- Witnessing to the Joy of Love: Reflection Guide
- MY FAMILY HOME (Introduction and Part I My Family Home: A Place to Encounter the Living Christ)
- GENDER MATTERS
- PURITY MATTERS:
PRAYERS FOR THE DOMESTIC CHURCH
Sometimes prayer can flow very easily and other times it is a challenge. Our prayer lives, like our relationship with God, should grow and deepen with time. Sometimes as adults we find ourselves wanting to pray and not really knowing how. Or, we realize that we don’t really have a prayer life beyond the prayers we learned as children. According to Orthodox theologian Fr. Georges Florovsky”:
“The true aim of prayer is to enter into conversation with God. It is not restricted to certain hours of the day. A Christian has to feel himself personally in the presence of God. The goal of prayer is precisely to be with God always.”
The prayers we learned as children are good places to start–The “Our Father”, “Hail Mary” and the Rosary and Jesus Prayer “Lord Jesus Christ, son of the Living God, Have Mercy on me a sinner” (can be prayed using a Prayer Rope or chotke for repeated meditative prayer) are great places to start in developing our prayer lives. God want’s us to pray honestly and from our heart–to hear our concerns and to have us listen to what He wants to tell us. Praying with scripture can be of great assistance in this (Lectio Divina style). The main thing about prayer, like with most good things, is to “Just do it!” (Thanks NIKE!) There is no time like the present to start. Taking small steps to create a “rule of prayer” in your life and taking time daily to remember God will make a huge difference. As a parent one of my greatest motivators is to pray for my children but we must not forget to pray with our children to truly teach them the importance of prayer in our lives.
Prayer for the Family
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I humbly ask you to grant your mercy and grace to my family. In our relationships, prayer, work and recreation may our home be a sanctuary of peace, purity, love, and faith. I beg you to protect and bless all of us, absent or present, living and dead.
Holy Theotokos, and our loving Mother, please pray to Jesus for our family, and for all the families of the world and the natural family instituted by God–which is increasingly threatened in the world. Protect the children, in the wombs of their mothers, in their cradles, and as they play and learn. Help our family to be a school of holiness. Protect our youth and help them to seek God’s plan for their lives and vocations.
Holy St. Joseph, earthly guardian of Jesus and Mary, assist us by your prayers in all the necessities of life. Ask of Jesus that special grace which He granted to you, to watch over our home at the pillow of the sick and the dying, as we recognize that the time will come for all of us to leave this earthly life. Please be with us and pray for us so that, with you and the Holy Mother of God, all the members of our family will attain the heavenly Kingdom and our family unity will be unbroken. Amen.
Adapted from the “Prayer for a family” from the With God; Z Bohom prayerbook Compiled, Edited and written by Sister Theodosia Papirnik, Ukrainian Sisters of St. Joseph, 67.
O Loving God, Maker of the Universe and Creator of the human race. You created us in your “image and likeness” to be in loving relationships exemplified by the Holy Trinity. You also, in the beginning, created the institution of Holy Matrimony and blessed it at the Wedding in Cana. Knowing the importance of marriage I pray that you grant me the grace to be a good husband, to love and respect the wife you have given me on my wedding day.
Heal me and cleanse me of all lust and distorted desire, to be able to truly live and give myself in love to my wife. I know that the desire you have placed in my heart to love her is good and holy. I ask that you grant me the ability to live in holiness and chastity with her. Help me to love, encourage and support her in all her efforts. Give me the grace to love my companion as Christ loves His Church, giving myself in love for her. Help me to comfort her and overlook the shortcomings from which no human being is completely free here on earth–myself included. Grant that we may live in peace and unity without quarrels and fighting, settling all our disagreements in love.
Give us the grace to rejoice in the children that You send to us. Help us to be responsible parents, and to raise our children in faith and love. Help us to lovingly discipline them and to teach them to become mature adults who are obedient to your commandments and faithful to the teachings of your Holy Church. Help us to be good examples of what it
means to be a faithful member of the Church and active in our local parish community. And grant us the means to support our family. I ask this through the prayers of the Most Holy Theotokos, for the glory of your holy name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.
Adapted from the “Husband’s Prayer” from With God; Z Bohom. Compiled, Edited and written by Sister Theodosia Papirnik, Ukrainian Sisters of St. Joseph, 60.
O loving and merciful God, You created man in your ‘image and likeness’, male and female. You created us to be in communion, and thus to image the loving relationship of the Holy Life-giving Trinity. Help me to love my husband throughout the joys and struggles which we will face together, and to join my self in submission to his promise to love like You love. Help me love and serve my husband and family for Your glory, and refrain from seeking to find my validation or self-worth in anything other than in seeking to do Your will. Help me to find peace in knowing how much you value me as the ‘heart’ of our domestic church. Give me the grace to manage my household in wisdom and truth. Help me to honour and respect the man who you have given to me in marriage, despite his imperfections. I know that I too fall short and I pray that we can always find it in our hearts to forgive one another. Help me to be open to giving life as you were, OHoly Theotokos, and like you to put God’s will first in my life. Help my husband and I to be responsible and loving parents if You, O Lord, should give us the gift of children. Strengthen and guide us to teach them to pray and to follow You with all their heart. Should we experience infertility help us to be open to either giving life to children through adoption, foster parenting or parenting spiritually through our ministry and participation in the life of our family and parish. Help me to be content with the material goods that you provide for our family and generous with those in need. Help my husband and I to teach our children to seek first Your Kingdom, free from bondage of materialism. I ask this through the prayers of the Most Holy Theotokos, for the glory of your holy name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.
Adapted from the “Wife’s Prayer” from the With God; Z Bohom prayerbook Compiled, Edited and written by Sister Theodosia Papirnik, Ukrainian Sisters of St. Joseph, 61.
PRAYING FOR OUR CHILDREN
Whether you are a parent, grandparent, or God parent, –if there are children in your life you would like to pray for this is a prayer for every aspect of life. It is a powerful prayer which can literally change lives and fill the one who prays it with renewed hope in the loving care of God.
A Prayerful Sighing of Parents For Their Children:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, for the sake of the prayers of the Thy Most Pure Mother hear me your unworthy servant, (name). O Lord, govern in mercy my children, your servants (names of children and/or grandchildren). Have mercy on them and save them for Your name’s sake. O Lord, forgive them all their sins, voluntary and involuntary, that they may be perfected before you. O Lord, set them on a true path of the Thy commandments and enlighten their minds with the Light of Christ for the salvation of their souls and healing of their bodies. Amen (or continue…)
Bless them, O Lord, at home, at school, at work, in their journeys and in every place in Your Dominion. Preserve and shelter them, O Lord, from flying bullets, arrows, the sword, poison and fire, from mortal wounds and sudden death. Guard them, O Lord, from all visible and invisible enemies, and from all danger, evil and misfortune. Heal them, O Lord, from all sickness. Deliver them from every impurity, and in particular the scourges of pornography, moral relativism and Godlessness. Lighten their spiritual sufferings.
Grant them, O Lord, the grace of Your Holy Spirit and a long life. Grant them health and chastity in all purity and love, and help them to live in peace with their siblings, and neighbors, near and far. Multiply and strengthen them, O Lord, in mental ability and bodily strength, given to them by You. Bless them to lead a pure and holy life, and if it is pleasing to You grant them a generous response to either a Holy vocation to the priesthood, religious life or married life and honorable child bearing. I pray and beseech you that they find You as the fulfillment of their heart’s desire. I ask that if it be Your will, You prepare for them a faith filled spouse with whose love and support they might build a strong and holy domestic church.
O God, Maker of all creation, You have made me worthy to be the mother/father of a family. Your goodness has given children to me; and so I dare to say: these children are Yours, for you have given them being, infused them with an immortal soul and raised them to life through baptism. In accordance with your will you have adopted them and received them into the heart of Your Holy Church. Send down to me Your gracious help in raising and influencing these children for the glory of Your name. Give me the patience and strength to do Your will. Teach me to plant in their hearts the root of true wisdom—the heartfelt desire to please You in all they do, and the fear of doing anything that would separate them from Your love. Open them to the understanding of Your Word and the teaching of the Church. Until the end of their days let them act with the sense that You are everywhere present, Heavenly King. Plant in their heart a loathing for sin and an abiding love for all sinners—seeing Your image in all, however distorted by sin. O Righteous Judge, burden my children not with the sins of their parents, but sprinkle them with the dew of Your grace.
O Heavenly Father, order the fate of my children according to Your blessing. Do not deprive them in this life of their daily bread, and send down to them in due time all that is necessary for the acquisition of blessings in eternity. Be merciful to them, when they sin before You. Look not upon the sins of their youth and ignorance; chastise them and have mercy on them but turn not Your face away from them. Be with them in times of temptation and tribulation that they may not fall into temptations beyond their strength. Cover them with Your mercy that Your holy Angel may walk with them and preserve them. Never abandon my children O Lord and give them all that is profitable for their salvation and the Glory of Your Holy Name. Amen.
Adapted from the booklet Akathist to the Mother of God Nurturer of Children, Stafford, AZ: St. Paisius Orthodox Monastery, 2001.
Printed with the blessing of the Most Rev. Bryan Bayda, Eparch of Saskatoon