I try to get up early on school days to say my morning prayers and read my Bible before the kids get up. There is a practical reason for that – there simply isn’t time to fit in my prayers in the 45 minutes between the time I get the kids up and the time that we leave the house. There is also a spiritual reason – it is much easier to be focused on God without my kids interrupting every few minutes.
Moms need to have some prayer time to themselves – it is vital to their spiritual life. There also needs to be times when kids get to see their moms pray. Praying with our children is extremely important. In doing that, we teach our children how to pray and to turn to God every day with their needs, their contrition, and their thanksgiving. Attending mass together is integral to our family spiritual life. In allowing our children to see us spend some quiet time in prayer, however, they see that we practice what we preach.
On weekends, I do say my prayers with the kids around. No, it’s not easy. It usually takes about double the time and I’m usually interrupted several times in the process. But my boys get to see me saying my Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet as well as other prayers. Sometimes, they ask me what prayer I am up to or who I am praying for, and I tell them. This shows them that my prayers go beyond the needs of our immediate family and go out to help others that we know, or even relative strangers who have asked for prayers. When I read my Bible, my younger son often asks to follow along with me. Those moments are so special to me! The difficulty in getting my prayers done is well worth the lessons it provides in the process.
When I read about the prayer lives of saints, especially those who lived in convents or monasteries, I’m often a little envious of their prayer lives. They have so much time for contemplation and communion with God. Even when they are working, they can lift their hearts and minds to God. When I am working around the house, I am often also having a conversation on something of great import to my children (these days, that is likely to involve “Star Wars!”) Yes, I do squeeze in moments to pray throughout the day, but somehow it just doesn’t seem quite the same as the prayer of a vowed religious. The simple truth of the matter is that I’m not a vowed religious. My vocation is that of wife and mother, and in my service to my husband and children, I live out my own kind of prayer.
Still, the formal prayer is important, too, and letting our children see us moms in prayer shows much more loudly than our words that prayer is important to us and to our relationship with God.