Author Topic: Children and Ceaseless Prayer  (Read 1326 times)

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Offline Sleeper

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Children and Ceaseless Prayer
« on: May 18, 2013, 10:11:23 AM »
I've been reading a lot about prayer of the heart, the Jesus Prayer, ceaseless prayer, etc., lately and I find the psychology/anthropology behind it all fascinating. But it got me thinking about training children to practice the remembrance of God. I know many of the Fathers say to not undertake ceaseless prayer without a guide, but wouldn't it be beneficial for children to make this a part of their life as soon as possible? I suppose I'm just wondering if anyone here with children tries to teach their children the Jesus Prayer and encourage them to say it as often as possible, or if the Fathers made any specific references to beginning this type of instruction early in a person's life?

Thanks.

Offline mike

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Re: Children and Ceaseless Prayer
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2013, 10:17:24 AM »
If you want discourage them from the Church forcing them to pray is the best way.
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Offline Sleeper

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Re: Children and Ceaseless Prayer
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2013, 10:19:15 AM »
If you want discourage them from the Church forcing them to pray is the best way.

I agree. I'm not talking about forcing anyone to do anything.  :)

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Children and Ceaseless Prayer
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2013, 10:28:06 AM »
Considering the modern holy elders like Elder Iakovos of Evia and Elder Cleopa of Romania, they were influenced, but not forced, by members of their family. Elder Cleopa had the example of his brothers who were very devout and prayed often and Elder Iakovos had the example of his mother, who would rise in the middle of the night to pray. Little Iakovos saw her do this and imitated her, to the extent of leaving the house in the middle of the night and visiting a lonely chapel to pray. They did this because they saw that it was good and were open to it. It doesn't appear that their relatives' even considered teaching what they were doing.
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Offline Ashman618

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Re: Children and Ceaseless Prayer
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2013, 10:32:49 AM »
Considering the modern holy elders like Elder Iakovos of Evia and Elder Cleopa of Romania, they were influenced, but not forced, by members of their family. Elder Cleopa had the example of his brothers who were very devout and prayed often and Elder Iakovos had the example of his mother, who would rise in the middle of the night to pray. Little Iakovos saw her do this and imitated her, to the extent of leaving the house in the middle of the night and visiting a lonely chapel to pray. They did this because they saw that it was good and were open to it. It doesn't appear that their relatives' even considered teaching what they were doing.

So if we're going to try to verbally influence children to pray we should make sure they are visually influenced by the fact they actually see us do it.  There's even a part in the way of the pilgrim , where a child is forced to do it.....

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Children and Ceaseless Prayer
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2013, 10:42:34 AM »
Considering the modern holy elders like Elder Iakovos of Evia and Elder Cleopa of Romania, they were influenced, but not forced, by members of their family. Elder Cleopa had the example of his brothers who were very devout and prayed often and Elder Iakovos had the example of his mother, who would rise in the middle of the night to pray. Little Iakovos saw her do this and imitated her, to the extent of leaving the house in the middle of the night and visiting a lonely chapel to pray. They did this because they saw that it was good and were open to it. It doesn't appear that their relatives' even considered teaching what they were doing.

So if we're going to try to verbally influence children to pray we should make sure they are visually influenced by the fact they actually see us do it.  There's even a part in the way of the pilgrim , where a child is forced to do it.....

Elder Porphyrios speaks more of being an example than saying a lot.
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Offline Sleeper

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Re: Children and Ceaseless Prayer
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2013, 10:43:55 AM »
Considering the modern holy elders like Elder Iakovos of Evia and Elder Cleopa of Romania, they were influenced, but not forced, by members of their family. Elder Cleopa had the example of his brothers who were very devout and prayed often and Elder Iakovos had the example of his mother, who would rise in the middle of the night to pray. Little Iakovos saw her do this and imitated her, to the extent of leaving the house in the middle of the night and visiting a lonely chapel to pray. They did this because they saw that it was good and were open to it. It doesn't appear that their relatives' even considered teaching what they were doing.

This is great, thank you. I think modeling is the best tactic, no doubt. If it's a curious child and they ask what you're doing, I'm wondering how appropriate it would be to say, "We are supposed to remember God at all times, and the Fathers teach us to stand before God with our minds in our hearts, constantly crying out to Him 'Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.' When you pray, you should do this to, and here's how..."

I'm wondering if actually instructing them in the ways of pursuing continuous prayer is something we should try to do, or if we should wait until they're older.

Offline mersch

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Re: Children and Ceaseless Prayer
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2013, 11:06:59 AM »
Do they pray with the family before meals? Before bed? When someone is sick? Is it forcing them? Or is it presented as this is what we do and why? Start with a few that are easy for them to remember and/or say with others.  Remember KISS- Keep It Simple Sweetie! Age appropriate for them. remember- it's all in how you approach it or state it.  That goes with anything that you would like them to  do.Reduce the options for them to say no, and increase choices with a few- such as bedtime- do you want to start with this prayer or this one? Instead of do you want to say your prayers now?  What do they see you do? What dont they see you do? (I dont like my own answers to my last two question as to what my own children saw me do, or NOT do when they were little-if only....sigh).

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Children and Ceaseless Prayer
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2013, 11:11:16 AM »
I've been reading a lot about prayer of the heart, the Jesus Prayer, ceaseless prayer, etc., lately and I find the psychology/anthropology behind it all fascinating. But it got me thinking about training children to practice the remembrance of God. I know many of the Fathers say to not undertake ceaseless prayer without a guide, but wouldn't it be beneficial for children to make this a part of their life as soon as possible? I suppose I'm just wondering if anyone here with children tries to teach their children the Jesus Prayer and encourage them to say it as often as possible, or if the Fathers made any specific references to beginning this type of instruction early in a person's life?

Thanks.
If you pray alot, and they see you pray a lot, odds are that they will pray a lot.

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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Children and Ceaseless Prayer
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2013, 12:05:47 PM »

Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline IoanC

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Re: Children and Ceaseless Prayer
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2013, 12:11:50 PM »
I have an article on my blog about hesychasm "vs." unceasing prayer. There is a bit of confusion between the two and it makes unceasing prayer seem like something impossible, but that's not so at all. (http://romanianorthodoxyinenglish.blogspot.ro/2013/04/hesychasm-vs-unceasing-prayer-fr.html)

Offline Rufus

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Re: Children and Ceaseless Prayer
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2013, 02:10:14 PM »


I am really, really not so sure about this one. I'd think it would be very obvious that people get their idea of right and wrong from what they are told rather than what they are shown.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Children and Ceaseless Prayer
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2013, 02:58:53 PM »


I am really, really not so sure about this one. I'd think it would be very obvious that people get their idea of right and wrong from what they are told rather than what they are shown.
Never seen lip service and hypocrisy I see.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Children and Ceaseless Prayer
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2013, 03:09:10 PM »


I am really, really not so sure about this one. I'd think it would be very obvious that people get their idea of right and wrong from what they are told rather than what they are shown.

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"But how? I don't have a map!"

The map for behavior is example. Of course, one also needs to words for direction. One doesn't want to turn in error at Adrianople.
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Offline Rufus

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Re: Children and Ceaseless Prayer
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2013, 03:13:38 PM »
[Isa's picture]

I am really, really not so sure about this one. I'd think it would be very obvious that people get their idea of right and wrong from what they are told rather than what they are shown.
Never seen lip service and hypocrisy I see.

? That's what I would say to you. Most of "right and wrong" is just people repeating what they were educated in. As for what people actually do, I have no idea where that comes from, but I've got several examples of living proof in my life that people don't imitate their parents.

Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: Children and Ceaseless Prayer
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2013, 10:31:19 PM »
The thing is you want to teach your children about God & his wonders... How he has blessed them.  They'll want to pray themselves.
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