Sunday, August 07, 2011

A Children's Compline

This is, roughly, what we do each night for prayers. Being that we are RP, the Psalms listed are selections from either the red or blue psalter. This little liturgy is based off of the short, daily devotional compline in the Book of Common Prayer. Feel free, if you like, to use it in your family. We find it very beneficial to have a set pattern for night time prayers, especially since the various repetitions allow for good, extemporaneous conversation and catechesis. Also, we raise our hands at the appropriate time during the "call to worship" -- children understand liturgical action, sometimes better than adults do: they aren't natural dualists.

Children will quickly memorize much of this. Olivia has Psalm 134, the Shema, the Lord's Prayer, and the benediction down pat. This is good, especially since she is learning to pray and needs many models/grammars to work with.

Depending on the size of the reading (and remember, "faith comes by hearing, hearing comes by the Word of God") determines how long this takes. We average between 5-15 minutes.

Call to Worship: Psalm 134 (read or sung)
"Behold now, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, you that stand by night in the House of the Lord! Lift up your hands in the holy place and bless the Lord! The Lord bless you out of Zion."

Reading: A passage from Scripture; we are going through the Pentateuch and afterwards will go through the Gospels
At the close of the reading: (Leader) "The Word of the Lord" (Everyone) "Thanks be to God"

(Leader) "And what do we believe about God?"
(Children) "The Shema: Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself."
(Leader) "And what does Jesus say about the Shema?"
(Children) "There is no commandment greater than these" or "On these hang all the Law and the Prophets"

At the point, we ask for prayer requests, concentrating on what we are thankful for and for which neighbors we can pray. We either take turns praying or the leader offers all the requests to God. We end with the Lord's Prayer.

"Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory. Forever. Amen."

Psalm 4 (sung from the red psalter): "I will both lay me down in peace and quiet sleep will take, because Thou only me to dwell in safety, Lord, dost make. In safety, Lord, dost make."

Benedition: "The Almighty and Merciful Lord, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bless us and keep us. Amen."

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