No. 1084



St. Augustine, the first archbishop of Canterbury who is also called the Apostle of the English, had this to say about prayer: “O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams.”
Over the past several years, I have come to believe that prayer is a very powerful weapon that can be used to thwart the forces of evil and give us peace, even in these troubled times. On a more practical level, there is one thing that has been demonstrated more times than could ever be recorded: “The family that prays together – stays together.”
When families pray on a consistent and regular basis, wonderful things take place in their home, and millions of people all across the world do this each and every day. This simple act of reverence also has a way of teaching children the values that will sustain them for the rest of their lives.
On a humorous note, here is something that happened to a member of Janis’s family. One of her granddaughters is married to a wonderful Christian man and they live down in Carrolton, Ga. They have two children, and this family prays on a regular basis. When their older daughter Juliette was born, her mother, a former teacher, began to really work with her on her vocabulary. Before she was even 2 years old, she could speak plainly and had developed a pretty fair vocabulary. One Sunday afternoon the family decided they needed to take a nap. Well, mom and dad were in their room and Juliette was in hers. Her mother reported that after a few minutes, Juliette was at their door, with a nap protest, banging on it and hollering, “We need to pray.” To me, this clearly demonstrates that prayer is indeed powerful.
When it comes to statistics, these are not easy to come by because of the very personal and private nature of prayer. However, here is something that I ran across from the Catholic Church that validates the importance of family prayers. Father Patrick Peyton and the Roman Catholic Family Rosary Crusade cited this 1980 research by the Retrouvaille International, a highly respected marriage support organization: The divorce rate for couples who attend church regularly and pray on a daily basis accounts for less than one divorce in every 1,105 marriages. One reason for this statistic is that families who pray together must also spend time together.
I’m sure you can personally think of countless families who spend time together but have myriads of problems. However, I submit for your consideration that the vast majority of these families are not praying, and often their language would make you run for cover. If you are a regular reader of this column, you know that I always try to be an encourager and offer some positive and practical solutions for the problems we face. If your marriage and your home is not what you desire it to be, if you are not already a praying family, I suggest you give it a try.
There are many ways to get started, and one of the best is to pray at meal times. Even though there are just the two of us, Janis and I have prayer at each and every meal, and we pray at other times as well. For families who have children, praying before and even after meals, completes the meal and teaches them to pray. Another important way to be exposed to prayer is to attend Church or Mass together. This most assuredly will help to keep God at the center of your home and your family. Another important way to pray, especially when you have young children, is to pray and read Bible stories together. It will make a difference.
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