The Lord's Prayer
Summary of Lesson Activities:
In this workshop, the children will learn to communicate with God through interpretive dance and movement using the Lord’s Prayer.
- Pillows (already in the room);
- Chinese ribbons designed for dance (optional);
- copy of The Lord’s Prayer on poster board.
- Read through the lesson plan and familiarize yourself with the movements used. You can also develop some of your own if you desire. Keep in mind that the class you have on the first Sunday of the rotation (February 3) will not have had any discussion about prayer, so you may need to spend a little longer on the first part of the lesson.
- Gather the materials.
Opening-Welcome and introductions:
Greet the children and introduce yourself. Remember that you are interacting with a different group of students each week--some may not know you. Wear your nametag and make sure that the children are wearing theirs.
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
1. Gather the children and explain that they need to get comfortable on the floor (with the large pillows) for a few minutes while you talk about prayer.
Ask the following questions:
- Who has heard of The Lord’s Prayer?
- Who first said The Lord’s Prayer? (Many of the younger children may not realize that we are repeating a prayer Jesus taught the crowds of people.)
- Who knows what Jesus was talking about before he introduced the prayer? (He was talking about how some people pray to be seen instead of to worship, love, and serve God.)
2. Read Matthew 6:5-8. After these verses are read, the children may ask why we pray out loud in Sunday School and worship since these verses talk about praying secretly. Just explain that Jesus was talking to people who had been praying just to be seen, so that their peers (friends) would think they were close to God. He wanted to impress upon them the need to pray in silence.
3. Explain that we are going to pray the Lord’s Prayer without words. Ask who knows how that could be done. (All answers are correct.) Then explain that we are going to pretend that we can’t speak the words - we must find a way to express the prayer without words.
4. Ask the children to stand up and spread out around the room. (See note about the older children at the end of this lesson plan. Also, the youngest children may need guidance but can be invited to think about why you might move a certain way.)
Ask the shepherd to read each line of the Lord’s Prayer and pause after each line.
Our Father who art in Heaven -
put hands together in the prayer position, then stretch up as you open your hands to heaven.
Hallowed be thy name -
bring arms from the “heaven” position around in a circle and then touch your lips lightly with fingertips as you hear the word “name.”
Thy kingdom come -
fingertips touching at waist level, bow head and sweep arms out to the side - a big “kingdom” movement.
Thy will be done -
keep hands out to the side, step back on one foot so you can bow your head and body.
On earth -
at the end of the bow, reach down and gently touch the floor.
as it is in heaven -
bring feet back together, hands together, bringing hands all the way up above head and open when arms are stretched high.
Give us this day our daily bread -
put one hand out as a plate, use the other hand to pick up an imaginary piece of bread and pretend to eat.
And forgive us our debts -
make fists and hold together as if you are handcuffed, headed bowed.
As we forgive our debtors -
bring fists toward heart, opening as your lay one hand over another on heart, then extend opened fists outward away from heart in a sweeping motion as if the forgiving of others is a freeing motion.
And lead us not into temptation -
“wrap” arms over one another and drape over head as if you’re hiding from the time of trial or temptation.
But deliver us from evil -
throw arms up and twirl around in a freeing way.
For thine is the kingdom -
look to heaven, then bring one arm up and begin twirling.
And the power -
lift the other arm to God; continue twirling.
And the glory forever. Amen. -
stop twirling with both arms lifted in praise to God; on "Amen", kneel in prayer, stretch head towards the floor and bring arms back behind you.
5. Pray the prayer through the interpretive movement as many times as you can before 10:10.
After praying the prayer several times, have the children sit down. Remind them that the Lord’s Prayer is a sample prayer for us. It is full of prayers for ourselves, others, and in praise of the one who gives us life. We can pray using our own words or no words at all as we did today. Never be afraid that you are praying the “wrong” prayer or that you do not know how to pray in a specific situation. You can talk to God anywhere and any way—with or without words.
Have the children write in their journals about how this experience affected them.
Ask: How did praying without words make you feel?
Or let them complete the following sentence: I will dance my prayers whenever . . . (Write these questions on a larger sheet of paper or on the dry erase board for children to see.) The younger children can write about it or draw a picture of one of the lines of the prayer. Ask the shepherd to write the line of the prayer each child is illustrating (if they do not write.)
Pray the following prayer or say one of your own: "God, thank you for teaching us how to talk to you in different ways. May we pray to you with our whole hearts, giving thanks for all of the wonderful blessings you have given to us. (At this point in the prayer, ask all of the children to keep their eyes closed and to dance or move to what they give thanks for. Remind them that they are doing this for God, not for show.) Amen.
Have the children help you tidy up the workshop space. Dismiss them with instructions about where they are to go.
Adjustments for younger/older children:
The younger children will want to do the whole prayer together.
The older children (depending on how many there are) may want to form a line (one person behind another.) The person in the front of the line does the first “line” of the prayer, and so on, with each person “peeling off” and returning to the end of the line until the movements are finished.
NOTE TO TEACHER: In the past we have done a rotation with movement that was not well-received by the kids. Your enthusiasm will make a big difference in the response of the children. The oldest children are the most difficult because they are the most self-conscious. You may want to start with the above directions (making a line) and then allow them to make their own movements to "perform" a prayer (not to be showy, but to pray as a community).
A lesson originally posted by Jan Marshall from: Brookhaven Church
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