Archbishop of Tuam, Michael Neary, reveals why he has launched a pastoral message on prayer and an accompanying family prayer card.
I don’t know whether you find it difficult to pray. I certainly find it very difficult.
Is there anyone who finds prayer easy?
The family home is such a hive of activity – homework, television, favourite programmes, different members of the family rushing off to training, to music, friends visiting, so many things to which we must attend. In these situations the opportunity for family prayer is very reduced.
Contrast with years gone by, where there was no television, no internet, very restricted mobility, it was common for families to come together and pray the rosary. Granted during the rosary, not all the focus was on prayer, we coped with distractions and little side shows as children and had to be corrected and called to order by parents.
Many families, while acknowledging the pressures under which they live and work, have requested something that would help them to pray. The request was for something short, simple but related to their experience of life, love, family, friends, study, joy and disappointment.
This little prayer card is an attempt to relate all of these experiences to God and enable us to relate to our God in a trusting and caring manner. Through our experiences of prayer in the home it is hoped that when we come together to worship God as a community at Mass we will bring with us a more meaningful experience of a God who is part of our daily life, interested in who we are, what we do and those with whom we interact.
When we pray as members of a family we recognise that we are also members of God’s family, with corresponding responsibilities and links to other families.
All of this helps us to broaden our horizon, recognise our limitations, be grateful for the gifts that we have and remind us that these gifts ought to be used generously for others. We do not have all the answers. We search in different places for answers to our questions.
Created by God, loved and cherished by Jesus Christ, we struggle to find meaning in our lives as we endeavour to discover God’s plan for us. He has given us a privileged insight when he sent his son Jesus Christ to live among us. Jesus taught us how to pray.
Depending on your life experience you have your own ways of praying, whether on your own or in the company of others, whether in petition or thanksgiving. My hope and prayer is that this little prayer card may be of help to you and to those with whom you live as together we endeavour to become a praying people.
Cuirim sibh féin agus bhur dteachlaigh faoi chosaint na Maighdine Mhuire, agus iarraim ar Dhia a beannacht a thabhairt daobh.
The new prayer resource, Prayers For My Family, is available in English and Irish and is available to download here.