When I was Children’s Ministry Director at a small church, I planned a Sunday morning children’s program called PICTURE BOOK SUNDAYS: Sparking Faith Conversations using Picture Books and Scripture. Each week, using an engaging picture book as the spark along with games and a craft, children ages 3 – 10 delved into Scripture as we investigated what it means to be a beloved child of God. The kids enjoyed the lessons so much, that I have decided to continue with a monthly series focusing on picture books that can be used as the spark for conversations about faith with your children.
Today’s lesson uses THE LORD’S PRAYER (Zonderkidz, 2011) illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson
with commentary by Rick Warren as the picture book hook. I hope it sparks thoughtful conversations with your kids.
PICTURE BOOK SUNDAYS: A Faith-Sparking Lesson
THE LORD’S PRAYER
illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson
with commentary by Rick Warren
PURPOSE: To understand that God wants to be in conversation with us. This conversation is called prayer. Jesus thought it was so important that He showed his disciples (and us) how to pray. This prayer is called the Lord’s Prayer. Let’s celebrate and give thanks that we can talk to God by… praying!
OPENING PRAYER AND GATHERING GAME: Telephone (… a communication challenge!)
Open in prayer, then explain that in today’s book, we will be learning about how we communicate with God. But first, a game to see how effective it is (or isn’t) to communicate to another through a whole line of people! To demonstrate play a few rounds of the old-fashioned classic “telephone” in which all the children sit in a circle and one child is selected to whisper something to the child beside him/her. The whispered message is repeated around the circle and when it comes back to the originator, the group can see if the message is correct or if it got jarbled along the way. Use this as a tie-in today’s story, where we’ll be learning about how we can communicate directly with God from his very Son, Jesus!
INTRODUCE THE STORY: Begin by saying one of our greatest privileges as teachers and parents is passing along our love for the Lord with our children. And one of the ways we do this is by learning to pray together. Ask if they know what prayer is? When do they pray? What do they pray? Do they know that prayer is actually talking to God – directly!?! (As opposed to the way we shared our message in the game we just played.) Do they know that God LOVES it when we pray and wants us to pray to Him? Yes, He does! Prayer is so important to God that He had His Son Jesus teach us how to do it while he was here on earth. That prayer is called the Lord’s Prayer and it is the focus of our book today. Explain that first you will just be reading the prayer through, and then you’ll go back and think about the meaning of each part of the prayer.
FAITH-SPARKING CHAT TIME: After reading through the whole prayer, return to each spread. Have a child read that portion and then ponder together how the illustrations help us to understand what each part of the prayer means, using Rick Warren’s wonderful guide at the end of the book as an aid.
Close the time by challenging the children to memorize this prayer as Jesus’ example of good praying. Then pray it together.
STORY-BASED ACTIVITY TIME: The Lord’s Prayer Bookmarks
Ahead of time, type up the Lord’s Prayer using the columns feature on your computer to create long narrow text that can be cut into book mark shaped strips. Print on card stock and cut. Let the children decorate their book marks using markers and stickers. For an extra special finishing touch, punch a hole at the top and add colorful ribbon or yarn, as shown.
WRAP UP: As children are finishing up their bookmarks – challenge them to begin memorizing the Lord’s Prayer, phrase by phrase. Then, give thanks that God loves us so very much that He even created a way for us to communicate directly with Him – through prayer.