Friday, March 6, 2020

How Can I Pray With My Kids?

"BIBLE TIME!" my kids holler at the end of each day, as we gather in their bedroom.

We call it "Bible Time," but we don't always read the Bible. Sometimes we read a devotional book. Sometimes we pray Night Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. Sometimes we pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy or a Rosary

Sometimes I'm so tired that I just lay on the bedroom floor next to our dog and ask my 10-year-old to read the Bible story for us. 



Sometimes we talk about how a Bible character reminds us of someone from school or church or our neighborhood. We marvel how God loves every person, even mean people. We brainstorm how to deal with bullies or impatient bus drivers or teachers who don't seem to like us. 

Sometimes I have to apologize to my kids because the Bible story makes me feel guilty about something from earlier in the day. My kids love hearing me apologize. It always breaks down walls and ends in hugs. And it teaches them how to apologize to each other.

Sometimes I tell my kids all the unique traits that I love about them, and we wonder how God might use them and their special gifts.

"You're so creative! Your art shows me the world in a new way."

"You have extraordinary intuition. Did you know -- you are Jesus' hands and feet when you see others in need and help them?"

"You're great at reaching out to include everyone. Maybe God will call you to be a priest!" 

"You make us laugh." "You give great hugs." "You notice all the details." "You are so organized." "You listen well to your friends." ...

Sometimes there's a scripture verse that none of us understand. "I don't know." "That's a good question." "Why don't you ask your RE teacher this week?" "Maybe we can look it up tomorrow."

Sometimes we read Old Testament stories and gape at the violence. Sometimes we read New Testament letters and reflect on the hope. Sometimes we read Psalms and muse through the poetry. We pause in silence and think about what we read.

Sometimes "Bible Time" lasts 3 minutes. Sometimes "Bible Time" lasts 45 minutes. 

Sometimes the conversation turns serious, about corruption in the Church, secular politics, or war. 

Sometimes the conversation turns silly, about eyeballs or farts or if heaven has video games.

Sometimes we talk about doctrine, hermeneutics, literary techniques, or apologetics, at whatever level they can handle. Mostly, we talk about life.

Sometimes my husband leads Bible Time. Sometimes I lead Bible Time. Sometimes we both lead Bible Time. Sometimes our kids lead Bible Time. 

We end in prayer: "Thank you, Lord, for our day." "Please forgive me for..." "Please give me wisdom for..." "Please take care of my friend... my family member... my teacher..." "Help me have good dreams tonight." "I love you."

Then each child receives a blessing, inspired by Fr Bob Lewandowski from the UNT Catholic Campus Center 20 years ago: "May Jesus Christ bless you, keep you happy, healthy, and holy. Amen!"

Whatever happens in Bible Time -- whether serious or silly, 3 minutes or 45 minutes -- the biggest goal is simply that my kids know, without a doubt, at the end of each day:

They are loved. By God and by me.



Photo by David Beale via Freely, CCO Public Domain.



*Also published March 2020 at CatholicMom and Sacred Heart Blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment