Tuesday, November 4, 2008

More Thoughts On Devotions

Praying the Psalter, or using a resource that helps you do this, like The Treasury of Daily Prayer or one of the other mentioned, is great for you mature adults. I pray one or two of the daily offices while I am at Church (I'm not boasting; I could pray them all, or even one more attentively).

But what about home when the two-year-old begins to sing "Backyardigans" and the fifteen-year-old rolls her eyes, and your spouse looks at you like she is about to throttle the seven-year-old if this doesn't end soon?

First, the kids need to pray, not only hear a story. A story may keep their interest, and even teach them a lesson, but the disciples asked, "Lord, teach us to pray." A foundation needs to be set right now for them. But we are dealing with children, and so we should pray as children.

Here's the order we use for Vespers (from LSB):

Opening Versicles ("O Lord, open..." "Make haste...")
Gloria Patri
Seasonal "Praise to you..."
Two or three verses from a Psalm
Lord's Prayer
Prayers said by all
Benedicamus & Benediction

What you have to remember is that we're dealing with PK's here. Looking at it written down, it even seems a bit long for the younger of my brood. And I've been considering adding a "story" to the mix, because they don't get that too much.

Here's some tips to also help the kids:

Use Props. In other words, have a Family Altar. Use some candles. Make sure you have a crucifix and avoid the "religious art" in favor of icons or nothing. Yes, it will look "religious" or even "church-y" but that's what we are, aren't we?

Pray at the same time and same place everyday. Children (and adults) need consistency and stability.

If what you're doing isn't working, ask your pastor and do what he says. He might tell you to shorten your devotion. Or to buckle down and do it. Do not exasperate your children (Col. 3:21). Do not overindulge them either.