Are you teaching your kids to do mental prayer? I’ve written about this in the past with a few examples of kids’ meditations. Today I’m sharing with you a meditation for kids about… mental prayer.
You may want to print this out.
1. Read aloud to your children Luke 10:38-42, using your favorite children’s Bible. This is the Gospel from last Sunday, so they should recognize it.
2. Study the painting above. (It’s Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, attributed to Georg Friedrich Stettner). Ask them to identify the people in the painting. Discuss the painting in this manner: “Martha and Mary are both holding something. What do you think those objects are? What does each represent? (Mary is reading the Bible. This represents meditating on Sacred Scripture. Martha is holding a duck, symbolizing being busy with household tasks.) Who are the other people in the picture? What are they doing? How many people appear to have been listening to Jesus? (Only Mary does.) Does Mary look disturbed by what Martha is saying? (No, she looks peaceful.)
3. Discuss: Why do you think the artist filled the foreground of the picture with food? (To show how much work Martha had to do or had been doing.) Do you think Martha was doing something important? (Yes, Jesus and His disciples needed to eat.) What could she have done differently so she could sit and listen to Jesus too? (She could have made a simpler meal.)
4. Remind your children of the Feeding of the 5000. How much food did Jesus need to feed all those people? (5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.) Do you think Martha needed to work all day to cook for Jesus? (Probably not, because He could have fed them miraculously, as He had done before.) Why do you think Martha was working so hard? (She was probably trying to show Jesus how much she loved Him by making Him a great meal.)
5. What is the best way we can show our love for Jesus? (By listening to Him and spending time with Him, as Mary did.) How can we sit at Jesus’ feet today? (Go to Mass, read the Bible, and pray.) Jesus said only one thing was needed? What is this one thing? (Spending time with God.)
6. Lead your children in prayer. Make the sign of the cross, then have your children close their eyes and picture the painting in their minds. This time, they are sitting at Jesus’ feet in Mary’s place. Ask: “Imagine what Jesus would say to you as you sat with Him. What would you say back? Speak to Jesus now in your heart, just as you would speak if you were sitting as His feet.” Sit in silence for a few minutes, with the length of time depending on your children’s ages. Stop before they get too uncomfortable. Then pray this prayer phrase by phrase, and let them repeat it:
“Dear Jesus, I know you are with me, just as you were with Mary and Martha. You visit me in the Eucharist. You love me and watch over me at every moment. Thank you that we can speak to you just as Mary could. Help me always to listen to you. Teach me to pray to you from my heart every day. Never let me get too busy to spend time with you. I love you, Jesus. Be with me always. Amen.”
7. Make sure you set aside time for prayer every day and that your children know you do. Encourage them to spend a few minutes at Jesus’ feet every day. Help them decide whether to do this first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Remind them each day, so that it becomes a habit.
Great points, Connie. Regular family prayer teaches kids “the one thing necessary” as well. Thanks for this!
Absolutely, we should be praying as a family as well. Thanks for commenting.
The many elements in Stettner’s painting help even us adults visualize Lk 10:38ff and reflect upon the various elements in this important gospel passage. I have always, even as a child, found much of the didactic religious art of the Masters and frescoists useful for meditating upon Sacred Scripture and the sacred mysteries. I thankfully grew up in a home and parish community where schmaltzy religious art and holy cards were appreciated despite the snickers they drew from the moderne. Have a great weekend. God bless you and yours!
It was really looking at this painting that made me think of the connection with Feeding the 5000. Art is an underused tool in our age to teach children about prayer and virtue. Peace!
What a great way to teach your children about prayer and about making time for the Lord. I especially liked the part where you mention that parents take time for prayer and make sure their children know and understand that you set aside that time.
Thanks, Ruth Ann. That’s what we try to do around here–change ourselves first and then teach the kids to follow.
Okay Connie…I think the Spirit is forming the next project for you LOL!…Meditations for children…I love it…especially incorporating artwork along with it. I will print this out…thank you.
Theresa, Haha. I’m already working on my next project, which is on another subject. BUT, I am thinking about a book on teaching children mental prayer–if only because I wish there were one for my own kids! Have a great weekend.
Wow, I wish that someone would have sat down and done that with me when I was a child. Children are so hungry and want to learn those types of things. It is wonderful for a parent to teach a child to meditate – I do not think I have ever heard of one that did!
This is an excellent article, Connie. It’s difficult to keep my daughter interested in prayer and I will try your suggestions. We pray as a family but I can tell her mind wanders a lot.
Let me know how it goes.
Pingback: Jesus Speaks/Jesus Will Speak | jesusspeaks