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The following prayers are part of the Catholic tradition and should be a foundational part of our prayer lives.
When helping your child memorize prayers, take them one line at a time. Practice with your child until they know it. A good time to practice might be when you are driving with them in the car, such as on the way to school or on the way to Mass. Your child might also find that writing out the prayer is a good way to help them remember it.
Sign of the Cross
Help your child learn the motions for this key prayer. Touch the forehead, the rib cage, the left shoulder, and then the right shoulder as you trace on your body the sign of the Cross:
In the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Prayer of Praise
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.
For Catholics, praying with Mary has long been part of our tradition and every child should know this prayer by heart! Of course, all devotion to Mary leads ultimately to the Lord, but she is our model and guide.
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. Amen.
The Lord's Prayer (Our Father)
This is the very prayer that Jesus taught us. Each child should know it by heart. And for those parents who are Christian, but not Catholic, you will find the doxology here at the very end.
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.
For yours is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory. Amen.
The Apostles' Creed
This may not be a prayer that your child memorizes in the early elementary years. But it is the opening prayer of the Rosary and is an understandable statement of all that we believe.
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ,
his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell;
the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father;
from thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting. Amen.
Prayer Before Meals
This prayer can be used at mealtimes, but it is also a great thing to pray spontaneously, mentioning what's happening in the family or the world, and inviting the children to do the same.
Bless us O Lord, and these thy gifts,
which we are about to receive, from thy bounty,
through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Prayer to Our Guardian Angel
Angels, we know, are "messengers from God" and we know that God's message to us is that he loves us and cares for us. This prayer expresses that and is a lovely nighttime prayer for any child to know by heart.
Angel of God, my guardian dear,
to whom God’s love commits me here,
ever this day be at my side
to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.
This might not be a prayer your child memorizes in the early elementary years. But why not print this on a card that the whole family could see in the bathroom in the morning?
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day
in union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass
throughout the world.
I offer them for all the intentions of your sacred heart:
the salvation of souls,
reparation for sin,
the reunion of all Christians.
I offer them for the good of my family
and the good of my friends.
Please be with me today and protect me forever. Amen.
Again, while not a prayer to memorize, this lovely evening prayer might be placed near the bedside and when you say goodnight to your child, take it down and prayer it together. As you do, bless your child using words like these: "Good night, honey. God bless you."
O my God, at the end of this day
I thank you most heartily for all the graces
I have received from you.
I am sorry for the times that I did not
make a better use of them.
I am sorry for all the sins I have committed against you. Forgive me, O my God, and graciously protect me this night. Dear Mary, my heavenly mother,
take me under your protection.
Dear St. Joseph pray for me.
Jesus, my friend and companion,
thank you for your sacrifice
and for making me strong in my faith.
Please give me a peaceful night of rest. Amen.
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