Title: Prayer Corner
Subject: Creating and utilizing a prayer corner
Age: 3 to 7 years
Liturgical Time: Near the beginning of the year
Making Time for Prayer
Everyday an Orthodox Christian should set aside time to pray. We should pray everyday in the morning after we wake up, and in the evening before we go to bed. We should also pray before we eat, before we go to school, when we feel scared, when we feel sad, before any big event, etc.
What is Prayer?
Prayer is talking to God.
Prayer is listening to God.
Prayer is communicating with God.
Prayer is conversation with Someone who loves us and Someone we love.
Discussion Question: Do you pray?
At this time, conduct a small discussion centered around this question: How can you begin praying daily?
You can begin praying by creating a Prayer Corner. Every Orthodox Christian should have a place called a "prayer corner." This is a special place in your room or home where you say your prayers.
What is in a Prayer Corner?
At this point you will direct everyone's attention towards the prayer table and explain the objects on that table. Name each of the following and show them to the children:
- Prayer Book: A prayer book is very important. It contains the prayers of a Christian, such as prayers for morning, evening, meals, etc.
- Cross: This reminds us of Jesus, the sacrifice He made for us, and His resurrection.
- Icons: These holy images remind us of Jesus, Mary, the Saints, and events in the life of Jesus and the Church.
- Candle: Jesus is the light of the world. His teachings give light and illumine our path and our souls. We light a candle to remind us of the light of Christ.
- Prayer Rope or prayer beads: A prayer rope helps us to stay focused and to say a very special prayer of the Church called the "Jesus Prayer." The Jesus prayer is, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy upon me a sinner." Memorize this prayer and begin saying it throughout the day. You can say the prayer while using a prayer rope. Each time you touch one of the knots or beads in your prayer rope, you say the Jesus Prayer.
- Bible: This is the most special book in the world. It tells the story of Jesus and of God's love for each of us. We will talk about the Bible in another lesson.
How Do You Say Your Prayers?
Remind the children that they will need to set up a prayer corner in their homes. Optional: We will be giving them all the basic things they will need to set this up to take home today. Their prayer corners are their special place to talk with God. They can decorate them also if they would like. If possible their prayer corners should face east, this is the direction of the rising sun. Facing east reminds us that Jesus, like the sun each day, rises from the dead to dispel the darkness.
Postures of prayer are also important. We should pray standing or kneeling, never sitting. We should learn to pray out loud and silently.
Steps for saying prayers:
- Stand before God.
- Make the sign of the cross over your body, saying, "In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit." Note: The cross is the symbol of Christ's victory over death and powers of evil. It is a very powerful sign. When we make the sign of the cross over our bodies, we are asking Jesus Christ to bless us and to protect us through the cross.
- Use your prayer book to pray. Read the prayers from your prayer book that match the time of day. If it is the morning, read morning prayers, and if it is the evening, read evening prayers, etc.
- Finish your prayers by again making the sign of the cross over your body and kissing/venerating the icon(s) in your prayer corner. We kiss the icons as a sign of our love to God. Just as we kiss our mom and dad, we kiss the images of Jesus, Mary, and the Saints to show our love for them.
- A special prayer, the Jesus Prayer: Step one: Take a prayer rope; step two: As you count each knot or bead say the Jesus prayer, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy upon me a sinner."
Remind each child to go home and set up a prayer corner and to begin saying their prayers. Make sure you ask them in the following weeks how they are doing.
Give them a prayer corner resource bag. The bag should include:
- Prayer book
- Paper cross or little wooden cross
- Paper icon(s)
- Prayer beads and string (they will need to assemble this)
- Candle, make sure they know to ask Mom and Dad to light this for them
- Bible, they will receive their Bibles next week at Church School.
- Diagram of prayer corner and an instruction sheet for parents