Father Demetrios Serfes - Greek Orthodox Spirituality
Prayers For Parents & Children 
Compiled by Father Demetrios Serfes
Boise, Idaho
October, 1998
Last updated 10/24/99 12:15:53 PM

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The following links are other web pages I have presented on behalf of children and parents:

A Youth Prayer On Temptations Of Drugs - Read The Full Text
 

The Orthodox Duties of Parents and Children, by St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, in two part series. - Read The Full Text
 

St. Seraphim of Sarov (Praying on a rock)
St. Seraphim of Sarov
(Praying on a rock)
Introduction by Father Demetrios Serfes:

Dear Beloved Parents & Children,

Rejoice always in the Lord our God!

In the Love of Christ our Lord, I greet you as parents and children, I pray you are all well.

Nothing on this earth is so important for both parents and children as prayer. As our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ our True Loving-God loves to hear us pray.  "The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears towards their prayer... " (Please read: Eph. 6:4; Ps. 33:11-15). All of the early writers, teachers, and saints of Christianity, including the holy Fathers of the Church wrote on prayer as a part of the Living Tradition of the Faith.

St. John Chrysostom asks us to look inwardly: "Find the door of your heart, you will discover it is the door of the Kingdom of God." St. John also wrote: "We truly speak to God at the time of prayer." Then St. Basil the Great wrote: "Prayer is a request for some good, addressed by the pious of God." Nothing good parents and children is so spiritually important then to begin our prayers with all our mind, with all our heart, and with all our soul. Our Lord God loves to hear us pray in this spiritual manner, and by doing prayer in this way brings one to greater spiritual heights. What can parents do to encourage more prayer as a family?

When you as a parent wake up you should begin your day with prayer, and encourage your child(ren) to pray too. Encourage one another that right away once you get up, make the sign of the Cross, and go to your place of prayer -your icon corner. Ask your children to do the same thing when they get up too, and as parents make sure that you place icons in your children's rooms, or a special icon corner or area for prayer. At the beginning however, you should join with your children in morning in prayer as a family, and to encourage  your children to pray when it's impossible to get together as a family, however praying together as a family, can eventually have a great effect on you as parents and for your children later onwards.

Keep in your children's room icons of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Mother of God the Theotokos, and as well as the patron saint of your child.  I once blessed a home of a child who had many holy icons in the room and  afterwards gave me a full description of every icon. How many of us really know about the icons and that they are blessed in the Church and are holy? When we get a new icon you should bring it to the parish priest to have kept in the holy Altar for forty days, and on the fortieth day the priest will bless your icon with holy water and then you can take it home. I have noticed while blessings homes that some families have special icon boxes, and others have a special place for their icons. It's most proper to place your icons facing east and this is because we are facing Jerusalem where our Lord Jesus Christ died on the Cross and Resurrected from the dead. In the building of a Church too it's most proper facing east.

After you finished with your morning prayers when you come to breakfast together as a family, stand up together by saying the greatest of all prayers: "Our Father".  Also as a family make the sign of the cross, do not rush in making the cross do it very slowly. Now you can all sit down as family knowing the food you are about to eat has been blessed by our Gracious God. Note these prayers at the end of this web site: "Prayers Before Mealtime". What is most spiritually rewarding in saying these prayers, for the family as a whole, is that the family too is blessed by our God -sanctified.

Make the sign of the Cross over your children as they go off to school, and if you drive your children to school all of you should first make the sign of the Cross and then proceed. It would be spiritually proper to place either a Cross in your car or a holy Icon. Once the children leave your car tell them that you love them and that the blessings of our Lord be with them...

When it's mid-week parents and children can begin to do Holy Communion prayers and encourage your children to realize that it's going to be a great blessing for them to receive Holy Communion.  As you and your children prepare to take Holy Communion {the Holy Mysteries} remember that the Orthodox Church has "preparation prayers for Holy Communion".  Remember that both Wednesday and Friday are fast days.  Tell your children when it's Wednesday and Friday we are fasting today, in loving preparations for Holy Communion, and because we also always fast on these two days of the week being that we are Orthodox Christians.  We actually fast on Wednesday to remember the betrayal of Judas, and we fast on Friday in remembrance of the Crucifixion of our Lord on the Cross.

When ever you sit down again for another meal as a family, again have everyone stand up and face towards an icon, you might have near the dinner table and to say "Our Father" together, and afterwards make the sign of the Cross -again follow the procedures for "Prayers before Mealtime".

Just before it's time for you all to rest and if your children rest before you as a parent, you should encourage your children to go to their rooms earlier to begin their evening prayers. If it's difficult for your children to do these prayers by themselves then you as a parent should join with them to encourage prayer.

Of course both you as a parents and children you could also all together do your evening prayers together.  Finally once your children are about to rest, have your children make the sign of the Cross before going to sleep. We will always have a restful sleep if we say our evening prayers. Let the holy icons be visible for your children to see just before they fall asleep.  Remember too as a parent you should say your evening prayers, if it might be impossible for you all to say them together.

I will now humbly present prayers for parents, and for children to say, and perhaps you can print these prayers out for yourself, as a parent and for your children, as well as prayers of spouses   for each other.  I will also present to you as well as "Prayers Before Mealtime" (as a family you can all follow this prayer rule before you sit down at the table, always remember to stand together with folded hands, and by facing the holy icon near your table). Once you have finished your meal, you should make the sign of the Cross in thanksgiving to God, and read together as a family the prayers of "thanksgiving to our God".

Tell your children not to leave the table without making the sign of the Cross for the great blessings they have been giving. Often we rush through our meals and forget to give thanks to our Gracious God in all He has provided for us. Ask  your parish priest where you can get the prayers you should read before you receive Holy Communion, and ask your priest for the prayers in "Thanksgiving for Holy Communion", as these prayers should be read as well, after you take Holy Communion. We at our parish Church  normally have these prayers before and after Holy Communion in our Church, and encourage these prayer books for your church and your home.

The following is a "Prayer Of Children For Their Parents" . Try to go over these following prayers with your children, to help them understand some of the words too, and just before they read these prayers, have your child make the sign of the Cross facing the holy icons by saying:

+
In the Name of the Father,
the Son,
&
the Holy Spirit:

O HOLY LORD, King of heaven and earth, look down with mercy and compassion from the height of Thy holy dwelling , upon our home.  Grant health and everything good to my Father and Mother, so that they may take care of us and everyone in our household. And help us all to do what is good and pleasing to Thee. Amen.

Another prayer:
O LORD JESUS CHRIST OUR GOD,  Who in Thy childhood and youth in Nazareth was submissive and obedient to Thy Most Pure Mother and Thy holy Provider and Guardian Joseph, leaving us an image of a pure childhood, well pleasing to God and men; do Thou Thyself, O Lover of men, enlighten me, help me, and inflame me with Thy love, that I may be submissive in everything to Thee and to my parents who gave me birth, raised me, have taken care of me, and nourished me.

Help me, O Lord, to always be obedient to them and to honor them, as Thou didst command us saying: "Honor thy Father and thy Mother, that it may be well with thee and that thou mayest live many years upon the earth." I pray Thee, O Lord, to keep my parents safe, and grant them grace, mercy, health, good temper, strength, love, holy zeal, and all that is necessary and profitable, so that they may bring us up well in Thy truth, with respect for holy things and for the good of society.

O Lord Almighty, all things are possible to Thee: help me and my parents, that they may do all that is pleasing to Thee, for Thou art blessed to the ages of ages. Amen.

+
A Prayer Of Parents For Their Children
In the Name of the Father,
The Son,
&
The Holy Spirit:

O LORD, GOD OF HEAVEN AND EARTH, Who by Thy wisdom has created man from earth and has breathed into his face the breath of life, making him a living man whose life is both temporal and eternal; and Who didst bless him and say: "Increase and multiply, fill the earth and rule over it;" and Who in Cana of Galilee through Thine Only Son, Jesus Christ, didst bless marriage and thereby the bearing of sons and daughters - with deep humility we pray to Thee: help us by Thy grace always to fulfill our duties as parents in bringing up our children well.

O Lord God of mercies, have mercy on us and on our home, and in Thy great goodness, pour out Thine abundant grace over all our children.  Have mercy, O Lord, on us and on our children whom Thou has given us.

O Greatly Merciful Lord, Who gives food to the birds of the sky and to all living things on the earth, Who watches over the flower that sprouts amidst the rocky cliffs; nourish, bring up, and protect well our children also.  Help us, O Lord, to plant in their souls what is good and useful for the Holy Church and the nation, and what is well pleasing to Thee, that Thy holy name may be exalted through them.  Fill them, O Lord, with the enlightened wisdom and holy understanding which come down from Thee. Protect them from all the snares of enemies both visible and invisible.  Command Thine Angels as always to be their enlightened guides and counselors in all good works.

We pray Thee, O Lord, to pen their minds, that they may know Thee as much as possible. Amen.

+
A Prayer Of Spouses For Each Other
In the Name of the Father,
The Son,
&
The Holy Spirit:

O LORD JESUS CHRIST OUR GOD, our Sweet Savior, Who taught us to pray always for each other, so that by thus fulfilling the holy law we will be made worthy of Thy mercy: look down with compassion on our married life and keep from all perilous falls, from enemies both visible and invisible, my husband [wife] whom Thou has grant me, that we may pass our time together until the end with oneness of mind.  Grant him [her] health, strength, and fullness of wisdom enlightened from above, so that he [she] may be able to fulfill his [her] duties all the days of this life according to Thy will and commandments.  Protect and keep him [her] from temptations, and may he [she] be able to bear and conquer those temptations that come upon him ]her].  Strengthen him [her] in right faith, strong hope, and perfect love, so that together we may do good deeds and that we may order all our life according to Thy divine ordinances and commandments.

O Greatly Merciful Lord, hear us who humbly pray to Thee, and send Thy divine blessing in truth on our married life and on all our good deeds, for it s Thine to hear and have mercy on us, O our God, and to Thee we send up glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and to the ages of ages.  Amen.

{Source: these prayers are translated from the book Dai Vointa, Iei Putere, by Archimandrite Nicodim Mandita, reprinted in "On the Upbringing of Children", by Bishop Irenaius of Ykaterinburg and Sirbirsk, Russia., St. Xenia Skete Wildwood, California, 1991., pp. 61-64.}


Mystical Supper Of Our Lord (Holy Transfiguration Monastery)
Mystical Supper Of Our Lord
(Holy Transfiguration Monastery)
Prayers At Mealtime


Before The Midday Meal:

[Everyone stands facing the holy icons]

Our Father, which art in the Heavens, hallowed be Thy Name.  Thy Kingdom come.  Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive us our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

[Now make the sign of the Cross together]

+ Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

[If a priest is present, he saith the blessing]

O Christ our God, bless the food and drink of The servants, for Thou art holy, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

[But if there be not priest, say]

+ Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us. Amen.

In Thanksgiving After The Midday Meal

We thank Thee, O Christ our God, that Thou has filled us with Thine earthly goods; deprive us not also of Thy Heavenly Kingdom, but as Thou camest in the midst of Thy disciples, O Savior, and gavest them peace, come also amongst us and save us.

+ Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.

[If a priest is present, he saith the blessing after the meal]

+ Blessed is God Who hath mercy and nourisheth us from His abundant gifts, by His grace and love for man, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

[But if there be not priest, say]

+ Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us. Amen.

Before The Evening Meal:

[Everyone stands facing the holy icons]

The poor shall eat and be filled, and they that seek the Lord shall praise Him; their hearts shall live for ever and ever.

+ Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.

[If a priest is present, he saith the blessing]

+  O Christ our God, bless the food and drink of Thy servants, for Thou art holy, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

[But if there be no priest, say]

+ Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Amen.

In Thanksgiving After The Evening Meal:

Thou hast gladdened us, O Lord, by Thy deeds, and in the works of Thy hands have we
rejoiced.
The light of Thy countenance, O Lord, hath been signed upon us; Thou hast given gladness to our hearts.
From the fruit of wheat, wine, and oil have we been filled; in peace in the same place shall we lie down and sleep, for Thou, O Lord, alone hast made us to dwell in hope.

+ Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.  Amen.

Lord, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.

[If a priest is present, he saith the blessing of the meal]

+ God is with us, He that hath mercy and nourisheth us by His grace and love for man, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.  Amen.

[But if there be no priest, say]

+ Through the prayer of our holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us.  Amen.

In The Love Of Christ Our True God,

Rev. Father Demetrios Serfes
father@fr-d-serfes.org
October 1998

Who prays for you, and with you!

Glory Be To God For All Things!


  


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