This series framed around Lent and Holy Week will provide children and their families an opportunity to build upon the spiritual practice of prayer. Throughout the series, the children will create prayer beads as they learn through the words of the Lord’s Prayer. Each week, a bead will be added that connects prayer to the weekly message. This is especially important as we continue to face difficult days ahead with COVID-19. Families can create prayer times in their homes using the prayer beads. Thanks to Rev. Dr. Leanne Hadley for providing the instructions of how to make prayer beads for the children.
Matthew 6:5-13 NIRV
5 “When you pray, do not be like those who only pretend to be holy. They love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners. They want to be seen by other people. What I’m about to tell you is true. They have received their complete reward. 6When you pray, go into your room. Close the door and pray to your Father, who can’t be seen. Your Father will reward you because he sees what you do secretly. 7When you pray, do not keep talking on and on. That is what ungodly people do. They think they will be heard because they talk a lot. 8Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need even before you ask him.
9“This is how you should pray.
“‘Our Father in heaven,
may your name be honored.
10May your kingdom come.
May what you want to happen be done
on earth as it is done in heaven.
11Give us today our daily bread.
12And forgive us our sins,
just as we also have forgiven those who sin against us.
13Keep us from sinning when we are tempted.
Save us from the evil one.’
Here is another version of The Lord’s Prayer—the one we hear a lot in church:
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
From the Ritual of the Former Evangelical United Brethren Church, United Methodist Hymnal, 896
- Thin ribbon
- Charm in the shape of cross
Today is Ash Wednesday. On our church calendar, we have special seasons during the year. The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. Lent is the season that comes right before Easter. During the season of Lent, we can do things to remind us that Jesus gave up his life for us. Jesus lived his entire life teaching people to love God and love others as they love themselves. Jesus constantly reminded us to love God first, put others second, and ourselves third.
I have some items in my hand that we are going to use to create a wonderful reminder of what Jesus did for each of us. I have some ribbon. (Show children ribbon.) I also have beads to place on the ribbons and a cross. With these three items, we can make prayer beads.
Sometimes we have prayers that we like to use or say. But sometimes we have a hard time coming up with the right words to say when we pray. We might be uncertain or confused. The good news is that the Bible helps us! Jesus gave us great instructions for prayer. In the New Testament, some of his disciples were asking Jesus how to pray, and he gave them some words to use. We call this “The Lord’s Prayer,” and we can use it to help us pray. We don’t have to say the exact words of this prayer, but we can keep it as a guideline if we are not sure how to talk to God.
During Lent, we are going to learn about part of this wonderful way to pray. We are going to add a new prayer bead to remind us to pray throughout the season of Lent. We will also add the cross to remind us of Good Friday and what the season of Lent is all about. Notice that the pendant of the cross is empty. As we journey closer to Easter during this Lenten Season, we are always reminded of what happened on that cross.
Each week, we will create our prayer beads. I will give each of you the supplies needed, so that you can go home and create your own prayer beads. Each week, we will add a bead to the ribbon and learn from Jesus the words to pray as we touch a bead. At the conclusion of Lent, we will tie the beads and cross together and always have a string of prayer beads to use when we pray! More importantly, you will have a daily reminder to pray during this season of Lent.
I will begin by adding the cross charm to the ribbon. This is a reminder of Good Friday. We use the symbol of an empty cross to remind us that Jesus risen and is not in the tomb. This time of year is known as the season of Lent; we don’t want to jump too quickly to Easter Sunday. Jesus said, “If any want to become my followers … let them take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). That is what the season of Lent is about. It is about humility, self-denial, what Jesus did for us, and the love God has for us. Each week, we will add a prayer bead as we learn a new phrase from the Lord’s Prayer. At the end of this season of Lent, we will have created beautiful prayer beads and cross, and we will have learned about the importance of prayer in our lives.
(Each week during the prayer, affix the bead to the ribbon when you begin the prayer. This week affix the cross. Hand out a strip of ribbon and cross charm to each child. Have extra supplies just in case one doesn’t make it home with child). God of Love: Teach us to pray. Teach us during this season of Lent to make our prayer time with you life changing. Grow each of us in favor with you as we journey close to the cross and what Jesus did to prove your love for us. Amen.