Although the law of reciting of one of the Obligatory Prayers each day is not binding until someone reaches the age of maturity (15 years), many parents wish to help their children learn about Obligatory Prayer during childhood. Showing your children how to perform ablutions and sharing what it means to face the Qiblih can help them understand the significance of the Obligatory Prayer and also give them a practical way to express their innate desire to connect with their Creator as they become of age.
[quote type=”center”]Know thou that religion is as heaven; and fasting and obligatory prayer are its sun and its moon. We entreat God, exalted and glorified be He, to graciously aid everyone who acteth according to His will and good-pleasure.[/quote]
Here are some ideas for sharing the Short Obligatory Prayer:
- Consider having your child witness various family members (and friends) reciting their Obligatory Prayer, so they can see the words and forms that the various Obligatory Prayers can take. Knowing that the recitation of an Obligatory Prayer is part of parents’ and friends routines will help children place importance on the habit when they are older.
- If your child is two years or older, you may wish to draw pictures together about what the Obligatory Prayer means. This will help you explain your ideas about the meaning and importance of the prayer, and also give your child a chance to express what it means to them. Draw a new set of pictures every year, as your child’s comprehension grows.
- Let your child know when you are going to say your Obligatory Prayer each day, so they can be reminded of its importance each day and they also can learn to respect your privacy.
- Print out the words of the prayer or a picture of the Shrine of Baha’u’llah to place in a respectful position on your child’s bedroom wall. This can serve as a visual reminder of the prayer and also show your child which way to face (towards the Qiblih).
[box type=”download”]Download a Short Obligatory Prayer poster.[/box]
In noting the importance and distinction of the Obligatory Prayers, this quote may also be of interest which discusses the idea of putting the Obligatory Prayer to music.
“We have not come across any instructions which prohibit the setting of the obligatory prayers to music. However, because of their nature, we do not consider it appropriate to do so.” (From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, May 6, 1966, Lights of Guidance, p. 412)
Do you have a routine for saying your Obligatory Prayers with your children? Please share your ideas in the comments below.