Thursday, June 25, 2009

Slipping into summertime with prayer...

Keeping Prayer in Summer: A Mother's Strategy

Just the thought of summer fast-approaching could bring thoughts of rest and relaxation to mind. We may recall the lazy days of summer during our youth. Summer may also mean anticipated excitement and adventure: exploring new places or trying new things.

Some families plan escapes to beaches and paradise vacations, while others may stay home and plan day trips to fun spots, the local library, or parks and recreation centers.

Summertime can be a time of well-deserved rest and also a welcome change of scenery. While making plans for our families this summer, let’s not forget about prayer. A change in schedule once we hit summertime and an eagerness to “get away from it all” could cause us to lose touch with our spiritual needs.

Prayer Strategies

One strategy to help us remain prayerful this summer is to begin each day with prayer. This simple suggestion may seem like a no-brainer to a praying individual; however the busyness of mornings and preparations for summer outings of even the well intentioned “pray-ers” can cause prayer time to become lost in the commotion.

Getting on our knees when we face each new day and giving it right over to the Lord will indeed start the day off with the proper disposition. Mothers should teach their children to do the same. A morning offering in our own words or a more formal version and prayer to our Guardian Angels at the breakfast table works very well with our captive hungry “audience!” We can offer our hearts to God throughout our days as well. Teaching our children to begin their days with prayer is an invaluable lesson that will remain with them as they grow older and navigate life on their own. Pope John Paul II emphasized the importance of family prayer

When making plans for family trips, perhaps we can think about including shrines, basilicas, and holy places in our trips. When researching places of interest for our family this summer, we can utilize the many Catholic magazines, newspapers, and websites that often highlight interesting places for pilgrimages and visits. We can attempt to attain that nice balance of nourishment for our family’s spiritual life and fun and enjoyment to relax and entertain our senses.

Summer travel affords us many opportunities for prayer. Prayers such as the rosary can be said in common in the family vehicle en route to a vacation spot or while traveling to the beach, park, or picnic area for day trips. Each child can voice a prayer of petition about something that is close to their hearts and offer prayers of thanksgiving for God’s gifts — including family time together. Naturally, we will want to ask our good Lord for His protection over our family as we travel.

Turning the Negative Around

Annoyances and inconveniences can crop up at any time. Summer doesn’t automatically translate into bliss. However, the traffic jams, whiny children, bug bites, sunburn, or unexpected delays and mishaps can be turned around and used for good. We have a perfect opportunity to “offer it up” to God and ask Him to use a small sacrifice or inconvenience on our part for the good of others, rather than allowing the situation to cause us to become annoyed or angry. Let’s keep our cool and turn to prayer. We can ask our Lord to use our sufferings for the souls in purgatory so that they can get to Heaven a little faster.

The late Rev. John A. Hardon, SJ, a world renowned theologian and author and my former spiritual director, said in his book, Theology of Prayer (The Daughters of St. Paul, 1979), “When I suffer prayerfully, I recognize that God is behind the suffering and I humble my head in faith… when I suffer prayerfully, I trust that God has reasons for permitting what I endure and that in His own time and way, the experience now suffered will eventually somehow be a source of grace.”

These prayer times are not only spiritually enriching and gifts for the recipient, they also become beautiful teachable moments, pointing our children to patience and thinking of others during trials, helping them turn to prayer rather than allow a negative situation to get the best of them.

Whatever your family plans may be this summer, be sure to have fun, enjoy, and offer your joyful heart to the Lord! Your example of prayer throughout the summer days will inspire your family and others that God puts in your midst. Have a happy and holy summer!

(This was published at Catholic Exchange last summer.)

So, what are your summer plans? Please share with us!




  1. Right now my summers are not unlike my winters, except now it's nice out! ;) So things don't really change in the way we do things at my house. But I was thinking about this all day and I thought it would be neat to make prayer cards to put throughout your house. Like put the morning offering next to your coffee maker, put your intentions on the kitchen table at breakfast, put one in your car to ask God to bless your road trip (even if you are only going to the store, then ask him to bless your grocery trip) Make one for your laundry room so you can pray for your family members, one for the bathroom while you get yourself ready & offer you and all your shortcomings and all the good you do to him... It took me all day to come up with this!! I hope you like it.

    God Bless!

  2. Jennifer!

    I absolutely love your ideas! You could perhaps write these on file cards, right? These are great reminders to stay in communication with God all throughout our days! Wow! If you do make these cards, why not take a photo of them and post them on your blog? Spread the inspiration!

    God bless you and your beautiful family, Jennifer!


  3. I was thinking I would do them in a scrapbook fashion and then laminate them. I will post them when they are all done! :)

  4. I'll look forward to seeing them, Jennifer. I think it's a very inspiring idea!

    God bless and hugs!


I welcome your comments, thanks for stopping by! :)