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Prayer II

Session 1: Prayer
Praxis means action. In this session we will discuss the physical aspects and actions of prayer, as well as practical methods and techniques of developing a prayer life. In focusing on the practical aspects, there will be activity with time for questions and answers, but little discussion, as campers will watch the setting up of a prayer space in an Orthodox home complete with a prayer book, Kandili, icons, prayer rope, etc.

Begin with an opening prayer and offer a brief explanation of what is to be accomplished.

How to Make a Kandili (Vigil Lamp)
Materials for the Lesson:
You will need a glass Kandili, and a tea light candle. If possible you can use a more traditional set up with Kandili with oil, water, cork, and wick.

Demonstrate how to assemble a Kandili. First put a little water in the main vessel and add oil to fill. The oil will float on the water. Put the wick in the cork floater, light it, and gently place it on the oil. Inform the campers that they will have an opportunity to create their own Kandili as part of a prayer kit during session II.

The Kandili is placed in front of icons, produces light, and helps to set the mood for prayer. Discuss themes of light as found in Scripture: Christ is the Light of the World; Christians are a light, set on a lamp stand, not hidden under a bushel. Light exposes those who do dark things; for example, the Light of Christ exposes sin. St. Paul says we are the children of light. Light drives out darkness. Light is of God, darkness of the evil one.

Icon Space
Materials for the Lesson:
You will need icons, nails, a hammer, and maybe a level. Discuss safety in hanging icons.

Share how icons are to be blessed first. They are given to the priest to be placed in the altar for forty days or blessed with a special prayer and blessing from a priest or bishop. Next discuss the arrangement of icons by referencing the iconostasis in church: the Panagia is to the left of Christ, saints are outside of the Panagia and Christ. They are placed at a suitable height for venerating, perhaps behind a table with a Kandili in front to illumine them. Remind the campers to ask their parents for help when hanging an icon.

Demonstrate how to venerate icons by showing the campers how to make a prostration, cross themselves and kiss the icon.

Written Prayers and Prayer Times
Materials for the Lesson:
For this portion of the session you will need a bible, psalter, and prayer book.
Demonstrate reading prayers and psalms. Take your time, focus and pay attention to the words. Let them sink into the heart. Discuss various prayer times and themes, which can be found in the prayer book session. Campers will assemble a prayer book at session II.

Discuss briefly and point out the synaxaria that is found at the end of some prayer books. Discuss commemorating the saints of the day and the tradition of asking saints for their prayers. Discuss the concept of the Liturgical Calendar by which we celebrate a saint's day and specific events of Christ's life, such as His Baptism and the Transfiguration. Discuss how we celebrate one's patron saint or feast day.

Discuss prayer times. In the Orthodox Church there are times and days that have significant meaning for prayer. We are sanctifying time itself from being mundane to becoming sacred through the act of prayer. The days of prayer are the following:

  • Monday is a day for the angels.
  • Tuesday is a day to remember the Prophets and St. John the Forerunner.
  • Wednesday we commemorate the betrayal of Jesus. We also remember the Theotokos.
  • Thursday is a day to remember the Apostles, St. Nicholas and all hierarchs.
  • Friday is a day to commemorate the Crucifixion of Jesus; the Theotokos is also remembered on Fridays.
  • Saturday is a day to remember monks and the deceased.
  • Sunday is a day to celebrate the Resurrection.

The following are the hours of prayer for commemoration:

  • Vespers is an evening service traditionally held at sunset. It signifies going from light to darkness. We ask God for His protection during the night and to let our light shine to concur the darkness.
  • Complines are prayers for protection during sleep and are prayed after evening prayers.
  • The Midnight Service signifies that the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night, and the second coming is remembered.
  • Orthros is a morning prayer service, traditionally prayed at the beginning of the day. It signifies the Coming of Light, Christ the True Light.
  • The First Hour is prayers for the Church throughout the world (7 am).
  • The Third Hour is a commemoration of Pentecost (9 am).
  • The Sixth Hour commemorates the Crucifixion (noon).
  • The Ninth hour is a commemoration of Death on the Cross (3 pm).

This cycle then repeats.

Prayer Posture
For this portion of the session the campers may participate in helping with the demonstrations. Demonstrate how one can pray standing, kneeling, bowing at the waist, with full prostrations, praying with hands raised in the shape of a cross, or hands crossed over their chest.

Komboskini literally means "rope with knots." The prayer rope helps us in our practice of reciting the Jesus Prayer.

Materials for the Lesson:
You will need string, beads, maybe a cross that can be tied to it. Inform the campers that they will make their own prayer ropes during the second session.

Count out the beads. Prayer ropes can be 33 beads or knots, one for each year of the Lord's life before the Crucifixion; they can also have 100 or 300 knots. Each time you take a bead in your hand or make a knot, recite the Jesus Prayer. The Jesus Prayer can be said many different ways. The following are variations of the Jesus Prayer:

  • "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner."
  • "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me"
  • "Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me"
  • "Jesus have mercy on me"
  • "Jesus."

The Jesus prayer can be used to ward off temptation, to deflect negative thoughts, or as a part of a prescribed prayer routine, perhaps once around in morning and once around at night. Be consistent. Don't look for visions or get any big ideas. It is the prayer of the publican in the temple. If time allows, read this parable from the Gospel of Luke.

End this session with a prayer. Continue with Session II: Prayer.

Session 2: Prayer
During this session, the campers will create elements of an Orthodox prayer corner: a prayer book, prayer rope, and vigil light. There are three-arts-and-crafts style activities in this session which need to be completed within the time given.

Prayer Book
Materials for the Prayer Book Activity:
For this activity, you will need enough supplies for each participant. These supplies include notebooks, staplers, glue, needle and thread, colored paper, paper icons, prayer books, Psalter, and copies of written prayers. If they are available, back issues of OCMC and IOCC magazines may be useful. A Manual of the Hours of the Orthodox Church by Archimandrite Cherubim and Orthodox Prayers by SVS Press may be useful. The following are printable versions of prayers:

A Child's Prayer
Evening Prayer (St. Basil)
Evening Prayers

Intercessory Prayer
Lenten Prayer of St Ephraim
Morning Prayer
Morning Prayers

Prayer for Enemies
Prayer for Parents
Prayer in Time of Despondency
Prayer in Time of Need
Prayer of a Student
Prayer of Optina Elders (Morning)
Prayer of St. Basil
Prayer of St. John Chrysostom, 24 Hours
Prayer to Guardian Angel
Prayer to Patron Saint
Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Prayer to Theotokos
Prayers for Forgiveness

Be involved with the youth in this process. Encourage creativity and originality. If a camper is writing a prayer from St. Basil, they might adhere a paper icon of St. Basil to that page in their prayer book. The camper can design a cover to their prayer book that is personal to them. Encourage the campers to design a practical prayer book that will include morning, daytime, evening, and occasional prayers. Have them look through the prayers that are available and either cut and paste them or write them in long hand into their books.

Materials for the Activity:
You will provide a vigil light, tea light candle, and materials for decorating the Kandili.
The campers will simply design and create a Kandili for their prayer corner.

Prayer Rope
Materials for the Activity:
In order to create a prayer rope, you will need to provide enough beads and string for each camper.

Have the campers construct a basic prayer bracelet consisting of 33 beads. Remind the campers that with each knot they tie or each bead they pick up, they are to recite the Jesus Prayer. While they are making their prayer ropes, you may also read from the Gospel of Luke about the publican in the temple.


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Camp Emmanuel 

Children's Parables 

The Christian Life 


The Great Feasts 

I AM (Leader Edition)  

I AM (Participant Edition)  

Introduction to Orthodoxy  

Parables Bible Study  

The Prophecies  


Second Sundays