The best way to make prayer time a priority in a family is to begin even before marriage. If the spouses are praying for one another (even before they meet), they will inevitably have a stronger prayer life with each new change and challenge that comes with family life.
My parents prayed the Rosary (with few exceptions) every night during my life under their roof. Even as an adult living at home we continued to pray together. It was important for them to make family prayer time a central focus in our house, rather than an afterthought. My husband and I are also trying to make a nightly family Rosary a priority. I find that it is only “impossible” when we make it so. I get told often how amazing it is that we pray the Rosary as a family every night, or that I take my children to daily Mass. These are not amazing feats in my eyes - they are simply priorities. Often times I wonder how much more prayer we could be doing, but do not because it is an inconvenience. If our children have an appointment with the doctor, we take them. It is a priority. If we have made commitments, like work, community service, even parties with friends, they take precedence over other things that can wait. In other words, we have no problem putting things and other commitments before God. It is not enough to tell our children that they should know, love, and serve God. We MUST SHOW them! It is our duty and obligation to teach our children how to pray. This is impossible if we ourselves do not pray with them.
For people who have older children and would like to begin family prayer together, it is not too late for your family. I know this because I know that there is hope for everyone until they draw their last breath. If you also believe that with each new day there is hope for growth, change, and a closer relationship with Our Lord and Our Lady, you already have enough faith to make it possible! If you're having trouble getting your older children together for prayer, I can only offer advice from a “what I hope I would do” standpoint. Since prayer should be of the utmost importance in a Catholic family, if any lines should be drawn it’s here. It should not be an option. If your thirteen year old daughter told you she was not going to go to school today, you would tell her that she was - that it was not her option to go. You would try to tell her how important her education was, how much it meant for her future. How much more effort should be made for her soul?
As I said, our family prays the Rosary. This is because we value the role Mary has in our lives. She is Our Mother and intercedes to The Trinity for us. The Rosary is her prayer. If other families choose other prayers or devotionals that is perfectly acceptable. Maybe you have a devotion to The Divine Mercy, pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy together. It isn't what you pray, it is how you pray that is important.
The plague of the family is lack of time, or so it seems. Time, however, is a thing that once it is gone we cannot get it back. Furthermore, we do not know when the Lord will come for us! Today is the day. Right now is the time. Don’t wait! Bring your family together for prayer. Make family prayer a priority…make it happen! God will bless EVERY effort that you make to pray. Even a small amount of family prayer time can make the biggest and most positive change in how your family functions.
May God bless and help all families, and may His Most Holy Mother hold us close to Her Immaculate Heart. Amen.
Faith is wife to Fred, and the mother of their 3 energetic young children. Besides trying to keep up with the demands of being a full time house wife, Faith is homeschooling her oldest child, George. She herself was homeschooled k-12. Faith and her husband reside in Florida, and are lay members of The Home of the Mother.