For many Catholics, the thought of praying out loud at home with family members is daunting, suggesting moments of awkward pauses and fumbled words. But it doesn’t have to be that way. An 88-page Family Prayer Guide, written by clergy and lay leaders in the Diocese of Phoenix, contains practical suggestions and guidance for families to grow in their relationship with God through prayer in the home.
Family Prayer Guide
Copies are available for $10. Parishes, parish-based ministries and Catholic apostolates may purchase copies for $7 each.
Mike Phelan, diocesan director of the Office of Marriage and Respect Life, said parents often ask what they can do as a family beyond attending Sunday Mass together. “The Family Prayer Guide contains very easy to understand and, at the same time, rich suggestions for bringing prayer into our homes,” Phelan said. “It teaches how to bless your children, how to understand what prayer really is and even how to have a special family meal that connects your family in a special way to Jesus.”
Phelan said he hopes the Family Prayer Guide will help parents in their role as the primary educators of their children. For parents who might be unsure of how to conduct prayer in the home, he offered encouragement. “Plunge in — just try it,” Phelan said. “Perhaps begin with prayer before your meals together. God will not let you down. He will meet you there, wherever you begin, and grow the gift of His peace in your home. You are made for this, and your children are made to receive this precious gift from you.”
Sprinkled throughout the book are images of the Holy Family and scenes from Scripture. There’s also an assortment of photos depicting families praying together. In one, a family is gathered around the table; another shows a father blessing his young daughter.
The Family Prayer Guide was written to help families live out the Apostolic Exhortation “Complete My Joy” by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted. The rich array of artwork in the book is there, Bishop Olmsted said, because the beauty of the Catholic faith needs to be lifted up.
“There are times when beauty moves the heart or maybe opens the heart to Jesus and the Gospel,” Bishop Olmsted said. “So it’s a means to give people a sense of God’s goodness and also trusting that the beauty of this artwork will help them to see the beauty of the Catholic faith.”
The bishop hopes the Family Prayer Guide will help families to get closer to God and to each other. “I think there are a number of families that desire to have a deeper holiness within their families, to enter more deeply into conversion and union with Christ, but they may not have been raised in a family where they had habits of prayer within the home,” Bishop Olmsted said. The introduction to the book acknowledges the need for a manual on developing sanctity at home:
“The goal of this family prayer guide is to foster a home-life where all members of your family learn who they are and thrive as children of God, disciples of Jesus Christ and instruments of the Holy Spirit. It is our hope that by implementing the suggestions contained in this handbook your family will continually grow in faith, hope and love,” the introduction reads in part.