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Prayers for children and families during coronavirus

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During this time of the coronavirus and during any time of distress within the family or within the world, we need to be mindful of our children in all aspects of their wellbeing. We are also mindful of our children spiritually.

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The children miss the classroom prayers and liturgies. The children miss the parish faith community and all that this community offers especially through Liturgy of the Word with Children, the celebration of the Eucharist, the parish morning tea and the communion with other people of faith where together, and through each other, we meet Jesus. It is in the family where our children can learn and catch the faith. It is here where we, as the baptised on mission, bring Jesus to our children.

We do not want to overwhelm our children with the enormity of the pandemic. So it is in prayer with the children. Offered here by the Family and Parish-Based Catechesis Office are a few of the possibilities available to integrate prayer with our daily lives and in helping children to realise that they are never alone even when they are sitting or playing by themselves.

Christian meditation as a form of contemplative prayer

‘Perhaps there is no better way of shaping a better future for humanity than by teaching meditation to children, by showing them that they have this gift and capacity within them for life.’ Laurence Freeman

Christian meditation aims to provide prayerful space for children to find God in stillness, silence, and simplicity – or as the Old Testament says: Be still and know that I am God.

For guidance in leading this form of prayer visit the Christian Meditation for Children and Young People website at www.cominghome.org.au or The World Community for Christian Meditation website at www.wccm.org

Family Liturgy of the Word with Children

The Family and Parish-Based Catechesis Office has prepared Family Liturgies with Children for each Sunday during the coronavirus pandemic. These can be found each week at the link: www.adelaide.catholic.org.au/our-works-and-community/family-and-parish-based-catechesis/prayer-services

Contemplative prayer

This form of prayer does not require words; rather, it is about getting in touch with the presence of God. It is a prayer of the heart, a relationship. At its heart it has these characteristics:

Vocal prayers

Vocal prayers allow us to speak with God in a way that we can hear ourselves speaking and making the prayers of our heart concrete and tangible. There are a number of traditional prayers within our Catholic heritage which we can use. We can prepare for prayer and then, placing our intentions in the heart and hands of God, we can pray such prayers as the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Glory Be.

We can pray the Rosary, the five decades or one decade each day. The Rosary is, in essence, a scriptural prayer where we meditate on a mystery of the Rosary. These can be found at this link: www.teachingcatholickids.com/teaching-children-the-rosary.

There are also other devotional prayers which come out of the various Christian spiritualities such as the Prayer of St Francis, the various prayers to the Sacred Heart, the Memorare to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, the prayers of St Ignatius.

The Catholic schools which children attend will also have specific prayers in keeping with their tradition. We can begin and end our prayer with another prayer, namely, the sign of the cross.

Vocal prayer can be any prayer which comes from the heart and is spoken to God. Here, are some examples of vocal prayers for children during this time of pandemic.

For ages 3-5

Thank you, God, for making the world.
Thank you for all the gifts you have given to me.
Thank you that I can breathe and eat.
Thank you that I can play and draw.
Thank you that I can love and be kind.
For all these things, I thank you God.

Help all the people in the world
who care for those who cannot play or eat
because they are sick or have no food.
Help all the people who have no homes
or enough money to look after themselves or their family.

Help them God – help them to know that you care for them and that other people will help them and look after them too. Amen

God, you give us Jesus to show us how to care for each other.
Help me to be kind at home, at childcare and at school.
Help me to say ‘thank you’ to all who look after us.
Help me to say ‘sorry’ when I do something wrong.
Thank you, God, for giving us each other.
Thank you, God, for giving us Jesus to look after us.
Amen.

God, Creator of the world, we thank you for your love and care.
God, Creator of the world, we thank you for bringing Jesus to us.
God, Creator of the world, we thank you for you Holy Spirit who brings life to us.
God, Creator of the world, we thank you for all the people in the world.
God, Creator of the world, be with us all. Amen.

 

For ages 6-9

Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd who looks after us.
You look for us when we feel lost.
You find us and carry us when we are tired.
When we are hungry, you provide us with farmers to feed us.
When we are sick, you give us our family to take care of us.
We pray for all the people in our family, neighbourhood and world who are sick or hungry or tired at this time.
Carry them close to your heart and give them your strength, courage and peace. Amen.

God, you are my shepherd. I have everything I need.
With you I rest in green fields and drink from quiet pools of cool, fresh water.
You give me new strength each day, and you guide me along the right path.
Even when I go through the deepest darkness, I am not afraid. I know that you are with me.
Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me.
You prepare a feast for me, where all my enemies can see me.
But you welcome me as an honoured guest and fill my cup to the brim.
I know that your goodness and love will be with me all the days of my life, and I know that I will live with you forever. Amen.
(Adapted from Psalm 23 Children’s Catholic Bible)

Jesus, we are unable to prepare together to receive you in the Sacraments at this time.
Open our hearts and minds to prepare to receive you in the Sacraments.
Ask your Holy Spirit to inspire us to make good choices like you made and to guide us in ways that we can be kind and caring to each other.

I pray for everyone who is unable to receive you in the Sacraments.
I pray they will receive you into their hearts each day.
I pray that we will feel united as a community
through the online prayers and celebrations of the Eucharist.

I pray for all who are unwell and who are missing their loved ones.
I pray that they will be healed in body and spirit.
I pray for strength and courage for all. Amen.

For ages 10-12

Jesus, you healed the man born blind, you made the lepers well again and you fed the hungry crowd.
You showed you cared for people, Jesus, through what you did for others.
Please be with all the people who care for those who are sick or without homes or who are hungry at this time.
Give them all courage and strength.
Help them to know and feel that they are not alone.

I pray especially that you will help all the doctors and nurses with strength, and scientists with inspiration and knowledge.
I pray for all the people who are helping out in any way.

You know what it was like to do your best for others
and to stand up and care for those who could not care for themselves.
Be with us all.
Help me to see that the kindness I show in my home
is a share in the kindness and love you have for each person.

I pray that all people will show love and kindness to others today and always. Amen.

God of love and compassion,
I thank you for all the gifts you have given to us.
I thank you for all the people who are helping us all
in the world during this time when there is a lot of sickness.
I ask you for your strength and courage for all who are helping people get well.
I pray especially for _________

I ask you for strength and healing for all who are sick.
I pray especially for _________
I ask you for strength and peace for all who are worried about their families.
I pray especially for _________
I ask you for strength and consolation for all who have lost their loved ones.
I pray especially for _________
You are with us always, O God of love and compassion.
Keep us close to you. Amen

Mary, our mother, you showed great love towards Jesus here on earth,
You were with Jesus as he grew from a baby to an adult.
You were with him when he was happy, when he was hurt, when he was sad.
You were with him when people listened to him and when people were mean to him.
You were with him when he suffered.
You were with Jesus at the foot of the Cross with John and the other women.
Mary, Jesus gave you to us as our mother too.
Mary, our mother, please be with us now at this time
when many people throughout the world
are sick and suffering.
Help us all and look after us as you looked after Jesus.
Be with us when things are hard for us and our families.
Mary, our mother, be with us now. Amen.

For parents and grandparents

God of mercy and love,
Be with my family – my children and grandchildren,
as we are facing illness and fragility during this time in our world.
Be with my family – my children and grandchildren,
as we face physical isolation and, at times, aloneness.
Be with my family – my children and grandchildren
as we face irritation, fear and anger.

God of mercy and love,
Be with my family and all families of the world
and help us to see that we are not alone.
Help us to see that you are with us always.

God of mercy and love,
Be with my family and all families of the world
as we gather together constructively and creatively,
trusting that we can experience the peace and joy of your Resurrection in our lives. Amen.

Resources

Digital resources for prayers with your family

There are many digital resources which can be helpful when looking for prayers to share with your family. Catholic Education South Australia has a resource for anyone who wonders about how current smart technology might assist rather than distract us in seeking a deeper relationship with God through prayer. New prayers and reflection resources for these days of uncertainty have been recently uploaded to the site. The prayers and reflections can be located at:

digitalprayer.weebly.com/prayer-resources-in-times-of-uncertainty-covid-19.

For further enquiries relating to prayer for children and young people please contact:

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