If your family likes to sing, there is no reason why you can’t incorporate that love of music into your prayer time. Here are some ways to begin.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes St. Augustine as saying, “He who sings prays twice” (1157), and St. Paul urges Christians to “be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:18–20).
If your family likes to sing, there is no reason why you can’t incorporate that love of music into your prayer time. Here are some ways to begin:
Sing what you already know. Think of religious hymns or songs you know by heart. Simple liturgical responses from the Mass, such as a sung “Amen” or “Alleluia” would be a good starting place for incorporating song into your Family Prayer Time.
Learn church music. Purchase or borrow your parish’s hymnal and sing your favorite “church songs” together. Try to learn the most common ones by heart, to make sung participation in the Mass easier.
Sing along to popular religious music. Purchase religious children’s music and learn the more prayerful songs with your child. (See suggestions below.)
Add an instrument, start a band. If anyone in your family plays an instrument, have him play along. Give younger children kid-friendly instruments (shakers, jingle bell sticks, clappers, tambourines, etc.) to help them “make a joyful noise to the Lord” (Psalm 100:1).
OCP offers a wide variety of excellent resources, including contemporary Catholic and liturgical music in MP3 and CD format. Of particular interest is Stories and Songs of Jesus, More Stories and Songs of Jesus, and Many More Stories and Songs of Jesus.These CS sets contain stories of Jesus interspersed with simple songs that your kids can sing along to. For older kids, check out OCP’s extensive catalog of contemporary Catholic music in a wide range of styles.
Standin’ On the Rock is an independently produced album of lively music that grade school kids will love, and adults might just find themselves singing along to as well.
Dogma Dogs [Amazon] is a more catechetical-oriented album; we haven’t heard it, but the reviews on Amazon are glowing. “The lively songs make learning the Ecumencial Councils, Ten Commandments and the Two Greatest Commandments fun and easy,” according to one reviewer.
Kids Sing for Jesus [Amazon] is another album with a catechetical bent, but it also includes simple praise and worship songs that little kids will love.
Seeds Family Worship [Amazon] is an evangelical project that produces catchy, well-produced pop/rock music around verses of Scripture. It’s a great way for kids to learn Scripture verses.
Do you have other suggestions? Leave a comment for other readers!