social spark Aisling Beatha: Lords Prayer School Assembly


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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Lords Prayer School Assembly

This is my day ten post for the "31 days of blogging in October" challenge.  I am blogging 31 days of Children's Ministry.  To find links to all the other days (as they get posted) go to DAY 1.

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This is the assembly I am doing in local primary schools for the month of October.  It is based on the Lords Prayer because in our town this week there is a 24/7 prayer space that is focussing on praying for the schools.  The version of the Lords prayer I use here is actually a mix of The Message and the Contemporary English Version, but it gave a version I thought was most accessible to the children I speak to.

Good morning Children.
Hands up if you've ever heard of something called The Lords Prayer.  Hands up if you think you know how it goes.  Hands up if you think it goes like something like this: "Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name"
Well, that is one way of saying it, but what I have here is a different way of saying it, in easier to understand words.  You see Prayer is how Christians talk to God.  Now listen carefully:

Our Father 
In heaven 
Help us to honour your name. 
Set the world right, 
So that everyone on earth 
Will obey you 
As you are obeyed in heaven. 
Give us our food for today 
Forgive us for doing wrong   
As we forgive others  
Keep us safe from ourselves   
And from evil  
You’re in charge 
You can do anything you want 
You’re ablaze in beauty  
Yes yes yes

Just before this prayer appears in the bible, Jesus’ friends had asked Him to teach them how to pray.  You see, even people who have been Christians for years and years have a hard time praying sometimes.  Even peope who had Jesus right there with them, had to ask him to teach them to pray so it's OK for us to need some help sometimes.

I want you to imagine you go to a country far far away where people speak another language.  You don't speak their language and no one there speaks English.
Now imagine it's past dinner time, you haven't had any breakfast or lunch and you're hungry.  How might you get what you want for dinner? (allow time for responses and hopefully give the following responses but prompt them if not) 
That's right, you could try pointing.  But in some countries pointing is very rude and you could get into trouble.  What about miming or acting out the fact that you're hungry and want some food?
But imagine it wasn't dinner you needed but the toilet.  Miming that could get very rude and get you into lots of trouble.  So you see, if you really want to communicate with someone you need to speak the same language.

And people think prayer is like that  they think they need a whole different way of talking.  Or maybe they see it a bit like a code.  I want you to listen really carefully now.
Tap out S – O – S in Morse code (3 quick, pause, 3 long, pause, 3 quick)
What did I just say? (give opportunity for response, if there's time you could also ask what the three letters mean)
There are people all over the world, who speak many different languages who understand those 3 letters of morse code and people are using it all the time to get help in difficult situations.  I know we have modern technology now that helps us out of tricky situations, like our mobile phones that we can call for help on, but what if I accidentally got locked in a room with no mobile signal?  It's a big building and there's no one in the rooms near me and shouting for help isn't working.  What I could do is find a pipe that goes to the rest of the building and start tapping out SOS on it.  Noise travels well along pipes so someone might hear the noise and realise that someone needs help and come and find me.
But what if you didn’t know Morse code?  You wouldn’t know what all that tapping meant and I might be stuck there forever.

If you want to communicate with Morse code you would have to learn it.  You would have to know what mix of short and long signals make up each letter and that takes a long time to learn.
And people think prayer is like a new language or a code, where if you say the exact mix of right things God will give you whatever you want.

Use Sign Language to say I love you   (BSL not ASL, index finger to middle finger, arms across chest, point to audience)
What did I just say?  (give opportunity for response then talk about why sign language is used and some of the different versions)

People often think that in order to communicate with God they need to learn a whole new language, that need to talk in flouncy words (give an example of a flouncy wordy prayer).  But communicating with God can be as easy as talking to our friends.
We can pray in our minds so no one else can hear or we can pray out loud and either way we can use simple easy words, just like I would if I was talking to my friends (give an example of an easy comfy prayer)

Now lets think about the Lords prayer that I read at the start again.  I want to teach you some actions to go with it that I hope will help your understand the words even further.

Our Father hands joined
In heaven point to the sky
help us to honour your name. heads bowed as if before the queen
Set the world right, release hands and make a gesture of invitation
so that everyone on earth all stamp feet for ‘earth’ 
will obey you a salute
as you are obeyed in heaven. Salute and then point to heaven
Give us our food for today hands out ready to receive
Forgive us for doing wrong  hands clasped together in front of the body and then released
As we forgive others  turn and shake hands with the people either side
Keep us safe from ourselves  hands together in front of the face, shielding away temptation 
And from evil  one hand up as a stop sign
You’re in charge salute again
You can do anything you want stay in the salute
You’re ablaze in beauty  make a circle in front of you  with fingers spread
Yes, yes, yes pump hand as if cheering

Jesus made prayer nice and easy for his disciples.  That's why he taught them the Lords prayer.  He wasn't saying "You have to use these exact words" he was saying, this is a way of praying, these are some of the things you need to include.
He wanted them to tell God how wonderful he is.
He wanted them to Ask for what they needed
He wanted them to Ask for forgiveness for the wrong things they did
And he wanted them to ask for help

Prayer can be simple for us, too!
Now I'm going to finish with my own prayer and I want you to see if I manage to all 4 of those things.

pray and be prepared for them to call you out if you miss something, which I did do yesterday.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this. I am doing a whole school assembly on Monday and have noticed at recent assemblies that children are rushing through the Lord's prayer like it's a race of some kind! I hope and pray this will help them understand that they are talking to God not racing each other. Annie


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