As Ven. Patrick Peyton would say, “The family that prays together, stays together!”
Time spent with family is supposed to be a positive experience, and while we don’t always experience peace in our homes, there is a proven remedy that unites families together. Prayer has a central role in keeping families together and has been praised by countless saints throughout the centuries.
Ven. Patrick Peyton, an Irish-American priest of the 20th century, became well-known for a phrase he helped coin, “The family that prays together, stays together.” It is a phrase that is known around the world and continually proves itself to be true, as families grow stronger through a devoted prayer life.
St. John Paul II was similarly an advocate for family prayer. He wrote about it extensively, highlighting it in his apostolic exhortation, Familiaris Consortio.
Family prayer has its own characteristic qualities. It is prayer offered in common, husband and wife together, parents and children together. Communion in prayer is both a consequence of and a requirement for the communion bestowed by the sacraments of Baptism and Matrimony. The words with which the Lord Jesus promises His presence can be applied to the members of the Christian family in a special way: “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
God enters into the home in a special way when a family prays together.
Prayer doesn’t have to be elaborate, or even very long. The key point is to pray consistently and with the entire family.
The Rosary has always been a favorite of many families, and John Paul II wasn’t alone in recommending it.
Among these should be mentioned the recitation of the rosary: “We now desire, as a continuation of the thought of our predecessors, to recommend strongly the recitation of the family rosary …. There is no doubt that … the rosary should be considered as one of the best and most efficacious prayers in common that the Christian family is invited to recite …” In this way authentic devotion to Mary, which finds expression in sincere love and generous imitation of the Blessed Virgin’s interior spiritual attitude, constitutes a special instrument for nourishing loving communion in the family and for developing conjugal and family spirituality.
If the Rosary is difficult for your family to recite, try reading a passage from the Bible or saying a few morning prayers.
Whatever you do, know that God will unite your family when praying together in a consistent way.