The Play and Pray Challenge

planning an intentional summer

People ask us all the time how to ensure that their children embrace the Faith.  There are so many forces arrayed against us as parents – how do we teach our children about the love of God and bring them into relationship with Him?

Our answer is not what you may expect.  Parents need to spend time building the essential elements that form the basis of a child’s image of God.  Those three are: your marriage, your witness to the faith, and your love for them.  

During the month of June, the Messy Family Project is launching The Play and Pray Challenge to give parents the excuse they need to focus on all three!  

So what do you need to do to take the challenge?

  • Plan and go on a DATE NIGHT. Spouses need to take time to rekindle their  friendship and the love between them.  
  • Organize and execute a fantastic FAMILY DAY. Parents are challenged to  bring the family together to have fun while making memories on this one day  dedicated to each other.  
  • Proclaim Jesus Christ as the KING OF THE HOME. Jesus loves families and  He wants their love in return! Place an image of the Sacred Heart in your house  and “enthrone” Him as King sometime during this month.

Why these things and in this order? Because if you want to be a family who prays together, you need to play together! 

Plan a Date Night

We know making time for each other can be hard when children are little but actually, that is when it is most important!  Never allow your children or busy schedules to become an excuse for not prioritizing your marriage. We easily get caught up in the urgent things of our lives – a deadline at work, getting dinner on the table, running our kids to practices – and often don’t get to the important things like our marriages.

Spousal relationships are never urgent but are always important. 

What should you do when you get time alone? Make sure you actually connect and engage with each other!  Don’t waste time talking about logistics like schedules, shopping lists, or the needs of the kids.  Have conversations that build your relationship.  Recall memories of your marriage, or even before you met each other.  Talk about big ideas that you both enjoy like politics, art, or literature. Taking the time away isn’t enough – you have to use this time well. 

We’re  host an online date night on June 15th, so if you need something simple and ready-made, join us!

Plan a Family Fun Day

When we became parents, we took on a new and special responsibility. That responsibility is to proclaim the love of God to our children as the first “heralds of the gospel” to them. One sure way to let your children know how much God loves them is to simply play with them.  

Did you realize that when you are playing cards, swimming, hiking, wrestling, playing games, or just sitting around coloring or reading with children, you are bringing them into the faith?  You are teaching them how God loves them.  You are becoming that image of God for your children in a way that nothing else on this earth can compare to.  The Church teaches us, “…parental love is called to become for the children the visible sign of the very love of God.” Familiaris Consortio, 14

This is why your Family Fun Day is so important!  Take some time this week to plan a great day with your entire family.  It doesn’t have to cost money or involve a lot of travel.  But it does take some thoughtfulness on your part and team work with your spouse and some consideration of all the kids involved. 

Enthrone Jesus as King of Your Home

Finally (and most importantly), we challenge you to Enthrone Jesus as the King of your home on the Feast of the Sacred Heart. What does Enthronement mean? Enthronement means placing an image of the Sacred Heart in your home in a place of honor. By doing so, you’re publicly proclaiming that Jesus Christ is the Lord of your home and of your family. It’s like pledging your allegiance and dedicating everything your family does to our Lord. What a powerful thing to do!

All studies show that parents are the greatest agent of passing on the faith to kids. Public devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a way to be that witness for your children. When your kids see Christ as the King of the home it leaves a powerful mark upon them.  

Nothing can change the world as effectively as parents who are intentionally raising up the next generation to be men and women of virtue, and that virtue can only come from a heart filled with love of God.  Let’s win the world for Christ by starting with our own families.  Let’s consecrate the world to God for love of Him.  

You can find everything you need for the enthronement – the short prayers and a beautiful image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus – in our Play and Pray download, which you can sign up for here!

Bringing It All Together

When you sign up for the Challenge you will be able to download our free guide for our exclusive date night and family fun day ideas and to get everything you need to enthrone Christ in your home. Plus we can then send you our Play and Pray sticker along with an image of the Sacred Heart AND our Messy Family Shepherds will be saying mass for all who sign up for the Challenge.  Bonus!  

Our Play and Pray Challenge is a fun way to help you be intentional, to grow closer as a couple and as a family.  We hope you’ll join us and proclaim Christ as King of the World! 

If you’d like to learn more about making Jesus the King of your home, check out this podcast episode.

Our top tips on summer vacations: Episode 193 and this blog post.

Game night ideas: Episode 220