The importance of prayer in your life.

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Do you find time in your life for daily prayer? Or is it something that you do when you “need” something from God, Allah, Buddha, or whomever you believe in? Growing up Greek Orthodox and attending a Catholic School, prayer was always something that I was encouraged to do and something that I passed on to my daughter. Every night before bed she says her prayers. The irony of all this is that I taught her a Greek prayer many years ago and she could recite it before she actually knew the meaning behind it. Do you take time out of your day to pray? With the pandemic going on and all of the restrictions around attending church I’ve found that I’m missing that connection. I’m missing being in a place where I don’t need to explain myself because for the most part, everyone enters because they believe. I miss venerating the holy icons and seeing these works of art all around us, listening to our silent prayers.

It is because of this connection that I decided to join a prayer group for the Christmas fast. As Greek Orthodox Christians we fast for 40 days before Christmas. I don’t know how I will do on the food part but I know that I can take a few minutes out of my morning to read the Holy Gospels. This group is 40 people each assigned a gospel reading to start on. We continue down the line until Christmas Eve when we’ll read the last one. Along with that we pray for each person in our group, that God may have mercy on us all. Over the last few months I’ve had multiple conversations with friends about journaling and starting our days with gratitude. While I continue to try and do that, this is something that I can easily wrap my head around right now. Maybe because in the wee hours of the morning when I wake up I don’t need to “think” about a topic or solve my own problems, but rather I can read the word of God and be grateful for the day ahead, which we all know is never promised to us.

So I ask you my friends, what is the importance of prayer in your life? Do you find yourself coming to prayer when needed or have you found a way to blend it into your daily life? Drop me a comment or send me a message, I’d love to hear from you!

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

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H Sarakosti

As I began to think about what to write about this week, Ι couldn’t let the week pass by without acknowledging the Sarakosti.  Sarakosti or the Great Lent, is the 40 day Lenten period that starts with Clean Monday and ends on Holy Saturday night.  I remember growing up and clean Monday was a big deal.  My mom would make a lagana, we’d have tarama, and even though we were restricted in our eating, we made a party out of it.  My husband, although not one to go to church, does usually fast before Easter and Christmas.  This year he decided 50 days over the typical 40 days.  It is a man’s prerogative to do as he likes.  I have been trying to come up with some great Lenten recipes and came across something that I had personally never seen before, the Sarakosti poem.  I think it will be a perfect way to begin to explain Lent to my almost three year old.  As a former Sunday School teacher, I honestly can’t believe I didn’t come across this earlier in life as it would have been an amazing tool to use with the children.  For my friends with little ones or those of you who are current Sunday School teachers, please check out the link here .  A big thank you to our friends over at Orthodox Mom for bringing this great tradition to our attention.

As we embark on the Great Lent, prayers is also such an important part.  Our nightly ritual is to kiss Panagia’s icon before making our way into my daughter’s room.  Since she’s still young, all of the icons in her room are hung high up where she can’t reach.  Over 15 years ago, during my Sunday School teaching days, we made this icon with our students.  I still have it today and it is on a table as you enter our home.  She must pass by it to reach her room so it has become the ritual to say thank you to Panagia, kiss the icon and off to bed we go.  I was thinking how I could incorporate something more during Lent.  I was able to find an easy toddler prayer on the website of the Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church in Lowell, MA of all places, bringing it back to Massachusetts.

Praying With Toddlers: each them early to venerate icons and to Cross themselves. Explain simple concepts of God and Jesus. Pray with them by helping enumerate their blessings:  Jesus loves my _______ . Thank you God, for _______ .

Child’s Prayer:  Heavenly Father, bless my parents and all those who love and care for me. Help me in all ways to be respectful and obedient to them according to Your will. Send down upon me Your grace to perform all my duties carefully and faithfully, to avoid unacceptable company and influence and to resist all temptation that may come my way. Help me Lord to live a serious, good and godly life, praising You constantly and glorifying Your holy Name. Amen.

Your child is never too young or too old to begin to pray.  They have a wonderful Orthodox Prayer Book, that you can find in full here.  Thank you to the Transfiguration Community for this wonderful resource.

Kαλη σαρακοστή σε ολλους σας.

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

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