Category Archives: Lord’s Prayer

Bedtime and Other Rituals: Bedtime Prayers

“Whether you are in church, or in your house, or in the country; whether you are guarding sheep, or constructing buildings, or present at drinking parties, do not stop praying. When you are able, bend your knees, when you cannot, make intercession in your mind, ‘at evening and at morning and at midday’. If prayer precedes your work and if, when you rise from your bed, your first movements are accompanied by prayer, sin can find no entrance to attack your soul.” ~ St Ephrem the Syrian

“Pray also before your body rests on the bed.”  St. Hippolytus

As we can see from the Church fathers’ quotes (and, better yet, from their lives!) prayer is a vital part of our Orthodox Christian life. Therefore we must include prayer in all parts of our day, including at bedtime. It is so important that we model this in our own lives as well as teach it to our children. Prayers should be part of our family’s bedtime routine. They give us the opportunity to review our day, ask forgiveness for sins we have committed, renew our focus on God, entrust ourselves and our loved ones to His care while we sleep, and thank Him for his kindness and mercy through the day just finished. Bedtime prayers offer the opportunity for the soul to be at peace, and are thus a great way to begin a restful night.

The survey we conducted last summer asked participants about including prayer at bedtime. Only 4% of those surveyed answered that their family does not pray together at bedtime. Of those that do pray together at bedtime, we asked where their family gathers for prayer. Our respondents answered in this way (and evidently the location varies by night for some families):
at our icon corner 53%

  • around the dining room table 3%
  • in the children’s bedrooms 53%
  • in the living/family room 3%

8% of respondents’ families pray elsewhere than the options we gave. For example:

  • We made a chapel in our house.
  • In our own bedrooms. [We have] older children.
  • Children’s icon corners
  • Varies between the chapel or our icon corner
  • Icon corner in the child’s bedroom
  • In front of the icons in the children’s room

Even more important than WHERE the family gathers to pray is the question of WHAT do they pray? Our respondents were very kind and shared their family’s traditions of prayer, often including the prayers themselves. Here are the prayers that they pray together at bedtime (in the order in which they were received). Perhaps you will find them helpful for your own family’s bedtime prayer routine:

  • Lord’s Prayer; Heavenly King comforter; Trisagion; Other hymns from liturgy or hymns for feasts (e.g. Troparion for Pascha and Theophany)’ “God please watch over [children’s names], give them sweet dreams and a good night of sleep so they may be good listeners, helpers and learners tomorrow. God please keep [insert names of deceased] close with you in heaven. Thank you for [children offer special thanks]. Please bless [children name special intentions]. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen” (or something similar)
  • Lord’s Prayer & Jesus Prayer
  • Lord’s Prayer, and a prayer of protection, and they each tell God the answer to the questions: something they are thankful for, something they are sorry for, and something/one they want to pray for.
  • “Now I lay me,” God Blesses, prayers from the prayer book.
  • Russian Orthodox prayer book
  • We say the Lord’s Prayer and we give thanks for each individual in our house, extended family and for our deceased family members and we give thanks for the day that we just finished and pray for a good day tomorrow.
  • We pray the prescribed evening prayers from the Orthodox Prayer Book, including the child’s evening prayer.
  • “Our Father” followed by “Into thy hands O Lord we commend our souls and our bodies. Do thou thyself bless us, have mercy upon us, and grant us life eternal. Amen.”
  • In the upstairs hallway icon corner: O Heavenly King, Trisagion, “Our Father,” the Marriage Prayer (from red Antiochian prayer book), prayer for children and godchildren (from that red prayer book), and end with seasonal (eg, during Paschal season, The Angel Cried, or during Lent, prostrations with Prayer of St. Ephraim) hymn to the Theotokos. Then as laying in bed beside toddler, saying the Jesus Prayer slowly, quietly and monotone until they fall asleep.
  • Trisaigion
  • The Lord’s Prayer
  • The Jesus Prayer first and then whatever comes into our hearts.
  • Usually we sing “O Gladsome Light” as me and my son light the candles in the evening time. Depending on when we get to doing that we either go about the rest of our evening and then come back to do evening prayers or we go right into evening prayers after “O Gladsome Light” which consist of the Lord’s Prayer, “Come let us Worship,” Theotokion, “Remit Pardon Forgive O God…” (I don’t know if some of these are the actual names of the prayers but more like the first line of the prayer.) Sometimes we change it a little to say different prayers but basically it is very similar. If it is a feast day I substitute one of our daily prayers for the festal troparion. I have a bad habit of making prayers too long for my 6 yr old. I have to be careful of that!
  • We say a prayer before dinner. Both kids participate 3 & 5.
  • The Lord’s Prayer and the Trisagion sometimes
  • “Our Father”; “Song to the Mother of God”
  • From a children’s prayer book, but mostly nights from memory
  • The prayers before sleep from the prayer book put out by Jordanville. We say the whole thing with all the kids all ages (teens down to baby) it only takes 20 min.
  • We sing a hymn, usually a troparion. We do whichever one we are trying to memorize. Once the kids know it well we work on a new one. We do the Jesus prayer & Lord’s prayer or Trisagion & pray for our family & friends by name. Right now we are memorizing the Creed so we do that instead of the Lord’s prayer. Our kids are young so can’t do it all due to short attention spans.
  • We use the little red prayerbook by the Antiochian archdiocese – evening prayers
  • “O Lord our God, as Thou are Good and the Lover of mankind, forgive me wherein I have sinned this day in word, deed, and thought. Grant me peaceful and undisturbed sleep and send thy guardian angel to protect and keep me from all evil. For Thou art the guardian of our souls and unto Thee do we send up glory: to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
  • Orthodox prayer book or menaion.
  • “O Angel you are truly mine, given to me by God Divine, to always be at my side and teach me what is right. I am little you are tall. I am weak, you make me strong. Never go away from me. From all danger keep me free. Amen” “Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John bless this bed that I lay on. Four corners round my bed. Four angels round my head. Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. Keep me safe all through the night and wake me with the morning light. Amen”
  • The “Our Father”; The Jesus prayer; The Guardian angel prayer; A prayer to the Theotokos for guidance and intervention
  • Trisagion, Lord’s prayer, ask their patron saint to pray them, then venerate icons
  • At this point, the opening Trisagion Prayers from memory
  • Personal [prayers]
  • We are recent converts from Roman Catholicism and our bedtime prayers have remained the same- the guardian angel prayer and the prayer to St Michael the Archangel
  • the beginning of the formal evening prayers up to “Our Father” and to each Saint our child is named after. We extend evening prayers using the Orthodox Prayer Book as they get older.
  • We are ROCOR, so we often do a modified (shortened) version of the Night time prayers from the Jordanville Prayer Book. But we also greatly like and admire the prayers of the Western Rite Orthodox church, so I’d say about 1/3 of the time, we pray/sing either their Vespers or Compline service.
  • The evening prayers in the “Come to Me” prayer book
  • Basic prayers from Orthodox prayer book. Occasionally shorter, occasionally add hymns from vespers: “Blessed is the man,” “Bless the Lord O my soul,” “Let God arise,” “O gentle light,” etc
  • The prayers in the back of the Orthodox Study Bible
  • Trisagion, Evening Prayers, other prayers from red prayer book, special other prayers.
  • “Our Father” followed by saying what we are grateful for that day and what good deed we did for someone else
  • We pray the Trisagion and sing “More Honorable Than The Cherubim…”, then we pray for a list of sick and suffering, a list of the dead, and finish with “In Your hands, Lord Jesus Christ our God, we commit our souls and our bodies. Forgive us, have mercy on us, and grant us life eternal. Amen.” (During Paschaltide, we sign Christ is risen three times or more to open each prayer time.)
  • from the Orthodox children’s prayer book
  • Evening prayers from the Jordanville prayer book. We read the Trisagion and Psalms in the icon corner, then complete the rest of the prayers snuggling our daughter to sleep.
  • We pray the trisagion prayers and then “O Lord our God as thou art good and a lover of mankind, forgive me wherein I have sinned today in word, deed or thought….” and then we have a prayer list (names of family and those we are praying for) that the kids take turns reading, then each member of the family says their own little prayer.
  • We have switched between eastern and western rite evening prayers.
  • We pray the trisagion, and add intercessions.
  • Typical evening prayers outlined in our prayer book.
  • The Lord’s prayer, plus individual prayers with our 3 year old daughter.
  • The Aaronic blessing from the book of Numbers
  • Trisagion prayers is about all we do with a baby and a toddler!
  • The Jesus Prayer
  • “Our Father”; Jesus Prayer
  • Trisagion- chanted, plus evening troparia – sung. Then we adjourn to the kiddo’s room, read a story, hug and snuggle, sing a song, and say the prayer “Into Thy Hands, O Lord Jesus Christ, my God, do I commend my spirit…” Then Mama goes back to the icon corner and finishes her prayers — this part has helped me not put off my own prayers till I get too sleepy.
  • Oh Heavenly King, the Trisagion
  • “Oh Heavenly King” through “Our Father”, then each night a different person says a personal prayer from the heart, then we recite a verse from the Bible that we are memorizing together that is written on a board in our icon corner.
  • At the very least the Trisagion, and sometimes the evening prayers found in the little Antiochian Prayer Book
  • small compline or bedtime prayers or prayers in preparation for holy Communion. It is easiest to share a common translation, so we found the digital text to the St. Tikhon’s “Orthodox Daily Prayers” book and have updated some of the language. We added the prayers to our private website for our family’s homeschool and use our phones/tablets for the prayers so we’re all on the same page and the rest of the lights can be kept low.
  • Lord’s Prayer; Evening prayers from a prayer book
  • The “Our Father”; Jesus loves me; Sometimes work through, over the week, the third and sixth hours. The kids (7&5) enjoy following along and then they get to say the Lord have mercy’s.
  • “Our Father”… We also recite three things we are grateful for from our day. Finally, we make special prayer requests for people we know who are sick, in need, etc.
  • Evening prayers from the little red prayer book, with family intercessions
  • We pray the “Our Father,” followed by asking God to bless our friends and family. Sometimes additional prayers. Sometimes we sing a 7th century prayer, especially when scared of bad dreams: “Before the ending of the day Creator of the world, we pray that with Thy wonted favor, Thou wouldst be our Guard and Keeper now. From all ill dreams defend our eyes, from nightly fears and fantasies: tread under foot our ghostly foe, that no pollution we may know. O Father, that we ask be done through Jesus Christ Thine only Son, who, with the Holy Ghost and Thee, shall live and reign eternally. Amen.”

As you can see, there are a myriad of prayers to pray at bedtime. Some bedtime prayers are very brief, others long: it depends on the children and what they can handle. You may have noted that some respondents told about changes that they have made in the family’s bedtime prayers as their children grow older. Each family, under the guidance of their spiritual father, needs to decide which prayers to pray together before sleep. Whatever route we choose, let us pray to the Lord, especially at bedtime.

Lord, have mercy.

Here are links related to bedtime prayers, including links to some of the prayer books mentioned by the survey participants in their comments about what prayers they pray:

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The Russian prayer book mentioned by our survey participants is available as an app on Google Play (https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Dr_John_Ellsworth_Hutchison_Hall_Daily_Prayers_for?id=5Insc_AzAkYC) or in print (https://www.amazon.com/dp/0615666205/ref=rdr_ext_tmb)

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The “Jordanville” prayer book mentioned by our survey participants offers its prayers online as well as in print. Find the prayers before bed here: http://www.myriobiblos.gr/texts/english/prayerbook/main.htm

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The Antiochian prayer book that our survey participants referred to is available online here: http://www.antiochian.org/orthodox-prayers (Find the evening prayer service here: http://www.antiochian.org/orthodox-prayers/evening-prayers.) But the printed book is such a nice size for children to handle, and it fits in a pocket or purse, so you may want to purchase it already printed: http://store.ancientfaith.com/a-pocket-prayer-book-for-orthodox-christians-vinyl-cover/

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Here is a link to one Orthodox children’s prayer book: http://store.ancientfaith.com/childrens-orthodox-prayer-book/

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Here is a (free!) printable Orthodox children’s prayer book: http://www.themccallums.org/michelle/2014/02/03/orthodox-prayer-book-for-children-2/

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Find Orthodox bedtime prayers for all ages here: http://www.orthodoxcheyenne.org/daily-prayers-for-orthodox-christians/prayers-before-sleep

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This printable booklet of prayers includes a section of evening prayers: http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/departments/family/for-families/family-activities/docs/tpg-dailyprayers.pdf

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Families with older children (who have been praying Orthodox bedtime prayers and are well acquainted with them) may find it beneficial to occasionally read and talk about the prayers that other Christian children pray. It can be helpful to our children to know what some of their friends are praying at bedtime. Talking about these prayers offers parents the opportunity to strengthen our children’s faith as we share the prayer, then affirm similarities and help our children understand the differences. Here are some of them: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/10-popular-bedtime-prayers/

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Want some help kickstarting an evening prayer routine? Check out this blog post: http://www.theorthodoxmama.com/evening-prayers-creating-a-routine-of-prayer-in-your-home/

On the Lord’s Prayer: “Amen.”

With our “amen” at the end of the Lord’s Prayer, we are saying, “so be it.” That one word reaffirms our intent in praying the prayer. Now that we have taken a closer look at each part of the Lord’s Prayer, let us pray mindfully every time that we pray it in its entirety. Let us not just reaffirm the Lord’s Prayer with our verbal “amen,” but with our very life, our living “amen.” Let it be so.

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“The Lord’s prayer begins with our goal — becoming a child of God — and then slowly spins out through the path that carries us to that goal.  When we read it backwards like this, we can see how it is a path that takes us home.” ~ https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/raisingsaints/teaching-lords-prayer/

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“We saw that behind each word, behind each petition, there lies a world of spiritual realities, spiritual connections which regularly escaped our attention, which have vanished in the turmoil of our daily lives. From this point of view, the prayer, ‘Our Father,’ is more than a prayer; it is an epiphany and revelation of the spiritual world for which we are created, that hierarchy of values which enable us to arrange everything in its place within our lives. Each petition opens a whole layer of personal awareness, a whole revelation about our selves.” ~ Alexander Schmemann, “Our Father,” pp. 85-86

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For more on the Lord’s Prayer, visit these sites:

This page (http://www.antiochianarch.org.au/OrthodoxPrayer.aspx#prayer06) offers insights into each part of the prayer. And this one (https://oca.org/orthodoxy/the-orthodox-faith/spirituality/prayer-fasting-and-alms-giving/the-lords-prayer) offers additional readings for each part of the prayer. You could also listen to a series of homilies on the Lord’s Prayer, found here: http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/rain/the_lords_prayer_part_one

http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/rain/the_lords_prayer_part_two

http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/rain/the_lords_prayer_part_three

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Idea: the following offer activities based on the entire Lord’s Prayer. These can be done with the children in your family, one-on-one, or together as a group:

Here is a “Lord’s Prayer” craft idea: make a lift-the-flap book explaining parts of the prayer: http://www.sundayschoolkids.com/1-sunday-school-kids-crafts-prayer/help-kids-learn-the-lords-prayer-instru-v2.htm

Find a printable “Lord’s Prayer” coloring book with pages for each part of the prayer and extra pages explaining each part here: http://www.teachustopray.com/ (Free for the first 100 copies printed per parish, so you could make some extra copies to share!)

 

On the Lord’s Prayer: “But Deliver Us From Evil.”

 

This short phrase in the Lord’s Prayer serves several purposes. It recognizes that there is evil pursuing us. It acknowledges that we cannot deliver ourselves from that evil. It affirms that God can deliver us from it. It implies that we want to be delivered from evil. It combines all of those truths into one short request. That request is one which Our Lord’s entire life on earth answers immutably with “Yes! I can and I will!”

 

Read more about this phrase:


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“I have always been bothered by the ‘but’ in the Lord’s Prayer. I have wanted to say, ‘and deliver us from the evil one.’ However, the ‘but’ is firmly fixed in the original. We are told to pray this way, to ask the Father not to lead us into temptation–with one exception. Temptation might be necessary to deliver us from the evil one.” ~ read the rest of the article here: http://holynativity.blogspot.com/2013/07/lead-us-not-into-temptation-but.html

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We ask deliverance from the Evil One or from all evil — in both cases, recognizing that Satan and his demons do attack us, and that persons who have willingly given themselves over to evil will cooperate with them and will hope for our destruction.  We ask for God’s protection, recognizing both His strength and our own weakness.” ~ https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/raisingsaints/teaching-lords-prayer/

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“We pray also that God would deliver us from the evil one, and here we are given not an explanation but one more revelation, this time about the personal nature of evil, about the person as the bearer and source of evil. …There exists no concrete reality that we could call hatred, but it appears in all its awesome power when there is one who hates; there’s no suffering as such, but there is the sufferer; everything in this world, everything in this life is personal.” ~ Alexander Schmemann, “Our Father,” p. 81

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“The source of evil is in the evil person, and this means in the person in whom paradoxically and horribly evil has replaced good, and who lives by evil. It is perhaps here, in these words about the evil one, that we are given the one possible explanation of evil, for here we discover that it is not some kind of impersonal force spread throughout the world, but rather as the tragedy of a personal choice, personal responsibility, personal decision. And therefore only in the person, and not in abstract theories and arrangements, is evil defeated and goodness triumphs; which is why we pray first of all for ourselves, for each time that we overcome temptation, it is because we choose faith, hope, and love and to not the gloom of evil.”~ Alexander Schmemann, “Our Father,” p. 82

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Idea: Here’s an activity that mimics a lighthouse’s importance to a ship in safely maneuvering trouble spots. It is a great beginning place for a family discussion on how God, our Light, delivers us from evil. http://www.christianitycove.com/bible-lesson-god-is-like-a-lighthouse/7259/

On the Lord’s Prayer: “And Lead Us Not Into Temptation”

 

If we pay attention to this petition in the Lord’s Prayer, it will cause us to stop and really think. Why are we asking God not to lead us into temptation? Does God ever actually lead us into temptation? Or are we asking Him to lead us in ways of righteousness, those ways which take us away from temptation? Regardless of whether or not we know the answers to these questions, we are certain of one thing. And that is this: we need God’s help to be delivered from the temptations that beset us. So we ask Him to lead us. And He does.

It is up to us whether or not we follow His leading.

 

Read more about this petition of the Lord’s Prayer:
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“First we clarified that God does not lead us to temptation, but that we are hoping He will lead us away, for we are here recognizing our weakness.  Temptation can surely come from outside us, from demons and bad influences, but temptation also comes from within — our own weaknesses and insecurities may cause us to want to lash out or to steal or to run from consequences.  Our weaknesses are our temptations, and in humility, we ask that God shield us and protect us, for we know that alone we are not strong enough to overcome all temptation, but through Christ Jesus there is nothing we cannot do.” ~ https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/raisingsaints/teaching-lords-prayer/

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“Is this then what the Lord teaches us to pray, that we may not be tempted at all? How then is it said elsewhere, ‘a man untempted, is a man unproved’; and again, ‘My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various temptations’ (James 1:2)? But does perchance the entering into temptation mean the being overwhelmed by the temptation? For temptation is, as it were, like a winter torrent difficult to cross. Those therefore who are not overwhelmed in temptations, pass through, showing themselves excellent swimmers, and not being swept away by them at all; while those who are not such, enter into them and are overwhelmed… If ‘lead us not into temptation’ implied not being tempted at all, He would not have said, ‘But deliver us from the evil one.’ Now the evil one is our adversary the devil, from whom we pray to be delivered.” ~St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Read this and more of what St. Cyril had to say about each part of the Lord’s Prayer here: http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/03/lords-prayer-st-cyril-of-jerusalem.html

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“…this victory lies not in the ability to understand and explain evil but rather in the ability to face it with the full force of faith, the full force of hope, the full force of love. For it is by faith, hope, and love that temptations are overcome, they are the answer to temptation, the victory over temptations, and therefore the victory over evil.” ~ Alexander Schmemann, “Our Father,” p.79

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“…Christ didn’t once explain and therefore didn’t once justify and legitimatize evil, but he constantly confronted it with faith, hope, and love. He didn’t destroy evil, but he did reveal the power of struggle with evil, and he gave this power to us, and it is about this power that we pray when we say: ‘and lead us not into temptation.’”~ Alexander Schmemann, “Our Father,” p.80

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Idea: Talk with children about temptation either using the tug-of-war example in the lesson plan here, or the “bait” ideas as demonstrated in the attached video: http://ministry-to-children.com/temptation-object-lessons/. Then talk about how the petition “and lead us not into temptation” from the Lord’s Prayer can help us when we are tempted. Also, discuss how God helps us when we are being tempted. Talk about things to do when tempted: first, of course, would be prayer; then removing one’s self from the situation if possible; etc. Help your children think of hands-on things to do when they feel tempted. Create a list to keep posted somewhere where everyone can see it and be reminded of it.

On the Lord’s Prayer: And Forgive Us Our Trespasses As We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us.

This part of the Lord’s Prayer is much easier to say than it is to live. We sin so often, and we come to God in confession and repentance, expecting Him to forgive us, for we believe 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We desire mercy, and we know that He who IS Mercy will extend it to us in spite of our sins. But this petition doesn’t just stop with “forgive us our trespasses:” it continues, “AS we forgive those who trespass against us. The bottom line is that our forgiveness is intimately tied to how we extend forgiveness to others. Forgiving others is not as easy as begging forgiveness for ourselves. May God help us to forgive, that we, too, may be forgiven!

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“The prayer ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’ has been especially emphasized by the Lord.’For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.’ (Matthew 6:14-15) This is the point of Christ’s parable about the unforgiving servant. (Matthew 18:23-35) All men need the forgiveness of God and must pray for it. All men are indebted to God for everything, and fail to offer the thanksgiving and praise and righteousness that are due. The only way that God will overlook and forgive the sins and debts of His servants is if they themselves forgive their brothers, not merely in words and formal gestures, but genuinely and truly ‘from their hearts.’ (cf. Matthew 18:35) In the prayer taught by Christ this is clearly acknowledged.” ~ from https://oca.org/orthodoxy/the-orthodox-faith/spirituality/prayer-fasting-and-alms-giving/the-lords-prayer

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“This is a very difficult part of the Lord’s Prayer. Trespasses are the wrong things we do. We notice very quickly when someone is selfish and boastful, mean or untruthful. Sometimes it is very hard for us to forgive someone who has wronged us in any way. We dislike people for this and this means that we do not forgive them. But we say to God, please forgive my trespasses, my selfishness, my meanness, just like I forgive others. God wants us to be just as forgiving as He is.” ~ “The Lord’s Prayer,” “Little Falcons,” issue #39, pp. 13-14, available at http://www.littlefalcons.net/pdf/2014_Backissues.pdf

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“This should be the most terrifying line of the prayer.  We may not always stop to ponder its significance, but this line suggests that if we are not forgiving of others, we should not expect to receive forgiveness.  He further clarifies it in the Scriptures — Matthew 6:14-15:  ‘For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.’  Our students recognized the parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18: 21-25) right away — God has forgiven each of us so much, and if we cannot learn from that experience and feel merciful and forgiving to others, then the mercies we have received will fade away.  We explained that it’s not that God is punishing us, it’s just that if we aren’t forgiving, we cannot receive forgiveness; somehow, the state of our heart is only open to forgiveness when we can humbly pass along forgiveness too.” ~ from https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/raisingsaints/teaching-lords-prayer/

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“Let us notice at the outset that this petition directly unites two acts: the forgiveness of our sins by God is connected to our forgiveness of sins committed against us… And, of course, precisely here in this connection, in this relationship lies the profound mystery of forgiveness in the Lord’s Prayer.” ~ Alexander Schmemann, “Our Father,” p. 65-66

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“For the profound law of Life consists not simply in doing no wrong, but in doing good, and this means first of all to accept the other, which means to effect that unity without which even the most law-abiding society still becomes a living hell. This is the essence of sin, and it is for the remission of this sin, the sin of all sins, that we pray in the fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer.” ~ Alexander Schmemann, “Our Father,” p. 70

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“Perhaps the terrible tragedy of our time, of those societies in which we live, consists precisely in the fact that while there is much to talk about legality and justice, while many assorted texts are cited, these societies have almost entirely lost the power and morality of forgiveness. This is why the petition in the Lord’s prayer for forgiveness of sins of those who sinned against us, and of us and our sins by God, and possibly the very center of moral rebirth before which we stand in this age.” ~ Alexander Schmemann, “Our Father,” pp. 71-72

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Idea: Since forgiving others is the hardest part of the phrase, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” let us find ways to teach children how to forgive. Find ideas for doing so here: http://www.truthforkids.com/forgiving-others/#.VvLlU_srLIU. Find a few of the many examples in the Holy Scriptures here: http://whatsinthebible.com/three-bible-stories-teach-kids-forgiveness/. There are 10 important things to keep in mind while teaching children forgiveness (they are also useful for us to keep in mind, as WE forgive) in this blog post: http://www.allprodad.com/10-ways-to-teach-your-children-how-to-forgive/ . And last, but not least, here are ways to teach/model forgiveness to your children every day: http://www.imom.com/4-ways-to-teach-your-child-forgiveness-daily/.

 

On the Lord’s Prayer: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

This petition in the Lord’s Prayer focuses on something very basic: bread. People all over the world eat bread of some form or another, usually daily, and in some cases, for every meal. Asking God to give us our daily bread comes naturally. After all, we look to Him to supply our needs, even our most basic ones like bread. This phrase serves the dual purpose of reminding us that every single thing we have comes from God, while also giving us the opportunity to acknowledge our dependence on Him. The petition serves a third purpose as well: it begs God to give us the one thing we need the most: His Body, in the Holy Eucharist; that through that Gift we may be saved.

Read more about this petition here: 

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“The prayer for our ‘daily bread’ is normally understood to signify generally all of our bodily needs and whatever we require to sustain our lives in this world. In the spiritual tradition however, this petition, because it literally says our ‘essential’ or ‘super-essential’ bread, is often understood in the spiritual sense to mean the nourishment of our souls by the Word of God, Jesus Christ who is the ‘Bread of Life;’ the ‘Bread of God which has come down from heaven and given life to the world’ (John 6:33-36); the bread which ‘a man may eat of it and not die,’ but ‘live forever.’ (John 6:50-51) Thus the prayer for ‘daily bread’ becomes the petition for daily spiritual nourishment through abiding communion with Christ so that one might live perpetually with God.” ~ Read more at https://oca.org/orthodoxy/the-orthodox-faith/spirituality/prayer-fasting-and-alms-giving/the-lords-prayer

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“After the Korean War ended, South Korea was left with a large number of children who had been orphaned by the war. We’ve seen the same thing in the Vietnam conflict, in Bosnia, and in other places. In the case of Korea, relief agencies came in to deal with all the problems that arose in connection with having so many orphan children. One of the people involved in this relief effort told me about a problem they encountered with the children who were in the orphanages. Even though the children had three meals a day provided for them, they were restless and anxious at night and had difficulty sleeping. As they talked to the children, they soon discovered that the children had great anxiety about whether they would have food the next day. To help resolve this problem, the relief workers in one particular orphanage decided that each night when the children were put to bed, the nurses there would place a single piece of bread in each child’s hand. The bread wasn’t intended to be eaten; it was simply intended to be held by the children as they went to sleep. It was a ‘security blanket’ for them, reminding them that there would be provision for their daily needs. Sure enough, the bread calmed the children’s anxieties and helped them sleep. Likewise, we take comfort in knowing that our physical needs are met, that we have food, or ‘bread,’ for our needs.” ~ from http://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-does-give-us-day-our-daily-bread-mean/

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“The word daily really means ‘substantive,’ that which is essential for survival, which is why we needed it as daily food…The bread signifies here not only bread as such, and not even food in general, but absolutely everything necessary for life, everything which makes possible our existence.” ~ Alexander Schmemann, “Our Father,” pp. 55-56

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“The Eucharist, faith in participation in the new food, in the new and Heavenly bread, fulfill the Christian Revelation about food. And only in the light of this revelation, of the joy of this thanksgiving, can one adequately understand the full depth of this fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer; ‘Give us this day our daily bread.’ Give us, today, the food which is essential for us.” ~ Alexander Schmemann, “Our Father,” p. 60

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“ We receive bread, we receive life, but In order that the purpose of this life may be revealed. And the purpose of this life lies in God, in knowledge of him, in love for him, in communion with him, in the joy of his eternity, and in that life which the Gospel calls,’life in abundance.’ (John 10:10)” ~ Alexander Schmemann, “Our Father,” p. 61

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Idea: Talk about what kinds of bread your family eats. How often do you eat bread? Learn more about breads in other parts of the world. Note aloud how important bread is to the whole world: most parts of the world eat bread in some form or another every day, some at every meal! Take a field trip to local bakeries in your town/city and try breads you haven’t had before. Check out the book “Everybody Bakes Bread” by Norah Dooley (https://www.lernerbooks.com/products/t/6905/9780876148952/everybody-bakes-bread) and read about an adventure that introduces a young lady named Carrie to the different breads in her neighborhood. Expand your bread-baking by trying some of the recipes in the back of the book. (Or, watch some young boys make breads from around the world, here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYx0HSCn-QEXVuEXM30e6ZA!) Talk about the phrase, “Give us this day our daily bread” in the context of asking God for things we need, like food to eat. Point out that, to different people in different parts of the world, the actual “bread” may look and taste different, but it is a basic need that God provides for us, every day.

On The Lord’s Prayer: On Earth As It Is In Heaven

 

“On earth as it is in heaven” is so easy to pray. But how easy is it to live? In heaven, God’s will is perfectly carried out everywhere, by everyone. How are we doing with that on earth?!? So often we allow petty little things to cloud our minds and affect our obedience, or we just flat out refuse to do – or even go against – what God has asked of us. Regardless of the “size” of our sins, each is a step away from “as it is in heaven.” May we keep this phrase ever in our minds and pray that God will help us to live our life in such a way that reflects our desire for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven!

Here are a few related quotes and an idea that you can use as you discuss this phrase with your family:
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“There can now be no grander prayer than to wish that earthly things may be made equal with things heavenly: for what else is it to say ‘Thy will be done as in heaven so on earth,’ than to ask that people may be like angels and that as God’s will is ever fulfilled by them in heaven, so also all those who are on earth may do not their own but His will?” ~ St. John Cassian

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“Grant that we might imitate the way of life in heaven, so that we would will what Thou Thyself dost will” ( St. John Chrysostom, On living in a godly way, PG 51.45).

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“…In all the trials and tribulations that we all face or will face in life, there is perhaps no prayer that can bring us the peace of acceptance and the resolution to forge on than this petition in the Lord’s Prayer. In the midst of circumstances that we don’t understand and that cause us suffering, we nevertheless say with faith and with humility, ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ And then for a moment, it takes us up out of our small world into the expanses of heaven, we leave behind those who surround us, but don’t understand us, and enter into the presence of God’s faithful ministers who are as ‘a flame of fire’ (Hebrews 1:7), and there, lifted up on angels’ wings, we find that ‘peace which passeth all understanding’ (Philippians 4:7) in the will of God. We may not understand it; we don’t need to. We just need to accept it, to embrace it, and to make it our own, and then we return to our surrounding with a resolve to continue to ‘fight the good fight, finish the course, and keep the faith’ (2 Timothy 4:7) even as the angels do in heaven. Yes, ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’” ~ http://ancientchristianwisdom.com/2015/04/19/thy-will-be-done-in-earth-as-it-is-in-heaven/

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Idea: Talk together about what it must be like in heaven, where God’s will is being done perfectly. Imagine together what it would be like on earth if God’s will were truly done here as it is in heaven. Make a list of what that would look like! This list can include how people respond to God, how they treat each other, how they interact with creation, how they spend their time and resources, etc. Be as specific as possible!

Wishlists are well and good, but take this activity to the next level, beyond just wishing. Talk together about what you can do to make some of that “wishlist’ be a reality. Select one or two things that your family can work on together to help God’s will be done – at least in those areas – on earth. And then DO them! Once you’ve brought those “wishes” into reality, look back at your wishlist and make plans to realize more. Little by little, working together, we can help to make God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven!