Teaching The Lordís Prayer to Children

teach children the lords prayerIn the church we are keen that our children should know the Lord’s Prayer and be helped to understand it. Why? Because Jesus tells us that this is how to pray. It is found in both Luke’s and Mark’s gospels (Luke 11:1-4; Matthew 6:9-15).  In Luke we discover that the disciples had been with Jesus for some time and had seen him get up before dawn to spend time alone in prayer; so it was natural for them to ask, 'Lord, teach us to pray.' As a result of that request we have what we call 'The Lord's Prayer'.

Many children may not be familiar with the Lord’s Prayer from school. They will soon learn it if it is regularly said in church or Sunday School but it will be of more use to them if they are helped to understand it. Below is a guide to help explain it to children. The children may enjoy writing it out and decorating or framing it. Alternatively, a prayer wheel could be used to help to memorise it.

The Lord's Prayer was given to be a pattern and a basis of prayer and is used by all denominations and Christian churches. It is not intended just as a recitation but is a description for us as to how to pray. Each sentence reveals to us a part of our priorities in prayer. For more detailed descriptions of the prayer you could visit: http://www.lords-prayer.co.uk/ourfather.html. Note that it is a communal prayer and uses the words ‘our’, ‘us’ and ‘we’; so it encourages us to consider not only our own needs but also those of others.

This link will provide a downloadable pdf of the Lord's Prayer for children to cut out (designed primarily for use with the Prayer Wheels above) and below the prayer has been broken down into sections as a teaching aid. The language used will have to be modified for different ages and abilities.
  
1.  Know God and Honour Him

(i) Firstly the Lord’s Prayer encourages us to remember to whom are we praying and how should we address Him.  He is the Holy God who is in heaven and whom we can jointly call Father.  

(ii) Next we are to honour Him; which means to love, respect and long to please Him in all that we do and say.

‘Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name.’

2.  Pray for Yourself and Others to Know More of Jesus

(i) When He preached Jesus taught that, 'The kingdom of God is among you.' So we should pray for Jesus’ kingdom to grow on earth and be a foretaste of heaven.

(ii) We should pray that the way we live be pleasing to God, the Father's will for our lives be accepted and His purposes within the world be advanced. (Matthew 28: 16-20)

‘Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.’

3.  Tell God Your Needs


We should pray for our needs (not wants) and the needs of others (food, clothes, shelter, freedom from war)

‘Give us today our daily bread’

4. Be Sorry Before God and Forgive Others

(i) Our consciences (and the Bible) should tell us where we have fallen short of God’s standards for us. Knowing this we should pray for our ‘wrongs’ or sins to be forgiven by God.

(ii) We ourselves must also forgive others. Jesus emphasises the importance of this in Luke by saying that if we don’t forgive others so the Father will not forgive us. Being honest before God about our own failings should help us.

‘Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.’

 5. Ask for God’s Help and Protection

 (i) In choosing to honour and serve God we enter a spiritual battle in which we need to ask for God’s help. If we are truly sorry for our sins, we will be anxious not to repeat them.

(ii) He wants us to ask to be brought safely through this battle and the struggles we encounter

‘Lead us not into temptation
Deliver us from evil’

5. Remember That God Can Do Anything

Last of all* we are encouraged to remember that God has the power to do more than we can ask or think. Consider all the ways God has been faithful in the past to you, to others and throughout His word and thank Him.
It has been described as a 'concluding peal of praise to send us on our way well-balanced.'

‘For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, forever and ever. AMEN’

*This last section is a doxology (a short hymn of praise) and, although found in Matthew 6:13 in some Byzantine manuscripts, is not found in the earliest manuscripts. But it's a great way to finish!

Lastly, A Simple Mnemonic to Help With Remembering the Lord's Prayer

1. Honour God
2. Pray for Others
3. Tell Him your Needs
4. Enlist His Protection
5. Be Sorry and Forgive
6. Thank Him

H-0-N-E-S-T

Which doubles as a reminder as to how we should be before God. (It does require that #4 and #5 are swopped around). A simpler one is

A-C-T-S: Adoration; Confession; Thanksgiving and Supplication

A Children's Version of the Lord’s Prayer (The New English Version)

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your Kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven
Give us today our daily bread.
 Forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom,
the power and the glory are yours.
Now and for ever. Amen

For other versions of the Lord’s prayer and for other language versions visit: http://www.lords-prayer-words.com/lord_traditional_king_james.html