Prayer is an essential element of our Orthodox Christian life. As Orthodox parents, it is paramount that we teach our children to pray and to include our children in family prayer.
Most people will ask, “What do you mean, teach my child to pray? We say ‘Now I lay me down to sleep…” every night before they go to bed. Isn’t that teaching my child to pray?”
Of course it is. But it is also necessary, as parents, to guide our children in proper understanding of our responsibility with prayer; it’s not just reciting a rhyming verse to the end the day. Our prayers, while at the child’s level, are short and simple. But we must also explain why we pray as well as what and how we are to pray.
Many of our Orthodox prayer books offer prayers for our children to select from. Here is an excellent tool and resource from the Department of Religious Education’s PRAXIS magazine (Spring 2010 edition) that guides parents and their children in praying with a prayer rope. It also demonstrates how we pray intercessions for others.