As the new year begins, people almost can't help but make resolutions. We want to lose weight, eat healthier, sleep more, take a vacation and the like. But what about resolutions for your prayer life, whether individually or as a family? Too often we can become focused on the external changes we want to make while neglecting our own spiritual growth. Below you'll find some ideas on how to deepen your prayer life both individually and as a family.
Does your home – or perhaps each room in your home – have a prayer space or corner? Prayer spaces can be simple or ornate, but having a space in your own reminds us that we are the Church. Church is not merely a place we go to on the weekends; it must be lived out in our daily lives.
Prayer corners/spaces can run the gamut, but some general ideas include a table or kneeler, cloths coordinated to the current liturgical season, a statue or icon, and a prayer candle. Should you choose, your prayer space can also have an area for rosaries. My husband and I have a number of rosaries on our prayer table, and as our children grow, we look forward to giving them a chance to pick their own rosaries to use at night for our shared prayer time.
Did you know that you can keep holy water in your home? All you need to transport the holy water from your local church to your home is a holy water bottle. You can either keep the holy water in that same bottle and use it to bless yourself and your home, or you may want to place holy water fonts near your doors or in each bedroom. Having holy water in the home reminds us of our baptism and encourages us to bless ourselves and our children daily.
One simple way to draw closer to the heart of God this year is to dive into Scripture. Often times this is an overwhelming prospect, so start simple: the daily readings. The Magnificat (or MagnifiKid for children) is a beautiful way to read each day's readings, which takes only a few minutes. As an added bonus, The Magnificat offers short reflections on the readings, as well as the lives of saints. The readings can be done individually, as a couple, or as a family.
Year of Mercy
Pope Francis has declared this year to be a Jubliee Year of Mercy. If you are unsure what mercy is all about, try reading up on St. Faustina and the image of the Divine Mercy. This Year of Mercy is a wonderful opportunity to teach children about mercy and just how merciful God is to each and every one of us. Additionally, if it has been a while since you've been to confession, try returning to the Sacrament and experiencing God's mercy for yourself! If it has been a while since you've been to confession, or you just need to remember the steps, fear not – there are plenty of guides to confession to ease any anxieties you may have about confession.
Try Something New!
Whether you want to start small or big, don't be afraid to try something new in your prayer life this year, especially with your family. While individual prayer life and spirituality are important, so too is family prayer time. Remember, the Faith is lived out in community and that community includes our family. Even if you try out one of the ideas above and find it isn't a perfect fit for your family, keep trying until you find something that does work. God longs to pour out His grace and mercy into your family life.
We want to hear from you!
What do you do to bring the Faith home? If you have a prayer corner, share a picture on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #prayercorner.