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Fire Up Your Kids’ Prayer by Letting Them Lead

Photo: Katie W. via Flickr


Giving kids leadership responsibility appropriate to their development can boost their interest and investment in your family’s prayer life—and research shows that kids who have leadership responsibility for faith practices are more likely to continue them as adults.

Younger Children

Give choices. Let younger children choose which prayer to say; see Grab-Bag Prayers for some fun ways to do this.

Start prayer. Let them “lead” by saying the first few words of the prayer before everyone else joins in.

Let them pray for you. Invite them to pray for you—for example, to bless you at bedtime after you bless them, or to pray over you when you are sick or sad.

Older Children and Teens

Lead the rosary. Let older children and teens lead the rosary or other prayers, with help from you as necessary (see Pray the Rosary).

Prepare for prayer. Let them prepare part of your Family Prayer Time—the list of intentions, for example, or the choice of song.

Light a candle. Let them light the prayer candle or strike a bell to call you to prayer (see Smells and Bells).

Plan a prayer service. Invite teens to plan and lead a prayer service for Family Prayer Time that incorporates music, prayers, readings, and candles, incense, or bells. If they are especially ambitious, refer them to Church documents on liturgical practice, beginning with paragraphs 1136–1199 in the Catechism or its parallel in a teen catechism.

Serve the Church. Encourage older kids and teens to serve in liturgical ministries that are open to them: youth choir, altar server, usher, etc.

Follow Jerry Windley-Daoust:

Publisher, Gracewatch Media

Jerry Windley-Daoust is a writer, editor, and father of five. He writes essays and stories at Windhovering and is the show-runner for Gracewatch Media, a small Catholic publisher. You can follow his latest publishing projects at gracewatch.org.

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