About this articleThis prayer activity focuses on family relationships and helps young people reflect on the need we all have for unconditional love and support, not only from our parents but also from a community of faith. This would be an appropriate reflection and prayer to use with youth around Mother's or Father's Day.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother"-- this is the first commandment with a promise: "so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth."
And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:1--4, NRSV
A family is God's gift. It is a community where we are loved and accepted simply for who we are, and where we can freely love in return, a community we can turn to for comfort and support. The Catholic Church calls families the domestic church, meaning that they are the primary place where people learn about God and God's love.
Being the domestic church doesn't just happen. Every member of a family must make an effort. That means taking time to listen to one another, to help out one another, and to respect each person in the family. Sometimes selfishness gets in the way of making God's love real. At those times, family members must try even harder. Taking time to pray together, and to read and talk about the Bible together, can help a family focus on God's presence.
"Children, obey your parents" is probably the hardest thing any one of us has to deal with from day to day. During my sophomore year this was especially true. I couldn't agree with my parents at all. I thought I was old enough to do what I wanted without answering thirty questions first. I lied a lot, and I justified that by saying, "Well, if my parents were only cooler about things I wouldn't have to lie." I didn't think I was doing much wrong. Looking back now, I realize that the reason that year was so hard was not because of their rules, but because of the lack of a relationship I had with them.
Later that year when a dating relationship ended, I was devastated. I was really, really hurting. My parents and brothers could have been mean to me about it all. I deserved it, but they weren't mean. They were there for me. I fell, and they had been waiting the whole time to catch me. I just couldn't see it before. Today, I have a really good relationship with my family. I love them so much, but that doesn't mean we don't all get in fights anymore. We do, but our ties and our love are so strong that nothing can make us too mad that we no longer love one another.
Dear God, please help my family through any obstacle. Help me to love and support them as they do for me no matter what. Bless us and keep us safe always. Amen.
Reflection and prayer by Sarah A. Tragarz
- Describe your relationship with your family. Are there areas that need improvement or attention?
- What does it means to live in a family where love is the rule?
- How is God present in the life of your family?
- Take the time to tell each member of your family how much you appreciate and care for them, even when times are difficult.
For more perspective on family relationships, read Exodus 20:12, Proverbs 30:17, Sirach 3:1-16, and Colossians 3:18-4:1.
The "Study It!" section is adapted from an article in The Catholic Youth Bible, New Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition. Winona, MN: Saint Mary's Press, 2000.
(This prayer activity is taken from Hey, God! What Now?: Biblical Assurance for Life's Questions, edited by Laurie Delgatto [Winona, MN: Saint Mary's Press, 2003], pages 53-55. Copyright © 2003 by Saint Mary's Press. Permission is granted for this activity to be used for classroom or campus ministry purposes. This activity may not be republished in any form without written permission from Saint Mary's Press. To order this book, contact Saint Mary's Press at 800-533-8095, or visit our online catalog at www.smp.org/catalog.cfm.)