Rotation.org Writing Team
The Lord's Prayer
Summary of Activities
Students will play a "Video Speed Reading" game to introduce and help them memorize the prayer. Then the "Director" will use the attached script to guide students in acting out the lines of the Lord's Prayer to create a "Lord's Prayer Instructional Video" based on Jesus' words and insights from the Bible Background.
Scripture for the Lesson
Matthew 6:5-13 (NRSV)
See the Bible Background at rotation.org for this set's complete list of objectives.
Preparation and Materials
- Read the Bible Background and scripture.
- Print copies of the Instructional Video Director's Script and adjust its wording to suit your preferred version of the Lord's Prayer.
- Write out in large lettering, the "lined" version of the Lord's Prayer on an easel or chalkboard. (See lesson below.)
- Video Camera or Cellphone with Video Camera
- Tripod for stabilizing the camera/cellphone during video recording
- TV or monitor and cables for showing the video
- A sign labeled "Pray!" and tape to add it to a chair
- Optional: props for the Instructional Video
Welcome students and explain what they'll be doing today.
Ask how many of them know the Lord's Prayer, then tell them you're going to test their memories in a fun game we call "The Video Speed Reading Game."
The Video Speed Reading Game
This fun game is designed to introduce and promote memorization of the Lord's Prayer. The game is based on an old children and youth fellowship game called "Swivel Hips." You'll play three quick rounds of this game, the first two with a copy of the Lord's Prayer visible, and the third time without the prayer in front of them.
- To play, students sit in a circle of chairs.
- In the middle of the circle is a chair for a volunteer holding a video camera.
- There is one extra chair in the circle and the camera only points at that chair and whoever "swivels" to sit in it during the game. Label that chair "Pray!" and leave it empty at the start of the game.
- Directly opposite the "Pray!" chair on the outside of the circle is a large visible copy of the Lord's Prayer (see the "lined" version of the prayer below) on an easel or chalkboard. For younger children, have a volunteer next to the easel ready to point to which line of the prayer the students say next in the game.
- The cameraperson records a continuous recording of whoever is sitting in the "Pray" chair (which changes as players swivel right after each line is spoken).
- Have everyone take a seat and then introduce the prayer and calmly recite it together. Now you're ready to play the Video Speed Reading Game!
- Cue the cameraperson to start recording the "Pray!" chair. When the leader says, "GO" everyone simultaneously scoots one chair to his or her right. This puts the first person in the "Pray!" seat. EVERYONE recites the line of the Lord's Prayer seen on the easel (the camera remains only pointed at the person in the "Pray!" seat).
- Players continue to "swivel" into the next chair on their right after each line is spoken together by the group and the person in the "Pray!" chair. If applicable, the volunteer standing by the easel should point at the next line to cue everyone to speak it at the same time.
- Continue doing this until all the lines of the prayer have been recited.
Play the game again, only this time see how fast you can do it. Caution: Tell students to keep their arms in their laps when they "swivel" into the next chair. This keeps arms and hands from being sat upon by the person swiveling into their chair!
In this final round, remove the easel. You will also only have the person in the "Pray!" seat doing the reciting. A student can recite the complete phrase or entire verse if they'd like (such as "Give us this day our daily bread"), rather than the shorter phrasing of the first round.
Without the easel, students will likely make mistakes. If they do, the teacher can shout, "Try again" or "Move and Try Again" to let the next person swivel into the "Pray!" chair and try to get the next phrase correct. Keep doing this until someone gets it correct. (Getting it wrong and having to keep swiveling until someone gets the line right is part of the fun, and they'll feel a sense of accomplishment when they get it all right.) The teacher can adjust how "correct" the recitation has to be based on their age and how well the students know the prayer.
Tip: As with all games, adjust for your age group and adapt the rules "on-the-fly" to make it work in your situation.
Here's the Lord's Prayer broken into lines for rounds one and two of the Video Speed Reading Game.
Who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name
Thy Kingdom come
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day
our daily bread
And forgive us our debts
As we forgive
And lead us not
is the Kingdom
and the power
Yes, they are short! This makes the game fun because players have to keep swiveling one chair to the right after the group speaks each line. Adjust the version of the prayer and length of phrases to suit your needs.
Create an Instructional Video for the Lord's Prayer
Using the attached script, the "Director" will guide students through a quick rehearsal and video recording of seven different "scenes" of the Lord's Prayer. The words of narration help explain various concepts in the Lord's Prayer that are found in the Bible Background. These ideas in the narration can also be talked about in a follow-up discussion.
The narrator, preferably a teacher or helper, does all the reading. The narrator stands close to the camera so their narration is clearly recorded. It is imperative that the narrator pace their reading so as to allow the actors to RESPOND on-camera to what the narrator is saying.
A cameraperson operates either a video camera or cellphone with a video camera, preferably on a tripod to create a stable recording.
Assign actions and scenes to best suit your age group and number of students. If you have a large, older group, you could divide the scenes and the narrator's responsibilities among them. If you have a small group, the students could remain on-camera for the duration of the seven scenes. There is no "scenery" or student script, just the actions of the students. They can make sounds or repeat words from the verses as they are heard.
The handout has many suggested actions and no props are needed, but you are welcome to add some. Recruit some teens or parents to help students discuss and come up with actions to the narration. These helpers can also either participate on camera to the prompts or stand off-camera to 'cue' the actions from there.
Tips on Recording the Video:
- Place your cellphone or video camera on a tripod; this will dramatically improve the quality of your recording.
- Rehearse the acting and recording before doing it "for real." (Tip: record the rehearsal!)
- You may choose to point the camera at one "stage" area where the actors move into frame and then move off. If you do this, mark the "on-camera" area of the floor with masking tape. Another technique is one in which actors form a circle around the camera and the cameraperson simply turns to "the next actor or group of actors." This eliminates the need for actors to move on and off stage. Having the camera turn to point at them also acts as a "cue" the actors to know when they are being recorded (i.e., when the camera turns to point at them).
- Preferably, you'll want to create and playback ONE continuous recording, so use a video camera with a "recording pause" feature. (If using a cellphone that doesn't have a "pause recording" option, you'll end up with individual video files for each scene.)
- Having different groups do different scenes will encourage each group to try and "out do" each other (which in this video is a fun idea). You can also do the script a second time and treat the first as a "run through."
Show Your Videos
- Show one of the Speed Reading Videos for fun. (It will also reinforce memorization.)
- Show the Instructional Video they made.
- Offer some final comments gleaned from their instructional video.
Close with a time of silent "prompted" prayer.
Say: As you bow your heads and have your eyes closed, I will say out loud some things we need to pray for and PAUSE for a few moments for you to pray in silence about it.
- Our Father, I pray for your Kingdom of goodness and mercy to grow in my family and my school and our church. Lord hear my prayers for my family and school and church. (Pause)
- Our Father, I pray to be forgiven for the harm I have caused in my life. Lord, hear the name of a person I have harmed and forgive me. (Pause)
- Our Father, I pray you will guide me away from these bad behaviors that I am tempted with. Lord, hear me as I ask for your help in my life. (Pause)
- Our Father, make me more loving and kind—like Jesus was. And I know you can do it because the Kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours. Amen.
For Younger Students:
For the Speed Reading Game, add some images (such as a crown over the word Kingdom) to the lines written out for the Lord's Prayer. (Some non-readers are inclined to recognize certain words if you provide them a visual reference). During the game, the teacher should say a phrase and have the students repeat it back. They will enjoy swiveling, repeating the words, and seeing how fast they can do it.
For recording the Instructional Video: Have some older students/helpers perform on-camera with the younger students.
For those with more class time:
Play an extra round of the Speed Game. In the last round, allow students to say just one word of the prayer if they want to do so. This means everyone will have to listen carefully!
Add a "but deliver us from evil" instruction to your "instructional" video.
For those who need to "simplify" or shorten the lesson time:
You can substitute a simpler "verse scramble" memory game in place of the Video Speed Reading game. Have the students write the verses on sheets of paper and then scramble/unscramble them. Work in teams of 2 and time them.
If you have a student with a movement disability, you can play the swivel game by passing a beach ball to designate the reader. In this case, the cameraperson will have to point the video at the person with the beach ball.
Written by Neil MacQueen and the Rotation.org Writing Team
Copyright 2020, Rotation.org Inc.