Jesus Teaches Us to Pray

In Scripture we learn that there are a lot of ways that we can pray, but when Jesus teaches his disciples to pray, he gives them the Lord’s Prayer, or the “Our Father.” This is the most oft prayed and translated prayer in all of Christian history. Why this prayer? What does this prayer tell us about who God is? What does it tell us about what God is doing in the Church and in the world?

Objectives:

(1.) (Over time) Children will learn and be able to say the Lord’s Prayer.  [Last year during VCS we learned a sung version of the prayer that some kids may still remember.]

(2.) Children will talk about why the Lord’s Prayer was important for Jesus, and remains important for Jesus’ followers.

Hear the Word:  Matthew 6:7-13. Also consider reading “God hears our prayers” from the Children of God Storybook Bible (page 84).  Here is a blog post highlighting two illustrated “Lord’s Prayer” story books.  We have both in the CE library.  Feel free to use either on Sunday.

Activities:

(1.) Kingdom come:  Read the Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6:7-13.  Using crayons, markers, and other art supplies, show what it would look like for God’s “kingdom come, [God’s] will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Alternatively, for younger children, you may ask them to artistically depict what God’s kingdom looks like. Are there daily moments that remind you of God’s kingdom? What is it like to have the presence of God on earth?  Why was it important for Jesus’ close followers to pray that God’s kingdom come?  What were they asking for?

(2.) Connections with the Liturgy: Reflect on daily bread. What does it mean to ask God to provide us with daily bread? This question is a way into a discussion about God’s daily provision, human need for food, and the gift of Christ in the bread of the Eucharist.

(3.) Lord’s Prayer Scramble:  Give each student a line or phrase from the prayer (we have sentence strips in the supply closet).  Put the kids in order and have them copy each line of the Lord’s Prayer on a strip or sheet of paper. After ordering kids / phrases and reading the text together, invite them to run around and scramble up.  Then,  ask the class to work together to arrange the lines of the prayer in their proper order. For an extra challenge, ask older kids (confident readers) to do it in silence.

(4.) “Lord’s Prayer” book: Print lines from the Lord’s Prayer on quarter sheets of copy paper. Using art supplies, bind the quarter sheets together to make “prayer books.” Ask students to attend to the meaning of each of the lines as they see it. The sample below is one way that the lines of the Lord’s Prayer might be divided on each page:

  • “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,”…
  • “forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors.”
  • “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

(5.) Body Prayer:  Work with your class to memorize the Lord’s Prayer using body movements.   Here is a blog post (scroll down) showing the sign language signs for the Lord’s Prayer.  Ask students to help interpret the pray with gestures or movements then spend time “choreographing” and “rehearsing” the prayer.

(6.)  Lord’s Prayer Scavenger Hunt:  Gather “symbols” of the prayer (here is one example, contact me for help compiling items) and hide them in your classroom or on the playground.  Encourage kids to find all of the symbols, then to put them in order of the prayer.

(7.)  Lord’s Prayer Table Cube:  Use white cubes in supply closet to make a Lord’s Prayer prayer cube for the dinner table.  Illustrate/decorate the cube with symbols illuminating the words of the prayer and invite kids to use it to pray with before eating.

 Close in prayer.

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