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.
Luke 19:28-40 NIRV
28After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead. He was going up to Jerusalem. 29He approached Bethphage and Bethany. The hill there was called the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent out two of his disciples. He said to them, 30“Go to the village ahead of you. As soon as you get there, you will find a donkey’s colt tied up. No one has ever ridden it. Untie it and bring it here. 31Someone may ask you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ If so, say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”
32Those who were sent ahead went and found the young donkey. It was there just as Jesus had told them. 33They were untying the colt when its owners came. The owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
34They replied, “The Lord needs it.”
35Then the disciples brought the colt to Jesus. They threw their coats on the young donkey and put Jesus on it. 36As he went along, people spread their coats on the road.
37Jesus came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives. There the whole crowd of disciples began to praise God with joy. In loud voices they praised him for all the miracles they had seen. They shouted,
38“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Psalm 118:26)
“May there be peace and glory in the highest heaven!”
39Some of the Pharisees in the crowd spoke to Jesus. “Teacher,” they said, “tell your disciples to stop!”
40“I tell you,” He replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
- Thin ribbon
- Charm in shape of cross
As we continue to learn the prayer that Jesus taught us, he says “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Sometimes when this prayer is said, we use the word “debts” instead of “trespasses.” What do these words mean? (Allow children to answer.) A debt or trespass is something used to hurt someone else. When we offend someone, we are trespassing against that person. We must ask God for forgiveness. We are glad that God has already forgiven everything we have done and everything we will do. We also ask for help in forgiving other people.
Just last week in the prayer, we asked God to provide us with physical and spiritual “bread.” Now we ask God to forgive us when we are hurtful to others. Sometimes it is a lot easier to ask God in prayer for what we want given, but it might be harder to ask God for forgiveness. It’s hard to recognize our mistakes and ask for forgiveness. It’s even harder to forgive those who have hurt us.
We must pray, “God forgive me as I forgive others who have hurt me.” This part of the prayer is not saying that God forgives us just because we forgive. God forgives as we practice forgiveness toward others. Part of being in God’s family is that we are part of a forgiven and forgiving group. All of us have been forgiven and knowing the forgiveness of God gives us a chance to forgive others. God forgives us and puts our sin so far away that it is forgotten! I wonder if we can do that?
Can you forgive someone who has hurt you? Do you think that it will be easy or hard to forgive others? (Allow children to answer).
Today is Palm Sunday. We are entering Holy Week as we continue to learn how to pray. What a perfect day, Palm Sunday, to learn more about God’s forgiveness for each of us and our forgiveness toward others. In today’s Palm Sunday passage, Jesus says that the stones will cry out if the disciples remain quiet. The disciples cannot help it, just as truly forgiven people cannot help but forgive one another.
Let’s add a prayer bead as we continue our prayer: And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
(Each week during the prayer, affix the bead to the ribbon when you begin the prayer.) God of forgiveness: Forgive me. Forgive me when I make mistakes. Teach me to forgive others who have hurt or wounded me. Continue to let me give all honor and glory to you and show others in my life how this world can look different when we put you in first place. Amen.