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Helping form praying children into praying adults

Teaching them from small to pray, may ensure when they become adults they maintain the habit. Photo source: arlingtondiocese.org

By Sophie Barcant, BA (Psyc), B.ED. Trainer, Facilitator, Parenting Coach/Consultant

We say bedtime prayers with our children, we go to church and they go to Catholic schools, isn’t that enough?

I ended my previous article (CN, August 18) on raising praying children saying that there is a lot out there competing for their souls. Jesus said “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt 12:34).

What would we like our children to converse and think about?

What shall we allow them to fill their hearts with, so that they live and speak wisely, kindly and honestly?

Clearly positive content but more than that, we must form them so as to guard their souls. Who or what is really forming them?

If we arm them with prayer and information about our faith, they will be in a better position to make wise choices and stand up to misinformation that will be coming their way.

Our Archbishop sees that teaching our youth to pray and having a relationship with God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit is vital in forming them and raises the chance that they will keep the faith.

As a catechist I understand this to be one of the major aims of present confirmation programmes. The Church and our Catholic schools are doing their part to support us parents in protecting the souls of our children. Let’s be grateful to them and do our part in our homes praying with our children casually throughout the day.

Holiness is for everyone on this planet; the more we pray the more our lives will reflect the values of God. As naturally as we greet one another on mornings let’s teach our children to greet and thank God for each new day while offering our bodies in His service and our work as prayer.

Let’s read a few verses of the New Testament together imagining being in the scene. Let’s pray a decade of the rosary in the car with them. Let’s say Grace before and after meals with our children praying for those in need, and end with bedtime prayers.

Neuroscience is proving that people who meditate cope with stress better, live longer and tend to be happier. Let’s meditate with our children sitting in silence slowly focusing on Jesus’ name, or Maranatha, or words like peace, love or joy.

In this way we raise the chances of them becoming praying adults and we protect their precious souls from subtle forces that seek to take them from us. Most importantly let’s remember our smallness as we seek like John the Baptist to “decrease so that He may increase” (Jn 3:30), putting our overactive egos aside to allow God’s spirit to indwell and possess us.

As Archbishop Gordon wrote in his column ‘Consider the golden rule’, (CN, August 11) let’s humbly ask Our Heavenly Father to show us how to pray. He who humbles himself will be exalted; humility is the foundation of prayer.

Only when we humbly acknowledge that “we do not know how to pray as we ought,” are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer. “Man is a beggar before God.”

All these little practices conducted cumulatively and naturally without rigid force, by God’s grace should form praying children/adults, along with our constant prayers of protection for them of course.

Follow Sophies_parenting_support on Instagram and FB. Read Sophie’s blogs on www.parentingcoachconsultant.com