"The solution is to be found through the sanctification of the parents. Become saints and you will have no problems with your children." Father Porphyrios , Wounded By Love

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

How We Pray at Home with Children

It can sometimes be a very frustrating task, getting kids to cooperate at daily prayer times..beyond just meals that is. I'm
sharing the bare bones of our morning/evening routine with you, so that we might encourage each other in the daily struggle to teach our kids to pray with their whole  mind, body and soul: to learn that communicating with God is an ongoing relationship and gift of love that requires effort, attentiveness and sacrifice. Here is what we do....please comment and post your tips for others. May God strengthen and illumine us as parents!

MORNING PRAYERS - before breakfast and school
  • Stand and make the sign of the Cross or bows to begin
  • Light individual candles at vigil lamp (vigil lamp is constant flame in our home in front of our icons using olive oil as our continuous offering to God for His presence and blessing. A big void is noticed if this light goes out. Try it for a month and see!)
  • "Through the prayers of the holy fathers, Lord Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen... (ADULT)
  • Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal.....3x    (ROTATE HAVING KIDS SAY THIS)
  • All Holy Trinity, have mercy on us, ....(ANOTHER KID)
  • Glory to the Father, Son, Holy Spirit...   (ANOTHER KID)
  • Our Father...etc   (Another KID)
  • Through the prayers of holy fathers.... (ADULT)
  • THEOS KURIOS   (We all chant this "God is the Lord, and has revealed Himself to us, blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord" with verses from Orthros)
  • (One) Morning Prayer (Having risen from sleep, we thank you o Christ our God....)
  • TIN TIN ME O TERA (We all chant "You are honored more than the Cherubim" with verses and one kid incenses icons and us)
  • Prayer for School  (I can post this if you want - we kneel for this )
  • 3 full body Prostrations saying Jesus prayer aloud. (We end every prayer time with this)
  • Through the prayers of holy fathers...."  (ADULT)
  • Venerate icons
  • Anoint foreheads with holy oil in a cross
  • Eat piece of dried antidoron 
  • Blow out candles
EVENING PRAYERS - much harder and abbreviated often because of bedtime behavior/silliness. Sometimes children listen to the prayers from their beds if unruly
  • Light candle at vigil lamp
  • Through the prayers of holy fathers.... (ADULT)
  • Holy God, Holy mighty, Holy Immortal.....3x    (ROTATE HAVING KIDS SAY THIS)
  • All Holy Trinity, have mercy on us, ....(ANOTHER KID)
  • Glory to the Father, Son, Holy Spirit   (ANOTHER KID)
  • Our Father...etc   (Another KID)
  • Through the prayers of holy fathers.... (ADULT)
  • FOS ILARON  (We chant "O Blessed Light" from Vespers)
  • Evening Prokeimenon  (changes for each day from Vespers)
  • "Grant Lord, to keep up this night without sin..."  (prayer from Vespers)
  • "Lord our God, if during this day, I have sinned...." (prayer while kneeling)
  • 3 full body prostrations saying Jesus Prayer aloud
  • Venerate icons
  • Lights out - sometimes adult reads life of Saint or Bible to fall asleep
Consider asking the kids to chant "Lord Have mercy (3x)" as a good break from Mom or Dad reading all the time. Lastly, consider quiet time for specific "Prayer Rope"to be said. Provide one for each child on car rides, or afterschool walks....praying for people by name. On the drive to Liturgy, read the Epistle/Gospel in your language, or share a feastday lesson. Listen to chanting or lives of Saints.

Of course there are several prayerbooks with prayer rules and prayers for specific needs, the six hours of daily prayer, unceasing Jesus prayer, etc. I simply only wish to offer an abbreviated version of what works in our family at this time.

 What do you do?


Jessica Archuleta said...

In my home prayer times vary. But the goal is to pray everyday at more than just meal time.

We encourage the kids to pray the Jesus prayer throughout the day and to simply to talk to God as often as they can remember.

Our motto is aim high and do what what we can. So we aim to pray morning prayers, either one of the hours or selections from Matins. Vespers and a short version of Compline. All of this doesn't happen everyday but sometimes it does and we do what we can.

I am glad you shared your own family's routine :-)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your routine. This is something I can aspire to. We do say prayers in the morning and evening but I do have difficulty getting them to cooperate. Would you mind sharing the ages of your children? Please post the school prayer. Thank you again!

Orthodox Education said...


O God, You who are the Giver of all light; help (name), the other students, teachers and staff, we pray to walk this day as children of the light. Bless their school with the brightness of Your presence. Help them to be honest and good in all that they do. Put far from them all cowardice and deceit, and every work of darkness. Grant that they may learn to be kind and loving to one another, so that they may follow the example of Your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Finally, illumine all to the teaching of Your holy Orthodox Church, the confession of the fathers and witness of the martyrs. To You we offer glory, + to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.


Gracious God, our heavenly Father, You who love mankind, and are most merciful and compassionate, have mercy on Your servants (names) for whom I humbly pray, and commend to Your gracious care and protection. Be their guide and guardian in all their endeavors, lead them in the path of Your Truth; and draw them nearer to You, that they may lead a godly and righteous life in Your love and fear, doing Your will in all things. Give them grace that they may be temperate, industrious, diligent, devout and charitable. Defend them against the attacks of the evil one, and grant them wisdom and strength to resist all temptation and corruption of this life. Direct them in the way of salvation, through the merits of Your Son, + our Saviour Jesus Christ, and the prayers of His Holy Mother and Your blessed Saints. Amen.

Our children are 6, 4 1/2 and 3

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Brian Stipp said...

Can you share what kind of vigil lamp you use? I have been considering getting one, but not sure what is appropriate for a home. Also, what type of prayer rope/prayers do you encourage them to use?
Thank you! I'm new to the Orthodox faith, so I have so much to learn and so many questions!

Matt said...

I love these prayer rules! I am curious, do you use only one Tone for your moveable chants Theos Kyrios and Theotokion or do you teach the children to use all 8 tones?

Orthodox Education said...

Hello Matt,
We try to switch tones as the kids seem to have this ability more easily than adults. Hopefully, it will train their ears! We have also designated M, W, and F for a second language, Greek particularly. This way, there's no arguing about which language they might prefer....we do both, period!

Annalisa said...

Thank you for sharing your prayer rule, it is helpful to hear how other families pray together. Our family is new to the Orthodox Church and I would LOVE to sing more of the prayers, but I don't know how to learn them. I have a music background, but the language and terminology, both musical and liturgical, of Orthodoxy is a barrier to our learning how to sing the hymns and prayers. Do you know of a good resource?

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