The Atmosphere of the Christian Home


"Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess 5:17). A home is blessed when everyday tasks are accomplished with prayer. Food cooked with love and prayer is a blessing for all who partake of it. When someone is dressing, he can pray: "Clothe me in thy righteousness, O Lord." When leaving or entering the house, one can pray: "Lord, bless my coming in and my going out." One can use other such prayers for other tasks. It is also customary to make the sign of the cross and pray at the beginning of every journey.

Here is another passage from Father John of Kronstadt:

In everything and at every time strive to please God and think of the salvation of your soul from sin and from the Devil, and its adoption by God. On rising from your bed, make the sign of the Cross and say: "In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit," and also, "Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin and teach me to do Thy will." While washing, either at home or at the baths, say: "Purge me with hyssop, Lord, and I shall be clean; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow." When putting on your linen, think of the cleanliness of the heart, and ask the Lord for a clean heart: "Create in me a clean heart, O God!" If you have made new clothes and are putting them on, think of the renewal of the spirit and say: "Renew a right spirit within me"; laying aside old clothes, and disdaining them think with still greater disdain of laying aside the old man, the sinful, passionate, carnal man. Tasting the sweetness of bread, think of the true bread, which gives eternal life to the soul- the Body and Blood of Christ- and hunger after this bread- that is, long to communicate of it oftener. Drinking water, tea, sweet-tasting mead or any other drink, think of the true drink that quenches the thirst of the soul inflamed by passions- of the most pure and life-giving Blood of the Savior. Resting during the day, think of the eternal rest, prepared for those who wrestle and struggle against sin, against the subcelestial spirits of evil, against human injustice or rudeness and ignorance. Lying down to sleep at night, think of the sleep of death, which sooner or later will unfailingly come to all of us; of that dark, eternal, terrible night into which all impenitent sinners will be cast. Meeting the day, think of the nightless day, eternal, most bright- brighter than the sunniest earthly day- the day of the kingdom of Heaven, at which all those will rejoice who have striven to please God, or who have repented before God of their whole life during this temporary life. When you are going anywhere, think of the righteousness of spiritually walking before God and say: "Order my steps in Thy word and let not any iniquity have dominion over me." When doing anything, strive to do it with the thought of God, the Creator who has made everything by His infinite wisdom, grace and omnipotence, and has created you after His image and likeness. When you receive or have any money or treasure, think that our inexhaustible Treasury, from which we all derive all the treasures of our soul and body, the ever-flowing Source of every blessing is- God. Thank him with all your soul and do not shut up your treasures within yourself, lest you shut the entrance of our heart to the priceless and living treasure- God; but distribute part of your property amongst those who are in want, to the needy, to your poor brethren, who are left in this life so that you may prove upon them your love, your gratitude to God, and be rewarded for this by God in eternity. When you see the white glitter of silver, do not be allured by it, but think that your soul should be white and should shine with Christ's virtues. When you see the glitter of gold, do not be allured by it, but remember that your soul ought to be purified as gold is, by fire, and that the Lord desires to make you yourself shine like the sun, in the eternal, bright kingdom of His Father; that you will see the Sun of Righteousness- God, the Trinity, with the Most- Holy Virgin and Mother of God, and all the heavenly powers and saints, filled with ineffable light and shining with the light poured upon them.

 Source: Sr. Magdalen, 1999, Children in the Church Today: an Orthodox Perspective, SVS Press, New York, pp. 11-16.