When you’re praying as a family, is it better to use the formal prayers of the church–like the rosary, traditional Grace-at-Meals, or a chaplet—or more conversational prayer?
We say, “Why not both?” It isn’t that one type of prayer is better than another type. It’s that they serve different purposes in our spiritual lives.
In our family, we like to think of formal prayers as the, “family prayers of the Church.” They connect us with the saints and angels and all the other members of our Church past and present! Praying the rosary with our kids, or the divine mercy chaplet, or an Our Father, or even traditional “grace-at-meals,” is like going to visit God alongside all our spiritual aunts and uncles and cousins. It’s like inviting the whole church to pray with us, so we’re never really alone.
But sometimes–just like it’s good to get more personal time with the people you love–it’s good to talk to God using words that are uniquely our own. Conversational prayer allows us to talk to God about our day, to thank him for specific blessings, ask him for special help, and discern his unique and unrepeatable plan for your life.
Helping our kids become fluent in both conversational and formal prayer allows them to experience their faith as something that is both personal TO them and bigger THAN them.
To help your kids have a more meaningful experience with all the different kinds of prayer the church has to offer, check out Discovering God Together: The Catholic Guide to Raising Faithful Kids