In this lesson we will talk about building a home prayer space and the idea that the family is the domestic church. We will focus on why every family should have a place to pray and how to make one! If you have not yet gone through the tutorial and completed the activity at the end, be sure to do so!
Introduction Video and Opening Prayer
As a family read this passage from the Book of Deuteronomy:
Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Never forget these commands I am giving you today. Teach them to your children. Repeat them at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working.Deuteronomy 6: 5-7 (translation from The Catholic Children’s Bible.)
This is part of a Jewish prayer called the Shema. It was the most important prayer for the Jews of Jesus’ time. It was so important that they said it every single day. In fact, Jesus would have learned it from Mary and Joseph, at home as a child in Nazareth! Our homes are where we first learn how to pray, and it is something God has always wanted us to do as a family.
Prayer helps make us holy. To be holy means to be set apart for God. When we set aside a place to pray as a family, we are reminding ourselves that prayer is important to us. A family prayer space can help us build a habit of prayer. If you walk by everyday and see your prayer space, don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting to pray!
Having a place to pray as a family is an important part of this year’s program. Over the next two weeks, we are asking you to build your family prayer space and post a picture of it in the chat area below. There are activities at the end of the lesson that are options to help you do this. Feel free to be creative and think outside of the box! We encourage you to update and add to this space throughout the year, but its important to get a good start.
Prayer within families can have a powerful effect! St. Monica whose feast day is August 27th, prayed years for the conversion of her family. Her son, who had wandered far away from God, eventually converted. Maybe you’ve heard of him – he’s St. Augustine!
St. Monica shows us how faith and prayer not only help us through the challenges of life, but also accomplish real change! We all have people in our families who need prayer, maybe you could add a picture of them to your prayer space as a reminder.
St. Monica is a wonderful role model for those of us who love our families, but still need some help at times. You could say she is the patron saint of mothers who “Have had it up to here!” Her story shows us prayer is powerful. God destined us to be born into our family, and he knows what he is doing. He wants us to help each other get to heaven. This is another reason we call the family the domestic church!
God wants all of us to be saints and saints don’t only come from perfect families. In fact, with the exception of the Holy Family, which is our model, all of the saints have come from messy families like ours! Even the Holy Family had challenges, and they had the advantage of Mary and Jesus being sinless. Parents, the next time you are tempted to be down on yourself, remember Mary and Joseph lost the Son of God for three whole days! (Luke 2:41-52). You’re doing fine; God still loves you!
Let us pray!
Below is a link to a novena to St. Monica. A novena is typically a short prayer that is said nine days in a row for a particular intention. If there is someone in your family in need of prayer, especially someone far from God or the Church, this is a great way to show your love for them! St. Monica is also a wonderful intercessor for any need close to your family’s heart. The saints are those who are with God in Heaven. We ask for them to pray for us to God and we do our best to follow their example.
Live It Out Activities.
Here are some craft ideas to help you create your prayer space:
You can also decorate candles, place flowers, put out a bowl for holy water, or use a different colored linen according to the Church calendar (now would be green for ordinary time). Your imagination is your only limit!
Optional Activity: In your Catholic Children’s bible, go to pages 254-255 to learn more about the Bible verse from Deuteronomy we started with. There’s even a fun activity for you to write your own letter to God!
More to Explore!