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Author Topic: Praying with Children  (Read 622 times) Average Rating: 0
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Delphine
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« on: February 10, 2012, 07:20:34 PM »

I just listened to Fr. Thomas Hopko's podcast on personal prayer, and he states that you shouldn't pray in your own words even in family prayer--you should only pray in your own words in your private prayer rule. He then gives some basic guidelines for personally worded prayer.

Are Fr. Thomas' recommendations the norm for Orthodox families? If so, is this also the case when there are young children in the home, or is it ok to do extemporaneous prayer with them to set an example? Parents, do you help your youngest children with private prayer, or do you stick with family prayer and let them come to private prayer on their own?

What does your family prayer look like?
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Delphine
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« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2012, 03:28:05 PM »

I keep thinking that in order to let children know that they can pray in their own words, the parents would have to demonstrate it... even though I never heard my parents pray in their own words. They taught me the prayer to my guardian angel, and all the prayers in the rosary, and that's what we prayed at home. 

I also knew that when I prayed before Mass, it could be any prayer I knew, or any prayer I could come up with. If I was told to pray for someone, I did so silently, in my own words. I guess these things were enough to show me that private, extemporaneous prayer was all right? However, learning this way didn't teach me to, for example, say "Thy will be done" after a request. My personal prayers are also typically a big mess of thoughts without much coherence. I never learned to organize them, and I'd have great difficulty saying them out loud. 

This is why I'm still curious to hear how other families pray in the home. 
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Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2012, 03:41:46 PM »

I'd also be interested in more on this, because honestly the notion that you shouldn't pray to God in your own words around others is garbage to me.

Now I certainly understand that personal prayer should have a certain tone and pattern that is set by the communal prayers. Those inform how we pray informally. But if I am praying with my children, I always use the formalities, such as singing the Lord's Prayer before meals, but I also include petitions for others in need that have asked us to pray for them, or thanksgiving for other things if we feel the need to be thankful together before the meal.

We definitely shouldn't be too loose or casual with our prayers, but I refuse to buy into the fact that if you're around other people, it's gotta be out of the book. The prayers are spoken by us to instruct our piety and manner of life, but we to not slave over the prayers for the sake of them. The whole Sabbath is for man not man for the Sabbath thing.

Of course I've never really received any formal instruction on this from any one, so maybe I'm just wrong. Anyway, I can't recall any times that I have prayed privately with other Orthodox Christians where anyone has really done anything terribly spontaneous. It's usually just personalized petitions included in an acceptable manner. It's important not to get lost in sentimentalism, which is what most Evangelical Protestant prayer often turns into. A sort of gushing over God that makes me uncomfortable. It can easily turn into a personal piety performance for those around, and not much for God. So it's all about balance.

My two cents. Probably not worth much.
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Thomas
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« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2012, 10:58:28 PM »

There are seceral excellent prayerbookd for children that we have used with our children and grandchildren.

Thomas
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Personal Text? We can have personal text?


« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2012, 12:02:50 AM »

I'm certainly far to new to be a guide for anyone in this, but I can say most of what I pray with my children is from "the book" or now a lot of it from our heads since we've gotten to the point of having some of it memorized. Generally though, at least the petitions to God for specific health concerns of friends and family is not and some prayers for good dreams and the like. Beyond that though even my personal prayers are in flux from everything I'm learning.
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Prov. 3: 5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.
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« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2012, 12:16:14 AM »

I'd also be interested in more on this, because honestly the notion that you shouldn't pray to God in your own words around others is garbage to me.

Now I certainly understand that personal prayer should have a certain tone and pattern that is set by the communal prayers. Those inform how we pray informally. But if I am praying with my children, I always use the formalities, such as singing the Lord's Prayer before meals, but I also include petitions for others in need that have asked us to pray for them, or thanksgiving for other things if we feel the need to be thankful together before the meal.

We definitely shouldn't be too loose or casual with our prayers, but I refuse to buy into the fact that if you're around other people, it's gotta be out of the book. The prayers are spoken by us to instruct our piety and manner of life, but we to not slave over the prayers for the sake of them. The whole Sabbath is for man not man for the Sabbath thing.

Of course I've never really received any formal instruction on this from any one, so maybe I'm just wrong. Anyway, I can't recall any times that I have prayed privately with other Orthodox Christians where anyone has really done anything terribly spontaneous. It's usually just personalized petitions included in an acceptable manner. It's important not to get lost in sentimentalism, which is what most Evangelical Protestant prayer often turns into. A sort of gushing over God that makes me uncomfortable. It can easily turn into a personal piety performance for those around, and not much for God. So it's all about balance.

My two cents. Probably not worth much.

I'm with you, Alveus. Almost down to the letter.
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The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.
Delphine
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« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2012, 01:53:48 PM »

Now I certainly understand that personal prayer should have a certain tone and pattern that is set by the communal prayers. Those inform how we pray informally. But if I am praying with my children, I always use the formalities, such as singing the Lord's Prayer before meals, but I also include petitions for others in need that have asked us to pray for them, or thanksgiving for other things if we feel the need to be thankful together before the meal.

That's interesting. The prayer books that I've seen vary as to what to say after the Lord's prayer. So this would be a time for more personalized prayer?

We definitely shouldn't be too loose or casual with our prayers, but I refuse to buy into the fact that if you're around other people, it's gotta be out of the book. The prayers are spoken by us to instruct our piety and manner of life, but we to not slave over the prayers for the sake of them. The whole Sabbath is for man not man for the Sabbath thing.

I like this.
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Delphine
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« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2012, 01:54:39 PM »

There are seceral excellent prayerbookd for children that we have used with our children and grandchildren.

Thomas

Thanks, Thomas. Which prayer books for children would you recommend?
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« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2012, 12:37:19 AM »

That's interesting. The prayer books that I've seen vary as to what to say after the Lord's prayer. So this would be a time for more personalized prayer?

Anytime except during a public service is a great time for personal prayers. In fact, we're supposed to pray ceaselessly per St. Paul's instructions.

But the Lord's Prayer before all meals is customary, and praying this prayer three times a day is mentioned in the Didache (Teachings of the Apostles) in the first century, which might imply that it was the practice before the three meals of the day. There is a strong possibility that this particular tradition was given by the apostles themselves, so I try to always do it.
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Thomas
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« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2012, 01:00:49 AM »

My children enjoyed these prayer books:
1) Guardian Angel Prayer Book An Introduction to The Divine Liturgy and Prayers for the Young Child  by Fr. T. Lozynsky now costs about $17
 

Some newer ones are nicely illustrated and my grandchildren like using these:

1) Bless, O Lord!  A Prayerbook for Young Children  by Fr. Artemy Vladimisov  runs about $14
2) My Prayer Book  Children’s Orthodox Prayer Book in English by Potamitis Publishing costs about $ 30

Thomas
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