had come to dwell in her.

In awe over that profound mystery of his eternal God becoming a little embryo in Mary's womb, Gabriel greets Mary.  The grace with which Mary is filled is the very life of God who is the source of all grace.

Reflect:  Allow yourself to greet Mary in the same way and to exult in the same joy in Mary that God had for her.  Imagine yourself bowing with the deepest respect before our Queen and Mother - imitating the reverence shown to her even by such a great being as an archangel.

7 Day Virtual Marriage Retreat

on Friday, 24 July 2015. Posted in Family Faith, Prayer

7 Day Virtual Marriage Retreat

Looking for a way to enrich your marriage? Sign up for our 7 Day Virtual Marriage Retreat!

How it Works:

Each day you will receive the day's retreat via email.

Plan to set aside some time for prayer each day for the seven days of the retreat.

When you get to your prayer time, open the email and read about the theme for the day, reflect on a real-life marriage scenario, and think about ways to strengthen your own marriage.

If possible, do the retreat together with your spouse!

Materials Needed:

All you need is about 15 minutes a day and access to your email!

There are questions for reflection/discussion included each day. Some retreat participants also like to have a journal available to jot down their thoughts.

Sign Up Today!



 

Retreat Schedule:

Day 1: Marriage is a Blessing and a Gift

Day 2: Marriage is the Unique Union of a Man and a Woman

Day 3: Marriage is a Communion of Love and Life

Day 4: Marriage is a Sacrament of Christ’s Love

Day 5: Marriage is the Foundation of the Family and Society

Day 6: Marriage is a Journey of Human and Spiritual Growth

Day 7: Marriage is a School of Love and Gratitude

BONUS! Day 8:  Now What?  Keep a Good Thing Going

Send Them Off With Prayer

on Monday, 06 July 2015. Posted in Praying with Children, Family Faith, Prayer

Have a child heading off for camp or a mission trip?  Preparing for a road trip? Sending a college student back to school?  This prayer is a great way to keep Christ at the center of any journey you may be taking!

Litany of the Way: Prayer for the Journey

As Jesus sought the quiet of the desert,
teach us to pray.

As Jesus washed the feet of his disciples,
teach us to love.

As Jesus promised paradise to the thief on the cross,
teach us to hope.

As Jesus called Peter to walk to him across the water,
teach us to believe.

As the child Jesus sat among the elders in the temple,
teach us to seek answers.

As Jesus in the garden opened his mind and heart to God’s will,
teach us to listen.

As Jesus reflected on the Law and the prophets,
teach us to learn.

As Jesus used parables to reveal the mysteries of
the Kingdom, teach us to teach.

Amen.


Prayer taken from the Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers, Revised Edition, copyright © 2007, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Praying When You're Too Busy To Pray

on Friday, 26 June 2015. Brittany Miller Posted in How Do You Pray?, Family Faith, Prayer, Resource Reviews

Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves by Jason EvertOur church bookclub recently finished the book Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves by Jason Evert. Part biography and part explanation of five things Mr. Evert deemed most important to this amazing pope and saint, the book was a page-turning and inspiring read.

It must be impossible to read about this great saint without desiring to amend some aspect of one’s own life in imitation of his holiness. Among the amazing aspects of Saint John Paul the Great’s life was his devotion to near constant prayer.

My own prayer life had been inconsistent and of little depth in recent months, so I decided that now would be the perfect time to make some changes.

 

Stations of the Cross

on Wednesday, 25 February 2015. Posted in Praying with Children, Family Faith, Prayer, Lent

Stations of the Cross

 

The Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion.  

All Catholic parishes have depictions of Christ’s Passion and death called the Stations of the Cross, The Way of the Cross or Via Dolorosa (way of suffering) In many churches, the Stations of the Cross are depicted in stained-glass windows, but other media are used as well, including paintings and stone or wood carvings and sculptures.  Often on Friday evenings during Lent, you can find a parish that’s open with Catholics meditating and saying prayers in unison before each of the 14 stations.

The Stations of the Cross is a Lenten devotion that offers witness to Jesus’ Passion and Death. Often, the Stations of the Cross is an action prayer. Catholics walk to the fourteen stations of the Way of the Cross and stop to pray at each one.  At each station we use our senses and our imagination to reflect prayerfully upon Jesus’ suffering, Death, and Resurrection, and to simply experience the visual images to reflect on Christ’s love for us.

We've listed the best Way of the Cross prayer resources for...

Journey to the Cross: Prayer for Lent

on Thursday, 19 February 2015. Posted in Prayer, Lent

FREE Prayer Plan Worksheet

Journey to the Cross: Prayer for Lent

It all Starts with Prayer

Without prayer, our Lenten observances (getting ashes, giving up sweets, abstaining from meat on Fridays, dropping coins in the Rice Bowl) are traditions without meaning.

St. Clement of Alexandria (third century) defined prayer as "conversation with God" - a conversation that never ends.  In the Scriptures, St. Paul says: "Pray at all times" (Eph 6:18); "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess 5:1); and "be constant in prayer" (Rom 12:12). He saw prayer as endless conversation.

Mike Aquilina understands that this call seems a tad unrealistic to many of us:

Journey to the Cross: Fasting for Lent

on Thursday, 19 February 2015. Posted in Prayer, Lent

Practical Suggestions for Fasting

Journey to the Cross: Fasting for Lent

More than a 40 day diet

Fasting is an act of self-denial.  Often it refers to food, but broadly speaking it is giving up something that is good for the purpose of deepening our spiritual life and making acts of reparation for our sin or the sin of others. 

Deacon Mike Bickerstaff at Integrated Catholic explains:

[Fasting] also serves to be a penance or a sacrifice - for the purpose of strengthening us. When we don't eat, for even a little while, we get hungry. When we get hungry, we have a heightened sense of awareness. If, when we eat too much, we have a sluggish feeling, when we fast, we have a feeling of alertness. Fasting is a wonderful exercise whenever we want to sincerely ask for an important grace from God. It is not that our fasting "earns" God's attention, but by fasting, we clarify our thinking and our feeling. It is purifying and prepares us to pray more deeply.

Full Contact Faith During Lent: Prayer

on Monday, 02 February 2015. Posted in Prayer, Lent, Seasons

3 PIllars of Lent

Full Contact Faith During Lent: Prayer

This is part of a 3 part series on the 3 Pillars of Lent.  Read the parts on Fasting and Almsgiving for more ideas on how to make your faith Full Contact this Lent!


While it may seem sometimes that being a Catholic Christian is a passive, primarily mental activity, the reality is that being a follower of Christ is a full-time, full-contact sport.

As Father Sergius Halvorsen points out, St. Paul often uses sports imagery when speaking about what it means to be a true disciple of Christ.

He says that he does not run aimlessly, nor does he "box as one beating the air." Rather, he "pommels" his body and subdues it. (1 Cor 9:24-7)...[he] encourages us to "run with perseverance the race that is set before us" (Heb 12:1) because our goal is a heavenly prize.

St. Paul points out that athletes exercise self-control in all things in order to be victorious (1Cor 9:25).  If athletic discipline was obvious in St. Paul’s day, then it should be even more obvious in our culture with its preoccupation with professional sports.  The athlete cannot pigeonhole his or her athletic life.  One cannot eat junk food and sit on the couch throughout the off-season and expect to make the team. Similarly, Christ challenges us to follow Him three hundred sixty five days a year, which means that we lead a life of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. 

Cardio Training: Prayer

In the same way that cardio-vascular exercise strengthens our physical heart, prayer strengthens our spiritual hearts. To pray means that we take time every day to intentionally still our minds and focus on the person of Jesus.  We listen to God speaking to us in the silence, or in His Word and we talk to him.  Just like with cardio workouts, the more time we spend in prayer strenghtening our spiritual hearts, the easier it becomes to have longer sessions with greater intensity.

heart-health-prayer

Prayer opens our hearts and minds to the love of God, and allows us to be filled with the grace which God abundantly pours out upon us.

Here are a few ways to add to your prayer life this Lent:

  • Commit to 5 more mintues of daily prayer than you are doing right now
  • Attend the Stations of the Cross
  • Spend 1 Hour in Eucharistic Adoration
  • Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation
  • Take our Prayer Survey to get suggestions and resources tailored to you.

Prayer, fasting and almsgiving more than just "Lenten disciplines." They are essential to our basic health and well being: they are fundamental to the Christian life.


Adapted and with quotes from "Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving: They're Not Just For Lent Anymore" by F.r Sergius Halvorsen.

 

Advent: Are you Unprepared to be Prepared?

on Sunday, 30 November 2014. Kristin Bird Posted in Family Faith, Prayer, Advent, Seasons

A Season of Preparation, Holy Waiting, and Hopeful Anticipation

advent week 1

It's the First Sunday of Advent, but you wouldn't know it at our house. The wreath and calendar are still packed away in the basement. I have made no plans for what additions I will make to my prayer life for the next few weeks. Apart from the fantastic seasonal nail art I helped my 7 year old with last night, I have not even discussed the season of Advent with my children.

advent nail art
Advent nail art gives a whole new meaning to wearing your faith on your sleeve!

The wreath lighting at Mass this morning made me realize that I had procrastinated too long. Advent has started, and I'm not ready.

Then came this morning's social media onslaught. My news feeds were filled with blog posts, book reviews, youtube videos, and list after list of the best ways to enter into the season...

 

Praying with Children

on Friday, 28 November 2014. Posted in Praying with Children, Family Faith, Prayer

Tip #1: Foster Your Own Prayer Life

prayingwithchildren

Life makes many demands on today's families and lives are often full and hectic. Finding the time for prayer can seem difficult - especially if you aren't sure where to begin or how to pray as a family. Praying and growing together as a family is a gift that will sustain each member of your family throughout the storms of this life and one that will prepare you all for the next life.

Tip #1:  Foster Your Own Prayer Life

From the newborn who sticks out her tongue after watching Mom do it, to the toddler who snags dad's phone and pretends to send a text, to the child who gathers his friends to play school, children learn best through imitation. It is no different with prayer.

Making time to foster your own prayer life and letting your children see you pray does more to teach them about the value of prayer than any book, DVD, or religion class lesson ever can...

 

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