One of my closest mother friend is a very devout mom and I was always so envious of her home altar it seemed to me that she had it all made, that was until she told me that prayer was not an easy thing for her to get into or to get the family to engage in. What she cautioned was not to impose her prayer style on everyone but try to incorporate a style that is simple enough for the youngest but still interesting enough for the older members of the family.
Basic Family Altar:
1. My friend said she had first had the altar in the family kitchen. She thought it had great spiritual resonates for her: combing the making of food as a spiritual aspect of feeding the family; but it didn’t work, far too distracting.
So find a place in your home that is quiet, peaceful but still accessible.
2. Place a small table, desk or similar item in your prayer area. The item you use should be tall enough that any objects you place on it will be at eye level when you kneel.
3. Gather Bibles, prayer books, rosaries, that will be helpful while praying. Get input from the children about what they might like to offer.
4. You might want to try and decorate your altar to reflect the liturgical year.
For families with younger children.
1. Place the altar in a peaceful, accessible area of the house
2. Invite the younger ones to decorate the altar and bring in a child’s Bible, rosaries and other child-friendly religious items
3. Have the children help to bring in ways to decorate for the liturgical calendar.
We have all seen gardens with Mary statues, creating an outdoor space may be limiting because of regional weather, but it is a wonderful way to spend time with God through the intimacy of nature
Individual prayer centers:
Not every family is comfortable with prayer centers, but want a more intimate private prayer area, there is nothing wrong with that. Private prayer areas can be as creative as more public family centers, they can be portable, small and discreet, still a powerful place to try and find time with God. These centers might be just the speed for moms with very young children.