Posts Tagged ‘lord’s prayer’

We only had five students in attendance last night, which is a shame because we had a fairly good class.  This was our second-to-last class of the year and the last one in which we would teach a normal lesson.

The focus of last night’s lesson was prayer. After an opening prayer, we asked the class to break into partner groups and read the first few paragraphs of the text. We provided a sheet of paper with three columns. They were to seek the answers to three questions found in the text.

–What is prayer? (A conversation with God.)

–How can we pray? (alone or with others; aloud or silently; scripted, like a Hail Mary, or just whatever we want to say)

–How did Jesus pray (many different ways)

We introduced the five different types of prayer. We discussed each one and tried relate them to our fifth graders daily lives.

Blessing – like a prayer before a meal

Petition – asking God for some help

Intercession – asking God for help on behalf of another

Thanksgiving – thanking God for all his gifts

Praise – praising God for his greatness

We asked the class to make themselves comfortable and to close their eyes. We asked them to remain quiet and to think about having a conversation with God. We told them God would hear anything they wanted to silently tell him. They should talk with God and then to listen. We let this go for about sixty seconds.

We asked if anyone heard God talking back to them, but to no surprise, no one did.

We pointed out that God hears all prayers, but does not necessarily respond in the way we want.  We used an example of a student praying for an “A” on a test for which had or she had not studied. God may respond by not helping with the grade. A poor grade may be a better lesson in the long run to teach the student he or she needs to work for their grades. We also read a short fictional account of a conversation between a person and God. The person complained that he had a bad day and God had not helped by answering his prayers. God responded with reasons for all the supposedly bad things that had happened.

We talked a little about looking for opportunities to regularly pray daily.

We discussed scripted prayer. Most of the students agreed that when they prayed a scripted prayer like the Hail Mary or the Our Father, they were just reciting words without really understanding the purpose or meaning for the prayer. We introduced a match-column exercise from the text that broke down The Lord’s Prayer into its individual components. The students were to match the right hand column with the appropriate line from the prayer. For example. “We ask God’s forgiveness” matches up with “and forgive us our trespasses.” And so on. We then discussed the answers. We allowed only a few minutes for this, but most of the class completed the exercise and, for the most part had very good matches.

We left them with a homework assignment. We asked them to identify some time or action that is a part of their daily life, like brushing their teeth, taking a shower, waiting for a school bus, or whatever. They should note that daily event as a “trigger” for a daily prayer. Next week, we’ll ask them what they decided would be their trigger.

Next week will be our last class of the year. Monsignor Costigan will visit. He will talk about his life as a priest and answer a number of questions that arose this year that were beyond my or Mrs. Rudolphi’s ability to answer. We will also have a pizza snack. It would be very nice if you would send me an email or call if your child is not going to be able to attend. I don’t want to buy a bunch of pizza and have no one there to eat most of it.

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I was traveling Thursday and Friday, so I’m a little late getting this update posted. Sorry.

The focus of Wednesday’s class was prayer. We started off by asking the class when was the last time they prayed, and what are some times that they usually pray. We had answers ranging from “before bed,” “before dinner,” and “in church,” all the way to “last Wednesday.”

Our main goal of this class was to familiarize the students with the concept of individual, private prayer. They are acquainted with the standard written prayers, such as The Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary, Glory Be, etc. However, most of them were less familiar with the idea of personal private prayer.

Had the students sit quietly with their eyes closed. We asked them to purge all extraneous thoughts out of their minds. Then imagine they have a direct line to communicate with God. God will hear anything they say in their thoughts. We suggested they talk with God and suggested some topics. (Thanks for a wonderful day, help on a test tomorrow, etc.) After a minute or two, we asked them to stop and simply listen.

Somewhat to my surprise, it actually seemed to work. Our subsequent discussion revealed some interesting messages.

We encouraged them to find a time every day to have a quite prayer. We talked about finding a time every day when they could get into the habit of saying a prayer. We used concepts like when taking a shower, brushing their teeth, walking home from school, and so on. Mrs. Suss (who was helping out) asked how many of them had “moments of silence” at school. Nearly everyone raised their hands. We strongly suggested that would be a perfect time of quiet to have a short conversation with God.

We discussed several other related concepts.

God listens to all prayers, but he rarely responds in a way we might expect. Don’t expect him to tap you on the shoulder and tell you what to do. The voice from the burning bush went out in Biblical times.

Sometimes God may respond to a prayer in a way that is not what we asked, but actually better for us. Mrs. Suss pointed out that a smart student who does not prepare for a test may pray for an “A”, but by getting a “C” he or she may learn to prepare better and benefit in the long run.

We discussed the five types of prayers.

  • Blessing
  • Petition
  • Intercession
  • Thanksgiving
  • Praise

We finished up by discussing a current issue about Tim Tebow, who has been accused of being a hypocrite for praying in public when Jesus taught us to pray quietly in private. We discussed the idea of an honest prayer as opposed to just showing off.

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After a week off, we ended up in a wide ranging discussion, from the meaning of The Lord’s Prayer to the origin of sin.

We began by finishing up the last chapter on The Lord’s Prayer. For many people, especially children, prayers are simply words to be memorized. They recite a prayer without really knowing the meaning of what they are saying. We walked our way through the Our Father and talked about the meaning of each line.

We moved to the next chapter. It started with an exercise that involved a list of personal characteristics, some good (generous, kind, respectful, etc) and some less desirous (selfish, rough, lazy, etc.). The students were asked to circle ten attributes that applied to them, both good and bad. It provoked an interesting discussion. Surprisingly, they were quite willing to grab onto some of the negative labels. I’m not sure what that means.

From there, we went on to the biblical story of Adam and Eve and the origin of sin and evil.  We covered free will, heaven, hell and purgatory. We talked about what their impressions of heaven and hell might be.

The key point to the discussion was that our happiness and reward / punishment in the next life will depend on the choices we make in this one.

We have no class next week, March 31, due to Holy Week.  When we come back on April 7, we will cover the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick.  This is actually one of our better class sessions. We will talk about the four stages of forgiveness and get into some role playing. In the past, the classes have gotten very engaged. I hope the same for this group. So if you are not doing anything on Wednesday, April 7, come on by and join the fun.

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