When Jesus taught the disciples to pray, he gave them a gift that has endured across the ages. The Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:1-4) contains all that Christians need to know about prayer. As simple as that may sound, the prayer challenges people in its unceasing call for humility and love. Children’s Lord’s Prayer activities provide a foundation for a prayer life that can accompany each child as she matures in her faith. Depending on children’s ages, engage them physically, mentally and, of course, spiritually.
Integrate physical movements with lines from the Lord’s Prayer. Get children on their feet using gestures to reflect the information in the prayer, suggests the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada website. Ask students to stand straight with arms and hands raised to the sky, palms facing upward, in gestures of praise for God’s greatness. Perform Lord’s Prayer gestures with the children, moving through smiles of joy, humble bowed heads, kneeling and the forgiving pose of the Crucifixion. Invite parents for a Lord’s Prayer recital. Ask children to “teach” parents the poses and ask parents to participate in the lively prayer.
Forgiveness is at the core of Christianity and at the core of the Lord’s Prayer. Give older students a chance to reflect on Jesus’ message of forgiveness in the Lord’s Prayer. Discuss what it might mean to forgive others for harms they cause while trusting that God the Father forgives people for their errors against God and others. Propose to students that as God can forgive anything that a person does, so people are challenged to reflect God’s forgiveness and forgive others. Lead a discussion about cases which children feel they cannot forgive others. Ask each child to write a prayer to God or to Jesus about forgiveness.
Introducing children to the Lord’s Prayer begins with memorization upon which teachers can build spiritual lessons over the child’s religious education. Write the words of the prayer on multi-colored index cards. Write words from sections of the prayer on matching colored cards. Write one word on each card. Recite the sections of the prayer with students. Tape each word of the section on a board as you recite the words. Leave the section of the prayer on the board as you move through the entire prayer. Divide the children into groups and give each group a shuffled section of the prayer. Ask students from each group to take turns putting their cards in order on the board.
Older elementary and middle school-age children have the capacity to reflect on the deeper meaning of the Lord’s Prayer. Use the children’s abilities to develop their spiritual maturity. Ask children to begin a journal devoted to the Lord’s Prayer. Ask students to write the prayer in the front of their journals. Instruct them to pray the prayer each day. Tell students to break the prayer into sections and to write each section at the top of a separate page in their journals. Divide the prayer beginning with “Our Father who art In heaven, hallowed be your name”; “they kingdom come, they will be done on earth as it is in heaven”; “Give us this day our daily bread”; “and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”; “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Ask children to write about what they think each section means as they pray over a six-day period. Discuss their insights as they progress through the week.
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