Praying Before Communion with Children

I recently received an email asking me to recommend a communion prayer for children. That got me thinking about a Raising Saints podcast episode on this very subject from 2012.  Then on Sunday I took my kids to church, and as I stood in line with my eight year old and my five year old, and as I struggled to help them focus on the sacrament they were about to receive, I realized…

Teaching Prayer to Children

One of the very first Raising Saints episodes focused on how we teach prayer to children.  This was originally posted in June of 2012. Today we’re talking about teaching prayer to children. We need to develop a vocabulary to communicate the significance of prayer in terms that they can understand and apply to their own spiritual lives, and then we’ll need to offer them opportunities to put it into action: we should…

Living the Nativity in our Little Churches

    I just returned from Holy Trinity Cathedral in Portland, where I spoke with some lovely parents about how we live the Nativity Fast, how we help our children prepare their hearts for Christmas. Think of the story of His birth: When Herod called for the census, Joseph and Mary had no choice but to head for Bethlehem to be counted. Mary was large and pregnant, and would be giving birth soon. They…

Prosphora & Theosis: Teaching Transformation

God became man so that man might become God. – St. Athanasius One of the most concrete and wonderful ways children can participate in the life of the Church is to bake the communion bread. Bread-making takes a little while, and it calls for patience, but while our hands are busy, we can teach our children about offering (“Prosphora”) and transformation, and the ways in which God will change this bread, and…

Teaching the Lord’s Prayer

In our Sunday School class, which is a combined group of 7th, 8th and 9th grade students, we’ve decided to tackle the Lord’s Prayer because this is the one prayer that all Christians have in common:  Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant, we all pray The Our Father as our Lord taught us in the holy Gospel. It’s probably the most common and perhaps the most frequent prayer our kids are praying. Naturally, at…