Raising our children in the Catholic faith entails involving them in the faith from the very early months of their lives.
One of the best ways to get our children involved in the faith so that it becomes a part and parcel of their lives is to encourage them to learn the common Catholic prayers.
Teaching your children to pray need not be a daunting task. Children tend to learn and absorb new information very rapidly, especially during their early years’ formation.
These common Catholic prayers below are short and easy to memorise when repeated daily, and learning them will be just as easy as learning nursery rhymes.
The 10 Essential Catholic Prayers Every Under-10 Child Should Know Include:
1. THE SIGN OF THE CROSS
“In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
This basic prayer can be taught from when your child starts speaking. The prayer is said with reverence before and after other prayers.
Let your child watch initially, as you say the prayer slowly, going through the movements deliberately and with intent. Your child will naturally start to mimic you.
Be sure to correct common mistakes that young children generally make with this prayer, such as using the left hand instead of the right or touching the right shoulder first instead of the left.
2. GLORY BE
“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. Amen.”
Another common Catholic prayer your child should learn. Use the Call and Response technique when teaching your child this prayer. In this technique, you repeat one line, your child repeats the next line and so on.
3. THE JESUS PRAYER
“O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
A simple, short prayer that is easy to learn and easy to memorise.
4. GUARDIAN ANGEL PRAYER
Angel of God, my Guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day (or night) be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen
Teach your child to get acquainted with their Guardian Angels and to learn to call their aid when needed. Children have an affinity with angels and will have no problem developing a devotion to their Guardian Angel.
5. HAIL MARY
Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst 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
Children naturally gravitate towards Mary. Learning the Hail Mary is a great introduction to learning the Rosary later on. It also helps build a good foundation for Marian devotions.
A helpful way to teach this prayer is via Call and Response technique, where you repeat the first line, and your child repeats the next line and so on. Then you can swap lines. With daily repetition of this prayer, your child will be able to recite the entire prayer in no time at all.
6. GRACE BEFORE & AFTER MEALS
BEFORE: Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
AFTER: We give Thee thanks for all Thy benefits, O Almighty God, who livest and reignest world without end. Amen. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
In a materialistic and consumerist world, instilling a sense of gratitude in young children is important more than ever as it teaches them not to take things for granted and also serves as a reminder that everything we receive is a blessing from God.
7. OUR FATHER
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.
This prayer should be repeated with your child daily, either in the morning or the evening. Make sure that they learn it properly and correct the common mistakes such as “Howard be thy name….” and so on.
8. ACT OF CONTRITION
O my God, I am heartfully sorry for having offended thee, and I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishment, but most of all because I have offended Thee my God, Who is all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more, and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen
This prayer is essential for the sacrament of confession and children should be encouraged to say it every night before they go to sleep.
9. APOSTLES’ CREED
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 arose again from the dead;
He ascended into Heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty;
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 the life everlasting. Amen.
This is another common Catholic prayer that your child should learn by age 10. It is a much longer prayer than the above prayers, so once again, you can use the Call and Response technique as described in the Hail Mary prayer above to teach your child this prayer.
10. THE ROSARY
By the time your child has reached 10 years old, he/she should be proficient in the above prayers as well as the rosary. Many prayers of the Rosary such as the Glory Be and Hail Mary would have already been learnt by now.
ad Jesum per Mariam