Bishop Caggiano recently addressed an audience in one of our neighboring parishes when his focus turned to prayer.  He asked those gathered, “What is my relationship with the Lord?  Do I say prayers, or do I actually pray?  Do I sense His presence in my life?  And can that deepen?”

The cards below are practical suggestions on how to build up a life of prayer for your family and develop an ever-deepening relationship with Jesus.

Pray Often

To encourage your children to enter into a true sense of prayer, urge them to pray freely and without restraint, not just at designated times such as bedtime and meals. Prayer is for asking God questions and requesting his guidance and assistance. In prayer, you can offer your thanksgiving to God and praise and express your love for God.

Pray with Purpose

Your family can use a small dry-erase board to hang in the bathroom, bedroom, or kitchen to write down their prayers for the day or week. Or you can use a petition book that is placed in a common area. Another idea is the prayer jar, where family members can deposit prayers when they feel the need.

An Open Conversation

As Bishop Frank pointed out, do we say prayers or actually pray? To pray means to talk to God. All topics are available, including hopes and dreams, concerns and anxieties, the need for direction…And like in any conversation, don’t forget to listen. A helpful hint: The words LISTEN and SILENT are spelled with the exact same letters.


Your family could use Scripture to encourage reflection, deepen your prayer life, and become more familiar with the Bible. The daily Mass readings can be read by referring to the Bible, the online USCCB Daily Bible readings, or a favorite Scripture app. The words within Scripture can speak to us, offering insight and direction that addresses a current dilemma.

Look and Listen

Look for and listen for answers – A sign from God can range from a whisper of a thought to something instantly profound. When we quiet our minds, God can speak to us while we pray. God may also provide answers and direction at any time throughout the day or week. Be open to God responding in unexpected ways.

Prayer Journal

Writing down a question, a thought, or a deeper reflection can provide a meaningful history of your dialogue with God.  Over time, themes can appear with purpose and direction.  A prayer journal can be in written form or digitally on a computer or device.  You can provide one as a gift to encourage your children to use a prayer journal.


On your child’s next birthday, why not start a new tradition by family members finishing the statement, “I thank God for you, especially because ____.” Everyone can write their responses, to be stored in a jar with your child’s name on it.  It can serve as a wonderful reminder of how special both you and God made them throughout the years.

Pray Together (Family Prayer)

Family prayer is a way to unite as a family and turn our hearts and minds toward God. When we pray together as a family, we reflect the communion of family members and participate in the divine life of the Trinity. Family prayer can take various forms; it can include traditional prayers such as the Our Father or Hail Mary, along with spontaneous prayers where family members express their personal intentions and thanksgiving.

Developing a Prayer Routine

Developing a prayer routine is an effective way for your family to deepen its relationship with God. Consider the following steps: choose a specific place and time of day that work best; start small with shorter prayer sessions, especially if the routine is new; use prayer aides such as prayer books, devotionals, or smartphone apps; be open and honest with God. Share your joys, concerns, and struggles with Him. The goal is to cultivate a habit of prayer that draws you closer to God.

Visio Divina at Home

Visio Divina, which means “divine seeing,” and is a method of prayer that involves sacred images or artwork. To pray Visio Divina at home, your family can do the following:

1. Find a quiet and comfortable space where you can focus without distractions.
2. Choose an image or artwork that resonates and draws you closer to God;
3. Begin by simply looking, allowing your eyes to rest on different elements, colors, shapes, and details;
4. Reflect on what it evokes in you – emotions, thoughts, or memories that arise.
5. Share any spiritual insights or messages that the image may be conveying.
6. Shift from observation to quiet meditation. Imagine yourself within the scene or connecting with the figures depicted.
7. Enter into a dialogue with God and each other by offering your thoughts, feelings, and intentions to God. Express gratitude, ask for guidance, or seek His presence in your life.

Types of Prayers

There are several forms of prayer that are commonly practiced by Catholics.  Adoration is a form of prayer that acknowledges and praises the greatness and majesty of God.  Petition is a type of prayer where we humbly ask God for our needs.  Intercession is a prayer in which we pray on behalf of others.  Thanksgiving is a prayer of gratitude and thankfulness to God for His blessings, gifts, and graces in our lives.  Contrition is a prayer of repentance and sorrow for our sins.  Meditation is a prayerful reflection on Scripture, a spiritual text, or a particular aspect of God’s presence or teachings.  Contemplation is a prayer of silent presence and deep union with God. It goes beyond words and thoughts.  It is important to note that prayer is not limited to these specific categories, and individuals may have their own personal ways of communing with God.

Traditional Prayers for Children

There are several traditional prayers that are commonly taught to children in the Catholic faith. These prayers are often simple and easy to memorize, helping children develop a foundation of prayer. Here are a few examples:

1. The The Sign of the Cross
2. The Our Father (The Lord’s Prayer)
3. Hail Mary
4. Glory Be
5. Guardian Angel Prayer
6. Act of Contrition

These prayers are a good starting point for children to learn and practice. They cover important aspects of the Catholic faith, such as acknowledging the Trinity, seeking intercession from Mary and the saints, expressing contrition, and seeking guidance and protection from our guardian angels. Parents can introduce these prayers to children and encourage them to pray them regularly.

Online Resources

There is no shortage of online sources and apps for prayer and reflection.  To name just a few:

Online: The Face of Prayer


Amen – Apple, Android Hallow – Apple, Android
Laudate – Apple, Android iRosary – Apple
Divine Office – Apple, Android Catholic Daily Readings – Apple, Android
iMissal – Apple, Android