“Mothers know how to express anxiety, offer advice and talk incessantly, but they haven’t learned to pray. Most advice and criticism does a great deal of harm. You don’t need to say a lot to children. Words hammer at the ears, but prayer goes to the heart. Prayer is required, with faith and without anxiety, along with a good example.” ~ +Elder Porphyrios the Kapsokalivite
After reading this insightful teaching, one wonders how to best begin to apply it! How can a mother (or father) get to the child’s heart, to truly sow seeds of faith there, where they will grow into good fruit? Whether we are mothers or fathers, the most valuable gift we can give to our children; the best way we can provide for them; the strongest defense we can offer them is to pray for them. Here is a traditional prayer that Orthodox parents have prayed for their children for centuries. It seems a good place to start.
“O God, our heavenly Father,
who lovest mankind,
and art most merciful and compassionate,
have mercy upon our children, Thy servants (names),
for whom I humbly pray Thee,
and commend them to Thy gracious protection.
Be Thou, O God, their guide and guardian in all their endeavors;
lead them in the path of Thy truth,
and draw them near to Thee,
that they may lead a godly and righteous life
in Thy love and fear;
doing Thy will in all matters.
Give them grace that they may be temperate, industrious, diligent, devout, and charitable.
Defend them against the assaults of the enemy,
and grant them wisdom and strength
to resist all temptation and corruption of this life;
and direct them in the way of salvation,
for the merits of Thy Son, our Savior Jesus Christ,
and the intercessions of His Holy Mother,
and Thy blessed saints.
Let us be careful to pray daily for our children, that they will be saved, and that they will give glory to God in all that they think, say, and do.