Many years ago, while in Atlanta, I was watching one of those reality TV shows on TLC. It is called 19 Kids and counting, and this while I was counting my days into the 3rd trimester. The most AMAZING thing about watching the show was that, in spite of their busy…did I say busy? Let me rephrase that, in spite of their CRAZY BUSY schedules, the entire family of 21 (19 kids and parents) diligently sat together every night for prayer time and bible study. Right from a toddler to a teenager, they were all there, “ears and hearts wide open.”
That scene (which is still so vivid) inspired me to resolve that I will give myself no excuse for following the same. With the birth of Haripriya, my husband made it a daily routine to read from scriptures (a shloka) for 10-15 minutes daily, which we practice till date every morning before she leaves for school. Sometimes it’s in between combing her hair, getting her to have breakfast and so on, but we never miss the hearing session. Yes, she may not understand anything at this point, but she is learning the important aspect of setting aside time for God and reading from scripture no matter what.
The evening routine comprises of our daily evening prayers for which many a times her friends join in too.
I am blessed to be able to follow a routine like this because I am home and my husband also has a flexible work schedule.
But I can see more and more, how hard it has become to imbibe this simple principle of “families that pray together, stay together.” Isn’t it?
We all have our individual spiritual practices that we routinely follow and the various ways in which we spend time with our families. But, of all the important things we may do in a day with our family, prayer is perhaps the most important.
Praying together is a practical demonstration of our faith. It also helps children understand that prayer is a way in which we can communicate with God. By the simple act of sincere prayer, we can raise our consciousness to the platform of divinity and in reciprocation the divine power acts as a compass allowing us to steer in the right direction.
Prayer when offered without selfish motives develops humility and gratitude because it reminds us of our dependence on God and all that He has bestowed upon us. These two are important virtues on which lie the principle of respect, which is so very important in family life.
Vedic and many other scriptures are full of wonderful prayers that one can recite daily. Even if we may not know how to recite shlokas or render poetic prayers, we can still attempt to pray together with our sincere hearts.
Perhaps we need to slow down our busy and grossly distracted lives just enough so that we can set aside some family prayer time daily. If not daily, a few times a week, if not few times a week, at least once a week?