For Children, the Four Bows
If we are honest with ourselves, we should lament our inattention to God, our weak and inconstant prayer, our false priorities, the time we waste on things that are not effectual for our salvation. We are weak creatures, driven by habit, and many of these habits are sinful and destructive. So many of our activities are thieves - they steal time from prayer.
Our hearts are like coal, which is cold, but may be lit with persistent effort. Coal lights very slowly, and much care must be taken to tend it, even when it is burning. Our prayer is like blowing on the coal, which gradually becomes warmer, and eventually a hot fire, but only after much persistence on our part. The key is persistence, and not to lose heart. Even a small effort is rewarded by God, if we are persistent.
The Four Bows
Upon arising in the morning, before anything else, direct your heart and mind towards God, and face your icons, or face East and with compunction, and without haste, make four bows, or better, four prostrations. Do this with hope in God, and the sure belief that He will receive your prayer, as He received the widow's two mites, and protect you during the day, even if you fall into inattention and these prayers are the last you will say for the entire day.
Making the sign of the cross, with a bow of prostration during each prayer say:
- Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God have mercy on me a sinner.
- Most Holy Theotokos, save us.
- Holy Saint ___________ (your patron saint), pray to God for me.
- Holy Angel of God, my guardian, pray to God for me.
After these prayers, it is best to continue with your morning prayers, and then turn your attentions to the cares of the day.
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