Welcome! In light of the unprecedented quarantine and social distancing response to the COVID-19 virus pandemic, we (Karen Ellestad and Roger Speer) want to put some simple resources into your hand to strengthen (or begin) a regular prayer practice as a family. There are multiple reasons for this initiative:
1. We will not be able to have devotional and educational time together at our regularly scheduled events.
2. We want to encourage you to pray for yourselves and others during this uncertain and uncharted chapter in our lives.
3. Every family needs a regular prayer time and if you do not already pray together, this is an excellent Lenten/pandemic response to our preparation for Easter. It is a simple thing to call family members, and set the phone on speaker, or FaceTime with them, and pray with them across any distance.
We’ve attempted to make this as simple as can be for anyone who would like to engage these resources.
Step One: The Family Prayer Space
At Good Shepherd on Candlemas, your child received a beeswax candle. We’d like to put it to good use by making a family prayer altar at home:
1. Identify a table: When choosing furniture that your child will use, look for sturdy, yet easy-to-move pieces. For the youngest child, you will want a low table that is no more than 13 to 15 inches in height. A low table will allow the child to prepare the prayer space, thus taking ownership of his or her environment.
2. An Altar Cloth: You can choose a cloth that represents the colors of our Liturgical Year: blue, green, red and white. You may find material to use for your prayer cloth, or use table runners or large cloth napkins.
3. A Bible. Rather than purchasing a children’s Bible that may paraphrase sacred Scripture, it is preferable that the child hear the same translation that they would hear at Sunday Liturgy. At Good Shepherd we use the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
4. Bible Stand or Pillow. You may want a stand or small pillow to hold your Bible.
5. Statue or Sacred Art. Studies show that there are intellectual benefits of stimulating the brain through the fine arts. For younger children, we recommend that the images be few and carefully selected. Of course, artwork made by your family would be a powerful prayer focus.
6. Small Kneeler or Cushion for anyone to rest on in private prayer.
7. Candle and Candle Tray. We light a candle at the start of our worship, to recall that God’s Word is a light for us. We keep a small tray, containing a candle, a candle snuffer or extinguisher and a container for spent matches near our prayer table. The matches should always be in a covered box, accessible only to the adult.
8. Family Prayers and Prayer Book. See below.
Adapted from: © The National Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, 2014 www.cgsusa.org
Step Two: A Liturgy for Family Prayer
Please read: About Family Prayers
Please print and use: Single Page Worship Guide
Step Three: Music and Devotions
We have created two Spotify Playlists for you:
Hymns and Songs to sing. Find it by clicking this link.
Contemplative music to listen to. Find it by clicking this link.
Devotions. Roger and Karen have recorded devotions based on Scriptures they have chosen or come from the Daily Office. Click here for the channel.
Step Four: Put it all together
1. Choose a time to pray together as family.
2. Light candles and prepare your prayer space.
3. Choose a song to sing or listen to.
4. Choose a devotion to listen to.
5. Choose a worship leader.
6. Follow the liturgy