1. Teaching children the Lord's Prayer
You will need to consider the age of the children you are teaching. It may be that with younger children you could encourage them to recite the Lord's Prayer with you. With older ones, you might want to get them to think a little more about the meaning behind the words, or see if they can write their own prayers to God based on one or more of the elements in the Lord's prayer.
Here is a Lord's prayer lesson with some activities that you can use to help children discover this prayer for themselves.
It's always good to begin by worshipping God and focusing our hearts on him in some way. You could explain that this is the first thing that Jesus did when he prayed ('Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name').
Perhaps at this point you could sing a children's song about prayer. If you're not aware of any, Ishmael's worship songs for children are a good place to start. At the Ishmail website, you will find lots of resources (including kids' music and free games for children to play) that Ishmael has produced over the years. If you scroll down on the home page, you will see a daily song.
b. Lord's Prayer colouring activity
The Lord's Prayer for children website includes a link to some great free colouring sheets that you can print out and use with your group. There are seven sheets altogether, each covering different elements of the Lord's Prayer, including 'Give us this day our daily bread' with a fun picture of a boy eating his packed lunch!
c. Ask some questions
Here are some questions you could ask your children in response to the Lord's Prayer colouring sheets:
- 'Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven' - What would you like to ask God to do? For example, do you have a friend who is ill, who we could pray will get better? Depending on the age of the children, you could ask them if they have seen God answer any prayers.
- 'Give us today our daily bread' - Do you thank God for your lunch? Which foods are your favourite ones? Which food would you most like to thank God for?
- 'Forgive us our sins' - Do we remember to say sorry when we've done something wrong? Did we say sorry to God?
More information and resources can be found on The Lord's Prayer for children website.
2. The Lord's Prayer with props
Using everyday ordinary household items as props can help us in understanding the Lord's Prayer. You can use any props you like, but suggested examples are listed below. You may find that discussing what props to use before you pray is the most interesting part of the whole exercise!
Our Father in heaven: a picture of a parent and child.
Hallowed be your name: an honours board, a prize-giving programme, or a picture of an Oscar or Nobel Peace Prize being presented.
Your kingdom come: a national flag, or a postage stamp.
Your will be done: a recent newspaper, a dog lead, or a map.
On earth as it is in heaven: a picture of earth from space, or a newspaper.
Give us today our daily bread: a loaf or pictures of food, clothing and houses.
Forgive us our debts: a toy gun, or toy handcuffs, or a jail.
As we also have forgiven our debtors: a cross.
And lead us not into temptation: adverts for expensive items.
But deliver us from evil: a bottle labelled 'poison' (note: don't use a real poison bottle!).
For yours is the kingdom: a crown (which could be made of paper).
And the power: foreign money, a toy weapon, or a picture of Parliament.
And the glory: a palm branch, or a picture of fans at a concert or football match.
For ever. Amen: a stopped clock.
You can use this prayer activity in three ways:
- You can project images of the items using an OHP or digital projector as you pray rather than using the real props, making sure you give space for reflection on each image. If each line of the prayer was printed alongside the image, people would know when to say the next line.
- You could distribute the props amongst the people in the room. Discuss together which item belongs to which line of the prayer. Then attempt to put them in order! Pray the prayer slowly while each person holds their item up.
- Gather all the props/items together and place them in the centre of your group. As you pray each line of the prayer, pass the appropriate item around your group, pausing long enough for it to make its journey around everyone. Finally, return the items to the middle of the room. Use the time to reflect on each items and the relevant line of the prayer.
For more ideas similar to this see Sue Wallace, Multi-Sensory Scripture, Scripture Union, 2005, p30.
You will need: printer, paper, pencils/crayons, stapler, laminator for the front cover if required.
Create a Lord's Prayer booklet with these downloadable templates. This mini book helps children (of all ages!) learn the Lord's Prayer with words and images that can be coloured in. The templates can be found at the bottom of the webpage.
Feel free to make as many copies as you need (just don't sell them as they are meant to be free for all to use).