|Praying Hands. by Albrecht Durer.
BACKGROUND NOTES (& OTHER NEAT INFO).
HEART OF THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT.
The Lord’s Prayer sits at the heart of this key piece of Jesus’s teachings. The prayer itself has a circular and
interlacing (or chiastic) structure that reinforces its own key elements: harmony with God, with the earth and with the all
The Lord’s Prayer in fact turns on the interlocking lines at its centre about forgiveness. Note this has the rhetorical
effect of placing as high a premium on mutual forgiveness as on essentials of everyday life, like bread, and on respect for
JUST WHAT IS PRAYER ANYWAY?
Luke’s intro to the Lord’s Prayer at 4:1 shows this is a valid question: “one of His disciples said to Him,
“Lord teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples” (NKJV).
The Canadian Oxford Dictionary defines prayer as “a solemn request or thanksgiving to God...” But that definition
is rather, well, solemn.
Canadian writer and teacher Jean Vanier has a wonderfully delicate one in the book based on his 1998 Massey Lectures, called
Becoming Human. On page 32, he writes: “Prayer is resting in the quiet, gentle presence of God.”
DIFFERENT KINDS OF PRAYERS.
Here’s a great example of how prayers don’t need words. A sample song from BC musician Bruce Harding’s CD
of this year, Let everything that breathes, is called ‘Earth Prayer.’ Here’s the link to an mp3 file for
A local artist/clergyman, Glen Soderholm of the Campbellville area, released in 2006 a nice disc of prayerful worship resources.
One song in this CD that cribs a bit of the Lord's Prayer is, "Forgive our sins as we forgive." It's a lovely song for setting
a thoughtful, prayerful mood for adults. I'm still thinking about if it could be adapted for children.... The Cd had original
material, plus several very nice arrangement of classic hymns. For samples of some other songs on Glen's CD, go to his website:
UPTEMPO FOR KIDS.
In looking for an arrangement of the Lord's Prayer that has a nice easy tune for kids and stays true to the test to help them
memorize, I stumbled across this site: www.familyworship.org. I like the tune here, and the site has a pdf posted with the sheet music including guitar chords. Samples of other music
on the "Teach us to pray" CD for kids have lots of potential. Here's the link to Family Worship's "Lord's Prayer.".
MORE PRAYER IN LITERATURE...
And how about this from Canadian fiction writer Rudy Wiebe from his 1973 GG award winning novel, The Temptations
of Big Bear. The final paragraphs in this story set during the 2nd Riel rebellion concern the last thoughts and actions
of aged, once-powerful prairie native chief, Big Bear, as he resolved “to finish the long prayer to The Only One that
was his life...”
HYMN OF HARMONY.
Another Canadian writer and scholar, Northrop Frye, accords high status to the Lord’s Prayer in the incredible closing
lines on the transformative power of human imagination in his book from 1991, The Double Vision:
“Some recent writers have been deeply impressed by the conception in Chinese culture of a harmony between two similar
worlds, usually translated as “heaven” and “earth,” which is the goal of all genuinely human aspiration.
We should perhaps not overlook the fact that what seems like the same kind of harmony is prominently featured in the Lord’s
We’ve all seen Albrecht Dürer’s iconic drawing, ‘Praying Hands.’ That image has imprinted itself
on the Western mind since 1508. Take fresh look at Durer's Praying Hands now.
EXCELLENT RADIO PROGRAM
More awesome audio from our friends at WGBH Radio, Boston,on the "Sound & Spirit" Program, have an hour dedicated to the sounds
of prayer. Very neat. To hear this program online, click here, scroll down to the Ps for the show on "Prayer,' and click "Listen." The Playlist page is very informative as well.
To take us home, here are some nice pictures and music that emphasize the good earth component of the Lord’s Prayer.
If you haven’t seen this slideshow already, enjoy!
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Isn’t it a little old-fashioned for this beloved prayer to start with, ‘Our Father’? Suggest reasons
why this opening continues feel okay to people. [The very familiar, everyday father image is just one of the shifting images
2. Does this prayer evoke a distant God or a close personal one for you? [In original translation, the word for father that
Jesus used to start this prayer was "Abba,” meaning essentially "Daddy.” In its day, this was shocking, intimate,
personal language to use for addressing the almighty God who is king and creator of the universe. In this way Jesus set the
template for us to think of God as a very personal God.]
3. In what story have we seen the image of God-as-father developed powerfully as well? [The Prodigal Son.]
4. Can you think of other examples of God figures? [The parable sequence that includes the prodigal son also features a shepherd
(often a young person) searching for a lost sheep and a woman sweeping diligently for a lost coin. These are God figures as
well. And personally I especially like the image Jesus offers at Matthew 23:37 of the hen with her chicks!]
5. What does ‘hallowed’ mean? [Treat with respect, treat as holy.]
6. What does ‘kingdom’ mean to you in this prayer. Is this kingdom something that probably occurs only in heaven?
7. What on earth do debts and debtors have to do with kids?
8. Have you ever come closer than you wanted to temptation?
9. How about to evil?
10. Have you ever had an experience where a prayer has actually made you feel better?
11. Does a prayer have to be spoken. Do you in particular have to say it?
12. How does the Lord's Prayer make you feel, tense or at peace?
IN REAL TIME WITH THE CHILDREN IN YOUR WORKSHOPS COVER THESE TWO POINTS:
1. REVIEW THE STORY WITH THE CHILDREN. HAVE THEM SUMMARIZE TO DEMONSTRATE TO ALL HOW MUCH MORE THEY REMEMBER FROM PAST WEEKS.
2. EXPLAIN HOW YOUR ACTIVITY CONNECTS TO THE STORY.
Arts -- praying hands wreath
Use the motif of Durer's Praying Hands as a central figure in this take home artwork that will help as a memory aid.
Activity: Make a wreath with text and images from the Lord's Prayer to help children remember this important text from our
Material: enough cardboard or foam to make wreathes to hang on bedroom wall or door. Assorted different colours for extra
images. Print or write our text of Lord's Prayer (older children can do this themselves) for centre of wreath). Yarn and hole
punch for string to hang up.
Cut base ring to about 12 - 18 inches in diameter from outer - outer edge of wreath. (You could also do a larger group ring/wreath
The pairs of praying hands, lightly overlapping so you can see 2, form the leaves or blossoms of the wreath. In different
skin colours would be good. Obviously hand tracings from small children would be awesome. This creates an opportunity for
big kids to visit the classroom of younger children, and for the little ones to give the big kids something the big kids need.
(You can always prep small child hand tracings here, but not nearly as much fun!)
You can write individual lines from the Lord's Prayer right on the hands. Or you could write lines on index card or leaf or
flower shapes and insert, alternating between each pair of hands.
Have the children brainstorm with you other images that jump out at them from this prayer, and how to represent them in cut
out paper or foam shapes. For example, heaven = heart (love), kingdom = crown, father (or God) = how do the kids picture this?!?,
earth = blue ball with green blobs, day = clock face with hands, bread = slice of bread, power = thunderbolt or battery or
sun with rays or plug...!
Glue or tape printout or handwritten prayer to back of wreath so that it peeks through.
Punch hole in top and thread with yarn to hang.
Kitchen = oatmeal bannock
Introduce the activity by reminding the children everyone needs at least bread to keep from being hungry. There are lots of
types of bread -- puffy white bread we use on jam sandwiches is just one type. Can they name others. One type of bread God
provided people with when they were wandering in desert in ancient times was manna, little drops of bread that fell from the
sky overnight. Today they will make a kind of quick bread that the people of Canada's prairies made before they could wander
into a store and buy a loaf. It's called bannock. Here's a recipe.
Activity: Make bannock type flat bread/pancakes in a fry pan.
Ingredients and directions:
1 c. wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. multi-grain oatmeal
1 tbsp. honey
1 1/2 c. milk
Sift flour, baking soda and cream of tartar into medium bowl. Stir in the salt and oatmeal. Stir the eggs, honey and milk
in small bowl until well mixed. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the liquids. Beat until smooth. Grease
the griddle lightly; heat over low to medium heat.
When bubbles form, turn and cook the other side for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve warm with butter and honey or any desired topping
(blackberry syrup, etc.). Makes about 24 (3 inch) bannocks.
Computer - Galilee Flyer, Cal & Marty.
Activities: Use these programs to help memorize the Lord's Prayer.
Programs: Galilee flyer and Cal & Marty, both from sundaysoftware.com
*I just picked up a cheap joystick to see if it would help and oldster, girl type person like me from crashing all the time
into the hill. ON EASY MODE! Well, not really. But it gave a more natural feel to tilting the nose up and down. I spent more
time on the game, and got more control of the plane. And it is a fun way to spend a lot of time with the Lord's Prayer!
Re Cal & Marty -- LP would seem to be a natural fit with this scripture memory program. If you don't have it, use Fall of
Jericho or some other make your own quiz program.
Music -- new song.
We used the classic Lord's Prayer for LP 1. But I like the version from at www.familyworship.org that I mentioned in the notes above. Click the link in this paragraph for the page on the Family Worship site with links
to the mp3, both sung and accompaniment only, and the sheet music pdf.
** Okay, I have just tested this by strumming along to the mp3 and finding the easy chords. It doesn't even sound too bad.
It's a nice, upbeat but not over the top upbeat song. I will look forward to teaching it to the kids.**
Review of Activities from Lord's Prayer 1
Arts -- wooden (ornamental) bread boards. For a picture of the breadboards, go to the Photos
page of this site, and follow the links.
Kitchen -- make bread (i believe this was adapted to jam biscuits).
Music -- teach classic version of sung Lord's Prayer
Computer -- Life of Christ plus other activities.
Lord's Prayer 2 © December 2006, LD McKenzie
All original text © 2004 - 2014, LD McKenzie
For a brief site ed's bio, click here:
Components of these lesson sets may be used for non-profit educational purposes, citing this author and site.