This article is adapted from 77 Ways to Pray with Your Kids. Get all 77 ways (and hundreds of ideas) in our free whole-book preview.
The next time you pray with your family, consider inviting a few friends to pray with you . . . not just any friends, but the women, children, and men who pray face-to-face with God because of their perfect union with him.
These special friends are the saints, of course, and Catholics don’t hesitate to ask for their prayers. (If you or your kids wonder about this practice, see the Talking Points section below.)
Start out by asking St. Anthony to intercede for your kids when they lose important things around the house. Branch out to other saints by learning the patron saints associated with various causes and issues. Here is a brief sampling:
- Animals: St. Francis, St. Martin de Porres
- Children: St. Nicholas
- Computers and the Internet: St. Isidore of Seville, St. Anthony of Padua
- Impossible causes: St. Jude, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini
- Kids with behavior problems and kids who feel like outcasts: St. Dominic Savio
- Students: St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Catherine of Alexandria, Saint Benedict
- Musicians: St. Cecilia
- Orphans and abandoned children: St. Jerome Emiliani
- Teenagers: St. Aloysius Gonzaga, St. Maria Goretti
Talking Points: Why Pray with the Saints?
Some people object to the Catholic practice of asking for the prayers of the saints. Usually, this objection rests on the fact that Christians have one mediator and intercessor in Jesus Christ.
Catholics affirm this basic truth, but also recognize that it is part of God’s plan for all of humanity to participate in his saving work. This is why he chose the Israelites to be the instrument of his salvation for the world, and why Jesus gathered a community of friends to share in his work rather than doing it all himself. Christians are initiated into this work through their baptism, by which they share in the redemptive suffering, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. They continue sharing in God’s saving work by offering their daily lives—all their joys and sufferings and sacrifices—for God’s purposes.
This work doesn’t end when people die. If anything, those who die in friendship with God are able to participate more fully in his work.
Another way to think of it is this: If you have ever prayed for someone else, or asked someone else to pray for you, what you were doing is no different than what we ask the saints to do for us.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2683–2684