Author Topic: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?  (Read 3673 times)

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Offline scamandrius

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Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« on: June 07, 2011, 07:18:10 PM »
Our beloved border collie, Jasmine, has been at the vet's now for five days and the prognosis is not good.  My fiancee and I hope to take her home for a few days to say our good-byes and spend quality time with her.  In the morning prayers and in the Litanies, we ask God to remember those who are sick and suffering so is it wrong to include her?  She's not a human, but she is part of the family and she has brought my fiancee and myself closer together the past year and much joy.  So, what do you think?
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2011, 07:20:11 PM »
The Divine Liturgy prays for abundant harvests.

If plants are ok, why not pets?
« Last Edit: June 07, 2011, 07:20:23 PM by NicholasMyra »
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Offline mike

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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2011, 07:21:26 PM »
In separate prayers or prayers specially dedicated for animals - OK. In the prayers for people (animals mentioned among or instead of people) - no-no. Animals are not people and shouldn't be treated like that.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2011, 07:22:41 PM by Michał Kalina »
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Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2011, 08:12:42 PM »
In this thread:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,35670.0.html

we all prayed for Monk Vasyl and his dear beagle, Bella.

I say, even if we Orthodox are wrong about prayer being efficacious for the dead, the Lord will not despise any prayer which is made in love. I think the same applies to prayers for our dear pets. So yes, I say pray as much as you can ...

Lord, have mercy on the work of your hands and bring comfort to scamandrius, his fiancee and their dear Jasmine.
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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2011, 08:21:53 PM »
Our beloved border collie, Jasmine, has been at the vet's now for five days and the prognosis is not good.  My fiancee and I hope to take her home for a few days to say our good-byes and spend quality time with her.  In the morning prayers and in the Litanies, we ask God to remember those who are sick and suffering so is it wrong to include her?  She's not a human, but she is part of the family and she has brought my fiancee and myself closer together the past year and much joy.  So, what do you think?
Of course it is not wrong.  You pray for her whenever you feel like, and don't let anyone tell you different.

Offline bogdan

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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2011, 10:35:27 PM »
Two prayers for animals attributed to St Basil:

O God, enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all living things, our brothers the animals to whom Thou gavest the earth as their home in common with us. We remember with shame that in the past we have exercised the high dominion of man with ruthless cruelty so that the voice of the earth, which should have gone up to Thee in song has been a groan of travail. May we realize that they live not for us alone, but for themselves and for Thee and that they love the sweetness of life even as we, and serve Thee better in their place than we in ours.

For those, O Lord, the humble beasts, that bear with us the burden and heat of day, and offer their guileless lives for the well-being of mankind; and for the wild creatures, whom Thou hast made wise, strong, and beautiful, we supplicate for them Thy great tenderness of heart, for Thou hast promised to save both man and beast, and great is Thy loving kindness, O Master, Saviour of the world.


I especially like the line "[they] serve Thee better in their place than we in ours." So humbling.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2011, 10:36:18 PM by bogdan »

Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2011, 11:11:37 AM »
This is MY opinion, but I don't think that it is a good idea to pray for pets.

Animals are here to serve mankind.  Of course they do have a soul as the translation out of Hebrew in Genesis says "having a soul" when animals were created, but its not the same as people.  They REALLY aren't family members, but we all like our pets.

Remember mankind in your prayers.  Pray for the sick that you may not know over an animal.

Just my thoughts.
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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2011, 11:20:08 AM »
This is MY opinion, but I don't think that it is a good idea to pray for pets.

Animals are here to serve mankind.  Of course they do have a soul as the translation out of Hebrew in Genesis says "having a soul" when animals were created, but its not the same as people.  They REALLY aren't family members, but we all like our pets.

Remember mankind in your prayers.  Pray for the sick that you may not know over an animal.

Just my thoughts.

And yet all Creation groans (Rom 8:22). 

Seriously, this is definitely a situation where it's better to light a candle than curse the darkness.  Praying for the entire world, not just humanity, is part of Christian theosis.

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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2011, 11:28:25 AM »
I don't really include critters in formal prayers, but probably only a small percentage of my praying is formal.  I frequently pray that if an animal of mine is ill or feeling bad that God has mercy on His creation.  When I see a dead critter on the side of the road I cross myself because I see that one of God's creation has been destroyed by human convenience.  When I eat meat or dairy products I ask God for forgiveness that my weakness has lead to His creations' suffering.  I keep the animal in mind but the prayer is to God and is for the animal but in relation to God.
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Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2011, 11:13:44 PM »
This is MY opinion, but I don't think that it is a good idea to pray for pets.

Animals are here to serve mankind.  Of course they do have a soul as the translation out of Hebrew in Genesis says "having a soul" when animals were created, but its not the same as people.  They REALLY aren't family members, but we all like our pets.

Remember mankind in your prayers.  Pray for the sick that you may not know over an animal.

Just my thoughts.

And yet all Creation groans (Rom 8:22). 

Seriously, this is definitely a situation where it's better to light a candle than curse the darkness.  Praying for the entire world, not just humanity, is part of Christian theosis.


Absolutely agreed.   I was very unclear in my post.  I tend to put an huge emphasis on all humanity over animals.
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Offline Robb

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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2011, 11:56:52 PM »
I see no problem with praying for ones pets.  They are, after all a part of your family and their health and well being are directly related to yours.

Don't the Orthodox consider saints Prolus (sp), and Lazaras as patrons of animals?
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Offline deusveritasest

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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2011, 12:08:59 AM »
This is MY opinion, but I don't think that it is a good idea to pray for pets.

Animals are here to serve mankind.  Of course they do have a soul as the translation out of Hebrew in Genesis says "having a soul" when animals were created, but its not the same as people.

1. Having "dominion" over animals does not necessarily imply that they are simply here to serve us. All it means is that we are the heads and rulers within (saying this as obviously God is the real ruler over Creation) Creation.

2. Either way, how would that imply that there is no reason to be praying for anything for animals? Even if they are just a resource to us, there is still a precedent for praying for resources anyway.

3. How does animals not being personal on the same level indicate that it is not a good idea to pray for them? We pray for plants in the Liturgy.
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Offline bogdan

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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2011, 12:21:32 AM »
1. Having "dominion" over animals does not necessarily imply that they are simply here to serve us. All it means is that we are the heads and rulers within (saying this as obviously God is the real ruler over Creation) Creation.

Indeed.

"May we realize that they live not for us alone, but for themselves and for Thee and that they love the sweetness of life even as we, and serve Thee better in their place than we in ours."

That was from St Basil I posted above. In other words, the animals exist to bear witness to God and glorify him in different ways than we do. God didn't create anything simply for our use.

Another saint (I don't recall who offhand, but I could try and look it up if desired) said that the animals are basically innocent creatures, having simple souls, and God loves them too. And in some way they love him back.

Since humans are priests over creation, we mediate between God and creation. Part of our duty as priests is to pray for creation.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2011, 12:22:33 AM by bogdan »

Offline scamandrius

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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2011, 10:17:02 PM »
They REALLY aren't family members, but we all like our pets.

Remember mankind in your prayers.  Pray for the sick that you may not know over an animal.

Oh, yes, she was REALLY a family member.  We loved her, cared for her, we raised her, we provided for her and she returned love and affection (though  not properly understood by her in those terms).

I do pray for the sick, known and unknown to me (thanks for checking on my orthopraxy), but why not do both?

BTW, just so you know, this family member whom you don't count died yesterday.  Are you also going to tell me my grief over her death is misplaced and inappropriate because my grief is not focused on the sick and dieing whom I don't know?
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Offline PeaceSerenity

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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2011, 10:27:37 PM »
Several weeks ago our priest told us that one of the names on our church's prayer list for the departed (Skipio, I think), was secretly added by one of the younger girls in our parish. It seems that Skipio was her dead goldfish :) The name was removed, obviously, but it makes a cute story

Offline Robb

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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2011, 10:41:23 PM »
I love animals, especially dogs, but the thing I hate is that they grow old and die so much quicker then we do.  Also when they become old, they suffer from arthritis and other ailments.  Yet unlike a human who, at least knows that they have grown old and are suffering the natural consequences of it, the animals can't comprehend it.  Suffering must be a great mystery for them and it pains me to see them have to pass through this ordeal without even being aware of what is happening to them and why.  At least, as I hear they are oblivious to their own deaths.  Unlike we humans who live our lives under the constant shadow of our own demise, an animal will live their lives without ever once having a fear or understanding of their own death.
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Offline Agia Marina

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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2011, 02:04:32 AM »
They REALLY aren't family members, but we all like our pets.

Remember mankind in your prayers.  Pray for the sick that you may not know over an animal.

Oh, yes, she was REALLY a family member.  We loved her, cared for her, we raised her, we provided for her and she returned love and affection (though  not properly understood by her in those terms).

I do pray for the sick, known and unknown to me (thanks for checking on my orthopraxy), but why not do both?

BTW, just so you know, this family member whom you don't count died yesterday.  Are you also going to tell me my grief over her death is misplaced and inappropriate because my grief is not focused on the sick and dieing whom I don't know?
I'm so sorry, scamandrius.  :'(
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2011, 10:39:45 AM »
^Thank you, Agia Marina.  It's been a very tough two days.
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Offline Robb

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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2011, 04:44:32 PM »
Lord have mercy.  I'm sure she is in a better place now.
Men may dislike truth, men may find truth offensive and inconvenient, men may persecute the truth, subvert it, try by law to suppress it. But to maintain that men have the final power over truth is blasphemy, and the last delusion. Truth lives forever, men do not.
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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2011, 05:05:11 PM »
It's been a very tough two days.

Very sorry to read of your loss. 

There was a great post in which ElijahMaria asserted an admittedly unofficial and personal belief that we will, if judged favorably, be reunited with certain animals who we shared this sort of close relationship with.  I think she specifically mentioned their response to our name for them as being one criteria for this.  I love that idea.  Best wishes during this difficult time. 
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Offline Tallitot

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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2011, 07:16:52 PM »
On Friday evening after lighting the Shabbat candles it's traditional to bless the children. Since there are no children in our house we bless our doggies. Our Rabbi has told us this is acceptable. In fact last week Kermit turned 17 (about 120 in ppl years), and we said special prayers of thanksgiving for him.
We have dogs at services frequently because one member of the congreagtion trains guide dogs for the blind. I'm sure the blind consider these dogs as family members. Would it be wrong to pray for them?
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Offline Tallitot

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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2011, 07:23:30 PM »
interesting site:

Orthodox Prayer for & with our Fellow Creatures
"I have been researching the subject of the Orthodox Church and animals for approximately 2 1/2 years now. On these pages I will only touch on what the Church says through the Bible, Patristic and contemporary writings.."

http://members.tripod.com/~Near_to_God/AllThings.html
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Offline Vlad

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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2011, 08:24:08 PM »
Our beloved border collie, Jasmine, has been at the vet's now for five days and the prognosis is not good.  My fiancee and I hope to take her home for a few days to say our good-byes and spend quality time with her.  In the morning prayers and in the Litanies, we ask God to remember those who are sick and suffering so is it wrong to include her?  She's not a human, but she is part of the family and she has brought my fiancee and myself closer together the past year and much joy.  So, what do you think?

I pray for my dog everyday. God cares for all creation.

Offline Vlad

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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2011, 08:34:45 PM »
On Friday evening after lighting the Shabbat candles it's traditional to bless the children. Since there are no children in our house we bless our doggies. Our Rabbi has told us this is acceptable. In fact last week Kermit turned 17 (about 120 in ppl years), and we said special prayers of thanksgiving for him.


Thats cool.

What I do every night after I read from my prayer book is I say a separate prayer thanking God for the days blessings and asking Him to "Guide bless and protect from all harm and evil My Family, Friends and dog Maggie."

Offline Vlad

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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2011, 08:38:01 PM »
They REALLY aren't family members, but we all like our pets.

Remember mankind in your prayers.  Pray for the sick that you may not know over an animal.

Oh, yes, she was REALLY a family member.  We loved her, cared for her, we raised her, we provided for her and she returned love and affection (though  not properly understood by her in those terms).

I do pray for the sick, known and unknown to me (thanks for checking on my orthopraxy), but why not do both?

BTW, just so you know, this family member whom you don't count died yesterday.  Are you also going to tell me my grief over her death is misplaced and inappropriate because my grief is not focused on the sick and dieing whom I don't know?

So sorry to hear that. And I know what you mean pets do become family members.

Offline biro

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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2011, 08:48:36 PM »
I think it is acceptable. God made the world, and he saw that it was very good.  :)

Offline Robb

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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2011, 02:57:35 AM »
When one of my dogs was having an epileptic seizure, I anonted him with holy oil from St. John Maximovitch tomb and prayed for his recovery. 
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Is it wrong/weird/bizarre/OK to pray for one's pets?
« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2011, 04:01:07 AM »
I'm so sorry, Scamandrius. Praying.