How an Interfaith Family Prays

The emphasis is on finding points of common spirituality where prayers intersect.

Reprinted with permission from the "Circle of Grace" website.

How can parents with divergent perspectives create an environment in which family prayer can take place?

The answers to this question are various and few of them are easy. Some couples make an agreement that their children will be raised in either the father's or mother's religion. But there are times when agreements like this founder when one of the parents experiences a change of heart--and the inevitable tensions that follow. Some parents attempt to expose their children to both traditions, even to the extent of going to two different weekly worship services. Others find that they simply have to eliminate any practice of prayer or devotion in the home in order to avoid creating a minefield.


It is the choice to live out some type of "both/and" approach that will prove to be the most challenging on a day-to-day basis. To try to understand the challenge better, we asked our friend Leah Buturain to share her experience with us. Leah is a Catholic and her husband Ed is Jewish. Leah spoke very frankly about the tensions and tribulations of an interfaith household, but she stressed that even in the muddle of daily life, "prayer is all the more essential as a way to seek strength and unity beyond and in the midst of differences."

Like many parents in interfaith marriages, Leah works very hard to expose her children to the riches of both traditions. Also, as in many Jewish-Christian families there is a special emphasis on the shared Jewish heritage. The most frequent prayers in the Buturain home are said in Hebrew: the Sh'ma ("Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one") and a grace ("Blessed art thou O Lord our God, ruler of the universe who bringest forth this bread from the earth").

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Gregory and Suzanne M. Wolfe
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