« back to all posts

A Tool to Help Families Reflect and Pray Each Day

By: Sarah Pedrozo on June 9th, 2024

Print/Save as PDF

A Tool to Help Families Reflect and Pray Each Day

family prayer  |  Catholic Family Fun  |  family life

Now that the long, slower days of summer are finally here, they bring with them the invitation to slow down a little. Hopefully, the lengthy twilights and break from school brings a sense of less urgency and more playtime to your home. Of course, the flip side of no school and more flexibility can also mean that the house seems to perpetually be half a step away from descending into complete chaos.

When my kids were growing up, summer meant sleeping in and a lot of time for bedtime stories. On the other hand, it was also the season when one or another of my boys would get mad and inform us he was going to run away and we’d be sorry! So summer brings both sides of the coin. (By the way, they only ran away to the stop sign a block away. I would wander over a while later with some snacks in case they had run out of food. They usually had. One time, their dad dropped off a pillow, so they “would sleep better.” They all eventually decided home wasn’t so bad after all.) That is the great thing about summer: there’s even time for some mini-adventures.


Ordinary Time invites us to grow in faith 

The summer months take place during Ordinary Time: that lovely, green season of the Liturgical Calendar when we count, or “order” the weeks. Ordinary Time doesn’t mean “boring, regular time.” Instead, Ordinary Time invites us back to the business of growing in faith, of settling into the process of continual conversion. 

Ordinary Time is a time for growth and maturation, a time in which the mystery of Christ is called to penetrate ever more deeply into history until all things are finally caught up in Christ.” (Ordinary Time | USCCB




Teaching Gratitude, Humility, and Hope 

One way to grow in the life of faith that lends itself to the summer months in particular is to use the “Roses, Thorns, and Buds” method of discussing the day’s events. This is a fairly well-known three-step process of getting your family members to talk to each other and reflect on their day.


During a quiet moment toward the end of the day, ask everyone to name a “Rose.” What was the best thing that happened since the time they woke up? This doesn’t necessarily have to be anything major. It could be as simple as noticing the sunset or petting a dog. This question teaches gratitude, and it's important to realize that there is always something good in each day. To turn this practice into prayer, simply end by saying something like, “Lord, we/I give thanks to You today for…”


Then ask the second question: What was the most challenging thing that happened during the day? This is the “Thorn” of the day. The event might have been how someone treated them, or how they treated someone else. Discussing the “Thorn” gives everyone a chance to process a difficult situation and think about how to handle it should it happen again. The daily “Thorns” teach humility. End this question by praying,” Lord, help me/we or forgive me/we for…”


Finally, ask about the “Bud,” something that each person is looking forward to, wants to try, or a new idea. The “Bud” question is all about looking forward with hope. Once again, end by praying something like “Lord, we look forward in hope to …” 




The Daily Examen 

When done consistently, the “Roses, Thorns, and Buds” method teaches another Catholic practice, the daily Examen. This prayer practice, developed by Saint Ignatius, is a big part of Ignatian spirituality. Like the “Roses, Thorns and Buds” method, the Daily Examen asks the pray-er to reflect on his or her day, especially focusing on where he or she noticed the presence of God.


The Examen has five steps:  

  1. Become aware of God’s presence.
  2. Review the day with gratitude.
  3. Pay attention to your emotions.
  4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
  5. Look toward tomorrow. (The Daily Examen - IgnatianSpirituality.com)


The Daily Examen is a grown-up version of the “Roses, Thorns, and Buds” method. It requires a bit more discernment and practice to bear fruit, especially taking into account the spiritual development of children and teens, who tend to do better when prayer is connected to concrete objects, such as a rose, a thorn, and a rosebud. So, starting off by developing the habit of reflecting on our day in a simple way helps to lead into deeper meditation later. It’s building up the muscle memory, so to speak, needed to maintain a prayer life. 




During these summer months of Ordinary Time, try the “Roses, Thorns, and Buds” method and see what happens as your family navigates between flexibility and chaos, notice where God is present in your life and working in your family. A blessed summer to all! 

About Sarah Pedrozo

Sarah Pedrozo has worked in family faith formation for the past 15 years, helping families learn and live their Catholic faith. With master's degrees in theology and English, she especially likes using stories to catechize. Sarah blogs at BasketsAndBlessings.com, in between working and taking care of her family. She loves bluebonnets, her rescue dogs and the Texas Hill Country.