Wednesday 24 July 2019

Prayer in the Family - John Viatori and Beth Viatori - CTS Family Matters Series

Prayer in the Family
CTS Family Matters Series
John Viatori and Beth Viatori
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860823909
eISBN 9781784694449
CTS Booklet PA5

In the last years and a half I have read nearly 100 books and booklets from the catholic Truth Society. And I have that many on my wish list currently. I have yet to encounter a bad book in the lot. And there are some incredible books and series. This is the second volume I have read in the Family matters series, and both have been excellent reads. And as far as I can tell it is the only book written by John and Beth Viatori. The description of this volume is:

“For many children, the experience of prayer in the family shapes their attitude to prayer and their faith for the rest of their lives. For parents, insecurity with their own prayer life and the practical problems posed by small children or teenagers can make the practice of prayer at home seem impossible. This eBook gives practical advice on how the home can become an authentic school of prayer.”

The sections in this booklet are:
The Necessity of Prayer
     Why should we pray in the family?
     The Domestic Church
Personal Prayer is the Foundation for Family Prayer
     Unity in family prayer
The Liturgy of the Domestic Church
     Sanctifying the day
     Grace at Mealtimes
     The Angelus
     Bedtime and morning prayers
     The Rosary
     The Liturgy of the Hours
     Sanctifying the Year
Praying with our Whole Life
     The sacraments
     Grounding the spiritual in the natural
     Using the five senses
     Reconciliation and the Eucharist
     The Eucharist and the Mass
A Final Word
Useful Prayers for the Family

The booklet is listed as coming in at under 50 pages, and the last few of those are a short collection of prayers. Nd yet while I read this book through twice now, I have highlighted over 21 passages. The first passage I highlighted is from the section on the Necessity of Prayer:

“One’s relationship with God is as delicate and unique as any relationship in one’s life, while being more important because, unlike other relationships, it touches every aspect of our lives and encompasses the goal and end of our lives.”

And the second highlights the need to be intentional, especially as our children are in their formative years. 

“To leave the spiritual life of our children undeveloped until they are old enough to seek it for themselves would be to do them a great disservice. It would mean depriving them of the love that every human needs most because they are too small to know where to find it. This is why we want to cultivate prayer in our families.”

The book draws from their own experience, but also from friends and family. Some examples are of young children, and even up to late teens. There are examples of things that have worked, and things that have not. And even one where teen children asked to take part in a family ritual. A great example in the book is to use prayer for others:

“Prayers of intercession for others are often a very good entry into the life of prayer, for those of us who are shy about praying in front of others. Often even when we can’t bring ourselves to go to God in prayer on our own behalf, the needs of our loved ones or acquaintances compel us to pray.”

One of the passages that was so striking to me was:

“A family’s prayer life stands or falls with the personal spiritual lives of the individual family members. As parents, we cannot establish a relationship with God in our children or train them to turn to him. However, we can adopt practices that will provide the conditions for our children to “meditate on the Word of God.” We can provide them with an example of praying with faith, humility, and perseverence, and we can teach them prayers that will unfold in their understanding as they grow.”

We cannot force a prayer life upon our children, but we can live an example of a life of prayer. And this book provides a lot of great examples and ways to pray as a family and for our families. This is something I strive to live:

“A father who leads the family in prayer is a tacit but convincing sign to children that prayer is not something wishy-washy or soft, but important and powerful.”

And it is not always easy. But part of our role, maybe the most important part of our role as parents if to raise our children in the faith, and raise them by our own example. But we are reminded we are not in this alone:

“Despite the many obvious obstacles and challenges that face us as we try to ensure that our family’s prayer is personal, we have a powerful ally in this struggle. God himself is our greatest advocate in our efforts to pray better.”

In the conclusion the authors state:

“What these diverse families hold in common is that they are ambitious to find ways to raise their children in a life of prayer. Speaking to them and observing the practices that they cultivate in their own homes has merely shown us how much more we might do to place Christ at the centre of our family.”

And the book does a wonderful job of that. It is an excellent little volume I am sure I will return to often as a refresher. As my children become teenagers, and beyond. I will end my review with a final quote:

“At the heart of prayer, whether it takes place in words or through actions, is the recognition of the presence of God with us and the enjoyment of his company.”

This is an excellent little book and would be of value to any family that picks it up! Another great read from the Catholic Truth Society!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books in the CTS Family Matters Series:
Facing Difficulties in the Christian Family Life - Peter Kahn
Passing on Faith to Your Children - Peter Kahn
Prayer in the Family – John Viatori & Beth Viatori
Sex Education A Parent’s Guide – John Timpson
The Family’s Mission to Love – Rod Isaacs & Peter Kahn
The Role of a Christian Father - Keith Chappell
The Role of Christian Grandparents – Keith Chappell
The Role of a Christian Mother – Anna Melchior
Work and the Christian Family – Peter Kahn
Nurturing the Young - J.B. Midgley

Other Books by Keith Chappell:
The Role of a Christian Father
Role of Christian Grandparents
Catholic Social Conscience: Reflection and Action on Catholic Social Teaching
A Teacher's Guide to Science and Religion in the Classroom (Editor)

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