The How and Why of Children and Prayer

Yes, children suffer.  Sometimes silently, sometimes loudly. Children suffer over seemingly small things liketeasing or receiving a poor grade in school or a friend moving away.  Children also suffer because of fear, loss & grief, abandonment, attachment trauma, medical illness and abuse.

Whatever the extent of the suffering, small, temporary, pervasive, prayer can bring a sense of calm, peace and unconditional love. Teaching our children to pray for gratitude and for help for the small and for the large experiences in their day teaches them to invite the Holy Trinity into their life.

God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit are always present and active in our children’s lives.  Prayer will help our children become more aware of the Holy Trinity’s presence so that they will always know they are not alone; that they do not have to suffer alone; that they have a power greater than themselves, greater than their parents(!), to always listen, comfort, love and guide.

Here is a simple prayer to the Holy Trinity your children can memorize and stay “tapped in” to throughout their day:

Trinity Prayer
Love of Jesus fill us.
Holy Spirit guide us.
Will of the Father be done.
Amen.

 

Patti M. Zordich

By

Patti M. Zordich, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and Director & Founder of Triangle Psychological Services in Cary, NC. Dr. Zordich holds a Ph.D. in Developmental and Educational Psychology with an emphasis in clinical psychology, a Master's Degree in Education Dr. Zordich converted to the Catholic faith in 1996 and established Triangle Psychological Services in 2007 with the mission of providing expert psychological services consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Dr. Zordich has been in private practice since 1997 first in Pittsburgh and then in North Carolina. Child and teen behavior problems, marital counseling, PTSD, post-abortion healing and psychoeducational and psychological testing are a few of her specialities. She has been an adjunct professor in the University of Pittsburgh, and has presented to parishes, schools, agencies and conferences in both Pittsburgh and North Carolina on early adoption adjustment, internet safety, porn and addiction and building stronger families. She has published Gotcha! Welcoming Your Adopted Child Home: A Guide for Newly Adoptive Parents. You can read more from Dr. Zordich at Dr. Patti’s Blog at trypsych.com/drpattisblog.

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  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGsYrpejAYw Seeker8

    I am convinced that the only reason I am still around and still have a chance at Heaven is the prayers I prayed as a toddler. My mother had taught me about Purgatory. I pictured it as this line (or queue) reaching up into the clouds of invisible people waiting to get into Heaven. So every night before bed, I would get on my knees and say “God, please let the line move one place up in Purgatory.” Years later, after learning how God regards the prayers of these little ones, It gives me good chills to think that some of these souls are in heaven praying for me. :)

  • Columbus Fatima

    It is unfortunate that on a website including “Catholic” in its
    title, there could be posted an article with such an enormous misunderstanding
    of a foundational teaching of the Catholic Church. In regard to
    suffering, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states
    “….. the sick person receives the strength and the gift of uniting
    himself more closely to Christ’s Passion: in a certain way he is
    consecrated to bear fruit by configuration to the Savior’s redemptive
    Passion. Suffering, a consequence of original sin, acquires a new
    meaning; it becomes a participation in the saving work of Jesus.” (
    CCC 1521)

    Additionally, in 1984, Blessed Pope John Paul II released his apostolic letter
    Salvifici Doloris (On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering). This rich
    and beautiful document addressed, in depth, specifically the question
    of suffering and offered us many profound insights. In this letter,
    Pope John Paul looked at all of the important passages in Sacred
    Scripture that address the question of suffering. I encourage Dr. Zordich to read this rich document, which can be accessed, in its entirety, online for free at
    many sites.

    Finally, when Our Lady of Fatima appeared to the little shepherd children in
    Fatima, Portugal in 1917, the angel who first appeared gave the children the beautiful “Sacrifice Prayer”: “O my Jesus, I offer this for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the
    Immaculate Heart of Mary.” This prayer is powerful in the face of suffering, and is easy enough for any child or adult to remember.

    As a convert, I encourage Dr. Zordich, if she has not already, to spend time reading the above referenced section of the Catechism, as well as Blessed Pope John Paul II’s apostolic letter. The teaching of the church on suffering, rich and textured, is one of the many, many “pearls” that allow Holy Mother Church to shine in the splendor of Truth.

  • pnyikos

    You are being needlessly critical. There is a place in the Church for both the kinds of things of which the article talks, and the things about which you talk. We need not always be theologically deep. There are many saints who lived on the level of the article. Great Catholic authors like Tolkien and Chesterton knew about the many facets of human nature, and wrote accordingly.

  • lightedlamp97

    I love the simplicity of this prayer…It will become a favorite. A wise woman once told me, “don’t pray for suffering, it will come.” Isn’t that the truth! Sometimes, the best we can hope for is to provide a haven (home) that our children can turn to when the world gets tough. We can’t always remove the suffering but we should if we’re able. That discernment will be revealed through God and his will for your life. Once we make that switch, all for HIS will, how quickly and freely he speaks to us. I believe this sweet little prayer could help you moment by moment and teach your little ones to turn their hearts to God as well. Thanks for sharing and where did you find it?

  • Dr. Patti M. Zordich

    Hi Lightedlamp97, I made up the prayer. I enjoyed your comments.

  • Dr. Patti M. Zordich

    Hello Columbus Fatima,

    Thank you for your comments and reviewing the Catholic Church’s teachings on suffering. I, too, am grateful for this As a Catholic therapist, it is a blessing to be able to explore this with my suffering clients. However, this article is about young children. It is about helping adults be more aware that children do suffer, even if it seems like a small thing from an adult’s perspective. It is about helping adults to comfort children when they are suffering. Even with all of these wonderful teachings on suffering, the Church also encourages us to comfort the suffering. Yes, we can teach children to offer up their suffering, however, young children won’t understand this and even if they do, they still need comforting. Lastly, helping children know that they can turn to God the Father, our Blessed Mother, and the communion of saints for strength is also an incredible gift of our faith. It is also wonderful for children to know, and adults too, that they can pray from their heart with their own words.

  • Dr. Patti M. Zordich

    Thank you for your comments, pnyikos. Takling about simplicity, I’ve just finished reading Story of a Soul. What a beautiful, simple, theology. She certainly grew in her understanding and capability of offering up her suffering.

  • Dr. Patti M. Zordich

    Thank you, Guest. I love your imagery!

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