Friday, July 18, 2003

A Friday Gift: Byzantine Prayer for Children

As I progress on my journey into the Byzantine Church, I am continually amazed at the beauty of the prayers and liturgy. I am convinced that the Western Church was given by God for systematic theology, but the Eastern Church was given by God for beauty's sake. Here, for your perusal, is a prayer for children from the Byzantine Book of Prayer, available here or at my parish. I particularly like the part in boldface. (By the way, if you live in the Chicago area and haven't come out to see our parish, shame on you! Come visit us.)

O Holy Father, Eternal God, from whom all goodness and blessing flow: I humbly pray to You for the children You have graciously given me. You have given them existence, and have renewed them in the waters of rebirth by virtue of which they are able to obey your commandments and attain the kingdom of heaven. Preserve them in your grace to the end of their life, and sanctify them that your Name be hallowed in them. Aid me also by your grace that I may bring them up for the glory of your holy Name and for the benefit of all mankind. Grant me the necessary means to this end, together with patience and fortitude. O Lord, enlighten them by the light of your wisdom that they may love You with all their heart and soul. Instill in their hearts a fear of evil so that their way may be without sin. Adorn their soul with your virtues that they may prosper in holiness and grow in your favor. And, if at any time they should sin against You, do not turn away from them the spirit of contrition. Give them the goodness of the earth and everything necessary for eternal salvation. Protect them from misfortune, anger, privation, and from the snares of the devil all the days of their life. O Lord, grant me joy and happiness in my children. Enable me to appear with them at your awesome judgment, and there, without fear, to say: "Here I am Lord, with the children You have given me." That, together with them, praising your great goodness and eternal love, I may glorify your most holy Name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and forever. Amen.

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