Prayer is our way to stay connected to God. Prayer is our way to tell God we love him and understand more and more that he loves us so much. That’s why prayer is also important for children. It can be a real source of strength and peace for them in their young lives. Teaching your children how to pray can be a daunting task. The best place to start is with common prayers that can be easily memorized. Children who are making their First Communion should have memorized most of the prayers in this booklet, while the Grace Before and After Meals and the Guardian Angel Prayer are prayers that even very young children can learn by repeating them daily. Use the different prayers with your children on a daily basis and see how their life of faith grows.
Grace Before and After Meals
Instilling a sense of gratitude in our children can be especially hard in a world where many of us have an overabundance of everything. Grace Before Meals is a good way to remind them (and ourselves!) that everything we have comes ultimately from God.
Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy
gifts, which we are about to receive
from Thy bounty, through Christ
our Lord. Amen.
We give Thee thanks, Almighty
God, for all Thy benefits, Who
lives and reigns, world without end.
The Sign of the Cross
The Sign of the Cross is the most basic Catholic prayer, though we don’t often think of it that way. We should teach our children to say it with reverence before and after their other prayers. The most common problem that children have in learning the Sign of the Cross is using their left hand instead of their right; the second most common is touching their right shoulder before the left.
Using your right hand, you should touch your forehead at the mention of the Father; the lower middle of your chest at the mention of the Son; and the left shoulder on the word “Holy” and the right shoulder on the word “Spirit.”
In the name of the Father, and of
the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
An Act of Charity
Childhood is a time filled with deep emotions, and children often suffer real and perceived slights and injuries at the hands of friends and classmates.While the primary purpose of an Act of Charity is to express our love for God, this prayer is also a daily reminder to our children to try to develop forgiveness and love toward others.
My God, I love you with my whole
heart and above all things, because
you are infinitely good and perfect.
Teach me to love you daily more
and more and for your sake to love
my neighbour as myself. Amen
The Hail Mary
The first half of the Hail Mary is straight out of the Bible. The part before the semicolon is the angel Gabriel’s greeting to the Virgin Mary at the
Annunciation, when he told her that she had been chosen by God to bear His Son, Jesus Christ (Luke 1:28). And the words after the semicolon were uttered by St. Elizabeth, the cousin of the Blessed Virgin, when St. Mary came to visit her and St. Elizabeth felt St. John the Baptist leap in her womb (Luke 1:42).
Hail Mary, full of grace! the Lord is
with thee; blessed art thou among
women, and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary,
Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
An Act of Faith
Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity are common morning prayers. If you help your children memorize them, they will always have a short form of prayer at their disposal for those days when they don’t have time or the opportunity to use their own words The Act of Faith can be said at any time when we feel our faith is being tested or we are enduring temptation.
An Act of Faith can be as simple as “My God, I believe in you,” but the following is a traditional version which generations of Catholics memorized.
My God, I believe in you and in
all that your Holy Church teaches,
because you are the very truth itself
and can neither deceive nor be
The Guardian Angel Prayer
Christ promises that each one of us has a guardian angel who protects us from harm, both physical and spiritual. In this prayer, traditionally one of the first that young children learn, we ask our guardian angel to watch over us.
Angel of God, my guardian dear,
to whom His love
entrusts me here,
ever this day [or night]
be at my side
to light and guard,
to rule and guide. Amen.
The Act of Contrition
The Act of Contrition is an essential prayer for the Sacrament of Confession, but we should also encourage our children to say it every evening before they go to sleep. Children who have made their First Confession should also examine their conscience before saying the Act of Contrition. In silent prayer, they can just think over the day and say sorry for anything that wasn’t right or good.
O my God, because you are so
good, I am very sorry that I have
sinned against you and by the help
of your grace, I will not sin again.
The Our Father
We should pray the Our Father daily with our children. It’s a good prayer to use as a short morning or evening prayer. The Our Father is the oldest of Christian prayers, going back to Jesus Christ himself, who, in Matthew 6:9-13, taught his disciples to pray in these words.
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name; Thy
Kingdom come; Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven. Give us
this day our daily bread; and forgive
us our trespasses as we forgive those
who trespass against us; and lead us
not into temptation, but deliver us
from evil. Amen.
An Act of Hope
An Act of Hope is a very good prayer for school aged children. Encourage your children to memorize it so that they can pray the Act of Hope before taking a test. Children learn that they are never alone – God is always with them.
My God, I hope and trust in you,
for grace and for glory, because you
are infinitely good, all powerful and
faithful to your promises. Amen
The Glory Be
The Glory Be, also known as the Doxology, is one of the earliest-known prayers to refer to God, the Holy Trinity. In Eastern Rite Catholic churches (as well as Eastern Orthodox ones), the Sign of the Cross is made while the Glory Be is recited.
Glory be to the Father, and to the
Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it
was in the beginning, is now, and
ever shall be, world without end.
St Ethelbert Parish Community