The Lord's Prayer
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Children will play games to correctly sequence the prayer, then a game to paraphrase the prayer to help develop an understanding of its meaning, then close with a special prayer activity.
- Children will correctly put the words of the Lord’s Prayer in order, and work toward memorization of the prayer.
- Children will paraphrase the prayer and discuss the meaning of unfamiliar words and ideas.
- Children will pray for each other and world events through a prayer circle.
- Cut and mount on posterboard or construction paper the materials needed for sequencing game.
- Prepare a masking tape line numbered 1-5 (or 1-3 for small groups) for ordering prayer.
- Write the Lord’s Prayer on the easel
- Read Bible background notes and be prepared for leading the final prayer activity.
- Game pieces
- Dictionaries/Thesaurus/Bible Dictionaries
- Candles for prayer time (depending upon option chosen)
- Copier or notebook paper,
- Paper easels, and markers
Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet the children and Introduce yourself. Tell them what they'll be doing today and what you hope they'll learn.
Read together the Lord’s Prayer on the easel.
Survey the children to see if they can remember when and who first taught them the Lord's Prayer. (If they haven't experienced that, let them know that Jesus had to teach his adult friends that prayer! ...so the kids are way ahead.) Ask where we use it in our church's worship service.
Cover the prayer on the easel and have the group try reciting it from memory. If you have a small or older group, you may invite a student or two to try and recite it entirely from memory --then check the version on the easel. Keep this gracious.
"Go Around Prayer" Memory Game:
Start reciting the Lord's Prayer by having one student say the first word and then the next student saying the second word, and so on as you go around the circle of students until all the words are prayed. If a student gets the next word "wrong" --give them the correct word and move on. After you've "gone around" once, do it a second time, but THIS time if they get their word wrong, correct them but make the entire group start over with the first word of the prayer. Play this "go round" until they get all the words correct. Offer hints and helps as the situation and student needs require. Cover the easel when you are done.
Activity and Reflection:
Game -- Get the Prayer in the Right Order (about 15-20 minutes)
Write the numbers 1 through 12 on individual sheets of paper and tape them to a table or floor. Write the parts of the Lord's Prayer on 12 other individual sheets of paper. The students must put the twelve phrases in the correct order. (The numbered sheets are to help them stay organized and orderly in their shuffling.)
Having written all twelve parts of the Lord's Prayer in advance on individual sheets of paper (see numbering below), invite PAIRS of students to come forward and place all 12 parts in the correct order on the numbered sheets of paper as fast as they can. For fun, give them a bell or buzzer to signal that they are done putting them in order.
You can either "give them one minute" to put them in the right order and "award" points for how many are in their corrrect spot before letting another pair try. Or you can tell the pair WHICH parts of the Lord's Prayer pages are in wrong spots and give them one more minute to finish, then award 1 point for each correctly located part.
For younger kids, you can also reduce the Prayer to six parts, or only have them work on the first half of the Prayer before moving on to order the second half of the Prayer phrases.
- Our Father
- 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
- Forgive us our debts
- As we forgive our debtors
- Lead us not into temptation
- But deliver us from evil
- For Thine is the kingdom, and the power
- And the glory, forever and ever. Amen
Main Activity: Paraphrasing the Lord's Prayer (20-25 minutes)
Using the Lord’s Prayer written out on the easel, work together as a group to define difficult words and explain unfamiliar phrases. Write these next to each phrase in a different color.
Group 2 or 3 children together, and give each group one of the 12 game pieces, a blank piece of paper and markers to right with. Explain that their job is to rewrite the words using paraphrases, definitions, or some sort of alternative wording. For example “Give us our daily bread” could be “we ask only for those things that we absolutely need.”
If you have a small group or younger children, simply point to key words and discuss their meaning, then invite students to come up with alternative ways to say the same thing.
For example, "Our Father who art in heaven" could become (what's another word for Father? What is heaven?) "Our Wonderful parent who rules the universe."
Closing Prayer Activity (10 minutes)
Explain the different types of prayer. Explain that today’s prayer is going to be a prayer glorifying God and giving thanks. Give examples of these two things. Why do you think it is important to glorify God rather than simply asking for stuff? Give children a minute to reflect on what they might want to say.
Sit on the floor, turn the lights down low, and place a lit candle in the middle of your circle (or battery-operated candle). Teach them that the first thing to know about prayer is we have to make the time to do it! Finding a special place and focusing our attention helps (that's what the candle is for). Ask the group what their "special place" at home might look like for prayer, and if they have something they can hold or look at to help them focus their prayer thoughts. It could be a prayer bracelet or stuffed animal. It could be kneeling on a cushion in the corner of a room, or laying outside under the trees. Suggest places and ways to focus your time and thoughts on a conversation with God.
Alternatively, you can use a small glowing lamp or even pass a flashlight around. The key idea is to teach that we should FOCUS our thoughts.
Ask them to remember and say out loud the first couple lines of the Lord's Prayer. Ask if these words are focusing us on OUR wants and needs FIRST in prayer? Or on God first? (God!). Put God first in our prayers!
Now have them recite a few more lines and stop. Do Jesus' words sounds like a shopping list of things we should ask God for? What kind of things might be inappropriate to ask God for in your prayers?
Define "daily bread" as those things we need everyday to lead a happy, healthy life. What things DON'T we need?
Before you finish with the last few lines of the Lord's Prayer, tell them that when everyone says "AMEN," you will give them 30 seconds of silence to close their eyes and silently say whatever is in their heart to God. Ask or thank God for anything. When time is up, say "amen" and turn on the lights.
If you are Journaling:
Ask children to write out the Lord's Prayer as best as they can remember. They may paraphrase it if they wish. Invite them to illustrate a line or two of the Prayer.
A lesson based on one posted by the Rev. Lisa Martin, from: Trinity UCC,