Session LJ07: Jesus' Special Prayer
Age group: 3-4
Series: Life of Jesus
Theme: Jesus: The Lord's Prayer
Total duration: mins
To tell the children about Jesus’ special prayer and help them to think about it and pray it.
Bible references: Matthew 6:9-15, Luke 11:1-4.
This session is all about the Lord’s Prayer. In the account in Luke the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. They must have felt that their prayer life didn’t match up to His and they needed some help. Isn’t that true of most or all of us? Jesus answer’s His disciples request with the prayer commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer – just a few simple lines but covering such a depth and breadth of concepts. It starts with the intimate and personal ‘Our Father’ but then immediately Jesus reminds us of the awesomeness and otherness of God with the phrases ‘in Heaven’ and ‘Hallowed (holy) be your name’.
To help the children’s understanding of this amazing prayer I have put it into my own words for a few of the activities – if you feel that other words might be more suited to your children, without losing too much of the original meaning, then please change them.
Part of the aim of this session is to help the children understand a little more about what is meant by praying and encouraging them to have a go. However, as you talk to them about prayer, you may find that some are happy and confident in this area as praying seems very natural to them.
If you do set up a prayer space then observe how the children use this area; ask them to explain their drawings and writings. (At this stage some children will very confidently do their own writing – this may or may not contain any recognisable letters or words – don’t refer to it as scribble but do ask the children to read it to you.) At the end of the session there is an opportunity for the children to share what they have created in the Prayer Space, but it may also be good to ask them how they felt in that area too.
There are lots of children’s prayer books around with lovely illustrations but do read through the words before you buy, with some the words are not nearly so good as the pictures either being too trite or in such traditional words that you would have to explain almost all the words to the children.
Books for young children containing the Lord’s Prayer also often use traditional language and phrases – there’s an argument for the children becoming familiarised with these, as that may well be how the prayer is said in church, but do reflect with them on what they mean with the children. I have used one such book for the first Story activity ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ by Rick Warren and Richard Jesse Watson.
The ‘Jesus’ Prayer in a book’ activity will take quite a lot or organising but will be worth it as, if you laminate the finished pages, your group will be able to enjoy it in the following weeks and months. However you may need to support this activity with two adults.
Finally make the most of this opportunity to reflect personally on the Lord’s Prayer and the concepts Jesus brought into it as you think how to present it to your 3 – 4 year olds.
Books you may find useful in this session:
- ‘People Everywhere: Teddy and Betsy pray the Lord’s Prayer’. By Leslie J. Francis, Nicola M. Slee and Laura Cooper.
- ‘The Lord’s Prayer for Children. (Baby Blessings)’. By Linda Clearwater (Illustrator), and Mandy Stanley (Illustrator).
- ‘Lord’s Prayer for Little Ones’. By Nolan & Samuel.
- ‘Lord’s Prayer’ by Lois Rock.