What prayers should the family pray together and which should be prayed individually? It would not be wise, in my opinion, to prescribe any. Parents should however not fall into excess nor deficiency. There should be both family prayers and individual prayers. Perhaps the following could be suggested: The holy Rosary is a most beautiful family prayer and will help the growth in attention as we have seen above. This is also the prayer requested so much by the Blessed Virgin Mary. Beware not to overdo the quantity of family prayer.
Morning an evening prayers could be said as a family, but could equally be done individually. Children must be taught never to miss these two prayers. Prayers before and after meals also must never be missed. The soul who leaves the table without thanking Our Lord shows his ungratefulness. The Angelus in the morning, midday and evening for those present is most salutary.
There are however two categories of prayers that should be done individually (of course, they can be done together in silence). These are the examination of conscience and meditation.
The Ignatian method of making a good examination of conscience. This method, in five steps, will provide you with a good basis to teach your children to make good examinations of conscience. This can be added to their evening prayers, and, in my opinion, should never be long, perhaps two or three minutes:
1.) Give thanks to Our Lord for all the favours received.
2.) Ask for the grace to know and root out your sins.
3.) Demand a periodic account of your conscience in thought, words and actions, from the time of your last examination (Sometimes a list ofpossible sins might prove to be a help).
4.) Ask pardon to Our Lord God for these faults.
5.) Resolve, with the grace of God, to do better
Contemplation and meditation. Many think that contemplation and meditation are for religious only. May the words of St. Theresa of Avila give them something to think about: ” he who does not want meditation; does not want the beatific vision, for meditation and contemplation are the introduction thereof in this life.”