Level 6, Chapter 3: "Prayer Hidden Treasure" Lesson Introduction

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1 Level 6, Chapter 3: "Prayer Hidden Treasure" Lesson Introduction Duration: 1 ½ hours Primary Aim: Prayer, nourishment for our faith life. LET US PRAY PRAY ALWAYS PRAYERS SPIRITUAL LIFE Prayer is required by First Commandment because God loves us God desires us first and listens to all of our prayers There are many types and ways we can pray We can learn to pray even when it is difficult We should not be discouraged, but keep trying God answers all prayers according to his will not ours The Church is in a constant state of prayer every day and every hour by means of the Liturgy of the Hours The Rosary is a beautiful meditative prayer focused on the life of Jesus and Mary The spiritual life is a life long journey of coming to know Jesus and leads us to thinking and acting in good and holy ways The more we strive to know Jesus and Church teachings, the more God will help us Materials: Bibles, evaluations, pencils, a 4-5 ft. length of rope or cord for each youth, two sets of prayer relay cards, rosaries, Music Issue, Prayer handout. Key Words (Vocabulary): Lesson Plan Prayer: the raising of the mind and heart to God; talking with God. Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours): the prayer of the Church using Psalms, hymns, and readings; parts of it may be prayed at different times of the day. 1. Opening Prayer and Scripture (6:30-6:35 PM) Opening Prayer: Heavenly Father, We thank and praise you for your presence in our lives and the gift of our Catholic Faith. We ask your forgiveness for those times when we are not appreciative of all the many gifts you have given us. We ask your assistance in keeping our minds and hearts focused on you throughout the day. Help us to improve our prayer life and continue to teach us how to pray. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. Catholic Prayer: "Our Father" (with emphasis on " thy will be done...") Scripture Reading: John 10:7-15 Faith and Life Series, Lesson Plan Guide 1

2 2. Activities (6:35-7:00 PM) a. Activity 1 (Icebreaker) (6:35-6:45) "Prayer Relay" (courtesy of Karen Laubaucher): Make two sets of prayer relay cards with a few words of prayer on large strips of paper. Mix them up. Have two teams compete to put them back in order as quickly as possible. Have the two same teams race to the board. Each student adds one word at a time to complete a prayer first. Start first with "The Glory Be" for a trial run. b. Activity 2 (6:45-7:00) "Rope Handcuff": The Rope Handcuff exercise will require 4-5 foot lengths of thin cord or rope (not string). A bowline loop that will be slightly larger than a fisted hand is tied on each of the two ends. (It is best to have these already made before class.) Each youth will given one of these ropes. The youth are assigned a partner. For each pairing, Youth 1 slips a loop of their own rope over their left wrist and the other loop of their own rope over their right wrist. Youth 2 slips a loop of their own rope over just one of their wrists at first. The free loop of Youth 2's rope is then slipped over the rope of Youth 1 and then slipped over Youth 2's other wrist. (Each person will be looped to their own rope but will be entwined with a partner) The objective is for the youths to free themselves from their partner without taking their hands out of their respective loops. Do not give the solution unless asked. If asked take the pair that asked aside and give them the solution as secretly as possible. Tell them not to volunteer the solution to others, but if asked they can provide the solution. The intent of the exercise is to make the point that at as we grow beyond childhood we tend not to ask for help. If we do, a solution if often provided. (The youngest children are many times the most successful in this activity because they are usually the quickest to ask for help.) This is analogous to our prayer life. When we need help, we need to turn to God in prayer. Solution: The solution is to slip the middle of Youth 1's rope inside the loop on one of Youth 2's hands and then over Youth 2's same hand without taking any hands out of their respective loops. 3. "Let Us Pray" (7:00-7:10 PM) Why is prayer included in the First Commandment? Prayer is our conversation with God. Imagine if we said we loved and obeyed our parents, but never took time to listen to them, talk with them, or even tell them we love them. Prayer is important and necessary for us to grow in love with God. Prayer is the lifting up of our hearts and minds to God. It is not just talking to God, but talking with God. We share what is in our hearts and on our minds---all things big and little. We also listen to God in the silence of our hearts. He guides us to do his will by prompting our hearts and minds with peace, joy, and rightness. Faith and Life Series, Lesson Plan Guide 2

3 There are two kinds of prayer: vocal and mental. Vocal prayers have set words that we read or memorize, like the Our Father or Hail Mary. A special prayer of the Church is called the Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours (a prayer of praise and petition using the Psalms and readings from Scripture and writings of the saints). Another prayer especially recommended by the Church is the Rosary. Mental prayer is all that we share with God---it is individual and personal. We remain silent. We may share many things we think about. We may pray about what is happening in our lives, and we may think about God and love him. Since prayer is a way to worship God, it includes things necessary for due worship: Adoration (to be in awe of God and to praise and bless him for who he is). Contrition (to have sorrow for sin and ask for God's mercy and forgiveness). Thanksgiving (to thank God for his many gifts). Supplication (to ask for what we need and for the needs of others). Have the youth identify examples of adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, and supplication as you slowly re-read tonight's opening prayer. 4. "Prayer Always" (7:10-7:20 PM) How can we pray always? Is this realistic? How can we remain in God's presence throughout the day? Everything should remind us of him and his love for us. Our encounters with other people should lead us closer to him. Our hearts and thoughts should never be apart from God. Even when we are working, studying, or playing; we can be in union with God. Often when we try to pray, we become distracted. We must try not to give in to these distractions. Some things we can do are: Use a prayerful posture (kneel to pray, fold our hands; sit if we are praying for a long time). Be in a prayerful place (a church, a prayer station or altar in a room, close your eyes and use your imagination to help you to be with God). Use both vocal and mental prayers. Switch to vocal prayers to guide our meditation when we cannot think of what to pray; they help us stay focused. Have a prayer book/bible/some form of spiritual reading to help stay focused or direct our thoughts. Look at a holy image. Use your senses: Bless yourself with holy water (reminder of our baptismal promises). Hold a crucifix and trace your finger over the wounds of Christ. Smell incense. Light a candle. Listen to spiritual music. God always hears our prayers. Faith and Life Series, Lesson Plan Guide 3

4 We can pray anywhere. As Catholics, we have a special gift to be able to pray before Jesus truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. 5. "Spiritual Life" (7:20-7:30 PM) A life of prayer is sometimes called the spiritual life or the devout life. Our spiritual life is the sum of all we do to achieve eternal salvation with God in heaven and includes: A lifetime of learning about God. Prayer. Receiving the sacraments. Doing good works. Living the moral life. The spiritual life is a way of growing; and the more we grow in prayer, the more joy, peace, and confidence we will have!!! A life of prayer makes us fully alive. The more we strive to be holy, the more God will help us to become holy. In the Catholic Church, we have the fullness of the means of salvation---many gifts and ways to help us to become truly holy: Creed and correct teaching through the Church. God's revelation. Faith and Life Series, Lesson Plan Guide 4

5 6. Evaluation (7:30-7:40 PM) Fill in the blank answer key 1) Prayer is the lifting of our hearts and minds to God. 2) The two kinds of prayer are vocal and mental. 3) During prayer, we do all the talking and God does the listening. True or False, we also listen to God in the silence of our hearts. 4) An example of mental prayer is the "Our Father". True or False, the "Our Father" is an example of vocal prayer. 5) God's God always hears our prayers and gives us what we ask for. True or False, God always hears our prayers but gives us what is best for us, not necessarily what we ask for. 6) Our spiritual life is the sum of all we do to achieve eternal salvation with God in heaven and includes which of the following? a. A lifetime of learning about God. b. Prayer. c. Receiving the sacraments. d. Doing good works. e. Living the moral life. 7) The spiritual life is a way of growing; and the more we grow in prayer, the more joy, peace, and confidence we will have!!! Write one or more petitions to pray during our Intercessory Prayers. For We pray to the Lord. Conclusion: prayer in the Church (7:40-8:00 pm) Intercessory Prayers Divine Mercy Chaplet or Rosary Divine Praises Faith and Life Series, Lesson Plan Guide 5

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