Friday, September 21, 2012

An Interactive Lord's Prayer Lesson

Earlier this fall, I was challenged with coming up with a Bible study for the elementary-aged students who attend St. James' after school program.

I wanted to do something that a) held their attention and b) didn't mean that I was standing in front of them lecturing.

In reality, I wanted a hands-on lesson that would intrigue my own "mexican jumping bean' brain. (Anyone who knows me know that I kinda ping between ideas and things.)

So, with challenge in mind, along with the knowledge the students had been asked to memorize the Lord's Prayer during an earlier lesson, left me searching for a creative idea.

I wanted something that would not only hold the kiddos attention, but also maybe "wow" them.

I guess it was a success, because the kiddos seemed to respond to the idea. In fact this one even told me "Miss Kaylea, you are one of the craziest people at church" as he showed me his bracelet (the blury thing in his hands).

Hum... I'm going to take crazy as "innovative" and stick with that!

So, here's my lesson, along with links to the original idea. Enjoy!

An Interactive Lord's Prayer.
I found an idea I could modify on, originally created by Martha Turman Elberton, of Georgia. View the original source here.

The original idea made a ribbon bookmark. That was cool - but I wasn't sure:
a) how this would work for the multi ages I would have in the lesson time - (kindergarten through fifth grade) and

b) how third through fifth grade boys would react to a "craft" with ribbon. (Ribbon seems girly).

So I decided to modify it - and make bracelets. Wristbands are still popular among my students AND a previous activity with third and fourth graders making prayer bands (a project at Bible Bootcamp) told me that boys would at least make it without complaint. (We used different colors of beads to remind them of ways to pray.)

So here is the activity - with modification. I've edited the original text to match the way our church (United Methodist) recites the Lord's Prayer. The original idea used "debts' instead of 'trespasses".

Lord's Prayer Band

For each person/student:
18 to 20 inches of a thin twine (it needs to be able
to feed through the bead without effort).

One bead of each color: Blue, White, Purple, Green,
Yellow, Red, Orange and Gold.

You'll also want a Bible
(either paper, or on your iPad
- my new way to incorporate technology into my lessons
to interest the older students....not just because I'm a tech geek.

Note: I couldn't find a large bag of gold beads (yes, this was a night before idea), so I bought two different versions of the yellow - light yellow, and dark yellow. Obviously, if you have time to search/order the beads - you can be more specific!

Also, I made the string longer than most needed, because I wanted them to be able to tie knots on either side of beads AND have plenty of room to tie it their wrists. I also knew I needed to make it a "one size fits all" craft, since I would have a variety of "wrist sizes" due to the age differences.

A Helpful Tip: I divided all the supplies into dixie cups, for a way to "presort" the items AND provide a simple way to pass out the supplies to a large number of children. 
Large group = short attention span. Passing out the beads in large bags would have been too confusing and taken WAY too long.  The cups simplified the process. 

I used cups because it was easier for me to use cups for the pre-sorting process, rather than sandwich bags (my original plan) - because I could line the cups up on my desk and quickly drop the beads in each one in an "assembly line" format.

Basic instructions. This lesson is based on Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:1-13. I started by reading the Bible passage and talking about what Jesus was doing at the time (how he used it to teach the disciples how to pray). Then we passed out the cups of twine and beads and walked the students through the different pieces of the prayer, showing them how each bead represented a different portion. 

Added bonus. You could make each knot represent the "Alpha" and "Omega" and talk about how one of the names of Jesus is the "Alpha" and "Omega" or the beginning and the end.
The twine I found just happened to have the texture of something you might find on a fishing boat - so I wove that into the narrative of my lesson. (Jesus used this prayer to help teach the disciples ... former fishermen.... how to pray.)

Note: I typed up the information about how each color related to the prayer on a small, business card sized card, and gave it to each student. In theory, they made it home with this information, so they could explain it - or use it to memorize the prayer.

Explain To The Students
Start by having the students make a knot some distance from one end of the twine. They will use it as a "stopper" for the beads. (In theory, the knots keep the beads together.

*Blue is the color of fathers.
Say, "Our father who art in heaven" as you hold the blue bead.

*White represents holiness.
Say, "Hallowed be Thy name" as you add the white bead to the blue.

*Purple is a majestic color. Say,
"Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done" as you add purple to white.

*Green is the color of the Earth.
Say, "On earth as it is in heaven" as you add green to purple.

*Yellow reminds us of wheat.
Say, "Give us this day our daily bread" as you add yellow to green.

*Red reminds us of Jesus' blood. By trusting in Jesus, we're forgiven.
Say, "And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us"
as you add red to yellow.

*Orange is the color for the darkness of evil and temptation.
Say, "And do not lead us into temptation,
but deliver us from evil" as you add orange to red.

*And gold reminds us of God's heavenly kingdom where he reigns forever.
Say: "For Thine is the kingdom, and the power,
and the glory, forever. Amen." as you add gold to orange.

Finish by adding a second knot (the knots "sandwich" the beads like bread.)

Have the students put the bracelet on,
and look at each bead as you recite the prayer.

The original post had some talking points,
you can use to continue the conversation
with your students, including:
What does God want us to pray about?
What attitude does God want us to have as we pray?
What do we learn about God from this prayer?

I'll be honest, I didn't do the questions
- by the time we got 50+ students through the prayer
as we made the braclets, their attention was spent.

How The "Take Home Card" Looked:
Blue - The Color of Fathers
“Our Father, who art in heaven”

White - Is The Color of Holiness
“Hallowed be Thy Name”

Purple - Is a Majestic Color
“Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done”

Green - Color of the Earth
“On Earth, as it is in heaven”

Yellow - Reminds Us Of Wheat
“Give us this day, our daily bread”

Red - Reminds us of Jesus’ blood
“And forgive us our trespasses, 
as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

Orange - Represents Darkness & Evil
“and lead us not into temptation, but
deliver us from evil.”

Gold - Reminds Us Of God’s heavenly
kingdom where he reigns forever.
“For thine  is the kingdom, 
and the power, and the glory forever, amen.


  1. What do to mean by "blue is the color of fathers"?

  2. I love this idea - we are focusing on prayer in children's church next month - and am anxious to use this idea. THANK YOU!!

  3. I'm using this for our Sunday School tomorrow, and the dixie cup idea forever! Thanks for posting!

  4. Oh, that's a great idea, especially for children! Thus, it will be much more interesting for them to perceive information. When my daughter and I attended yoga classes, we were also given bracelets. But each of them definitely means something. We had bracelets from beads and even the number of beads means something definite. In order to understand this it is necessary to make counting beads bracelet In fact, it's all very interesting! Such bracelets can be made even by myself and worn with an ornament.

  5. I love this, but yes, why is blue the colour of fathers?? thank you!

  6. Blue is color for the male I think.


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