When Children Pray
March 16, 2017
Recently, we celebrated one of our Faith Milestones by having the first graders lead the congregation in praying The Lord’s Prayer. Here are two reflections on the event, one from a first-grade parent, and one from a Catechesis volunteer:
A Mother’s Reflections
As we watch our children grow, we tend to measure by certain milestones. Can they sit up? Do they know their ABC’s? Our faith-based milestones are just as important. On Sunday, March 5, our first graders were charged with one of their first milestones, saying the Lord’s Prayer.
The first graders, in their Sunday best, stood in front of the congregation to recite the Lord’s Prayer. Perhaps for some, this was their first outward statement of faith, and for others another stepping stone to a greater relationship with Christ.
As a child in the church, sometimes you don’t see the big picture: people at Mt. Bethel support and love you. However, by standing in front, leading hundreds in the Lord’s Prayer, our children got to experience your love.
After the service, many people came up to tell my daughter, Sarah Grace, what a wonderful job she had done. This experience and the positive reinforcement they receive let our children know that they are appreciated and an important part of our community.
By Carrie Pruitt, Mt. Bethel member
Carrie is the mother of three daughters: Mary, Elizabeth, and Sarah Grace, ages 10, 9, and 7, and the Director of Mt. Bethel’s summer VBS. Join Carrie in working with the children this summer June 5-8 by registering here.
Celebrating Our Commitment to the Children
“Our Father, who art in heaven…” The prayer we pray each Sunday during church. It’s automatic, we hear the words “Our Father”… and we go into auto pilot! We know the prayer by heart, but for our children, it becomes so much more. When I returned to our Catechesis atrium after the first graders led us in the Lord’s Prayer, we talked about what the prayer means. Our lesson was the prayer broken down line by line. We talked about the meaning of each line.
“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…” Some of their thoughts included: God is really big, He’s really important, God is amazing.
“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” God is the King and this is His kingdom, God’s kingdom is here and in heaven, I’m part of His kingdom!
We talked about forgiveness and what it means to forgive like Jesus and how thankful we are that Jesus forgives us. They said that daily bread wasn’t all about bread but meant that God would give them what they needed, that God would take care of them. As we ended the lesson, I asked the children when they might pray the prayer, and one child responded with whenever she didn’t know what to say to Jesus. Another child said he would pray the prayer when he was lonely or scared.
As adults, we sometime forget to take the time to think about the words of the Lord’s Prayer. Seeing the children stand in front of the church and recite the prayer was a reminder to me how important this prayer is. It’s also a reminder of the commitment that we made to these children, to help them grow in their faith. I look forward to celebrating more of these faith milestones with the children.
By Bess Murray, Mt. Bethel member
Bess is the mother of Kaylor, 11, a paralegal, and a Level 2 Catechist. To learn more about Mt. Bethel’s catechesis program, visit Sundays for Children.