Updated: Sep 15, 2021
This was our routine every night when I was growing up.
Mother would gather the four of us children at my younger brother's bed, where we would kneel before the picture of an angel looking over two children crossing a river on a narrow bridge.
We prayed as a family, reciting prayers that we had committed to memory: Our Father, Hail Mary, Angel of God. The routine of these prayers every night became part of the rhythm of our day as the sun would go down.
It was on that night that I saw my dad for the first time deep in prayer. I didn't know why he kept it so private, why he didn't pray with us. But on that night I knew one thing for sure. I knew that God existed because my dad prayed.
My dad never prayed with us. I don't really know why; I didn't really think about it. Dad went to church with us when he wasn't busy, but I don't really have memories of praying with my dad or even sitting in the same pew at church with him. He would join a group of men at the back of the church, explaining to us that he didn't want to take up limited pew space.
Prayer was something I did with my mother and grandmother, something that was important to me as a child, something that seemed important.
When I was twelve years old, I remember getting ready for bed and on my way from our bathroom to my bedroom I noticed my parent’s bedroom door slightly ajar. I decided to take a peek inside, and what I saw changed me in a powerful way.
When I looked inside my parent’s bedroom on that memorable evening, I saw my dad in his pyjamas and on his knees saying his prayers. He looked like a little child, hands folded, head raised up to heaven.
It was on that night that I saw my dad for the first time deep in prayer. I didn't know why he kept it so private, why he didn't pray with us.
But on that night I knew one thing for sure. I knew that God existed because my dad prayed.
Sometimes we can be overwhelmed by the negativity that exists in our world, our country, our family, and maybe even in our Church.
What should we do?
How can we make a difference?
I would like to propose a simple solution: we should pray.
I see the vision of my father praying like a child in the privacy of his bedroom, and that’s what gives me great hope. We should pray like children, remembering that one person’s genuine prayer can make all the difference in the world.
Parents have a unique responsibility to raise their children in the faith, and there is no better way to do this than to be people of prayer, and to model that to children. This is a two-step process: pray privately and pray communally. Private prayer is essential in developing a personal and loving relationship with God. The more you pray as a parent, the better of a parent you will become. Communal prayer is also essential, and our commitment to the Holy Mass on Sundays is where we pray as a Church.
When your children see your commitment to personal prayer and the prayer of the Church, they will receive a tremendous gift of faith.
Fr. Wojciech Kuzma
Fr. Kuzma is a priest for the Diocese of Hamilton, and serves as the Pastor of St. Mary’s and the Missions Parish in Owen Sound, Ontario. After his ordination to the priesthood, Fr. Kuzma has served in various parishes, and held the position of the Vocation Director and Formation Director for the Diocese of Hamilton. Fr. Kuzma’s postgraduate studies in the area of Christian Spirituality have assisted in his work as both spiritual director and retreat director. His passion is to reintroduce all people to the beauty of spiritual life offered to all in the Catholic Church. You can listen to Fr. Kuzma from the comfort of your home on his Catholic Spirituality podcast.