The words of prayer
Thanks to the Gospels, we know that the words of the Lord’s Prayer are the most accurate to address God. This is the exemplary prayer that Jesus himself gave to his disciples. Many prayers enrich the prayer of the Christian. They come from texts of the Old or New Testament, psalms, etc. They help establish a regular relationship with God and Jesus.
When we pray with children, we discover very quickly that they like to address Jesus because He gradually becomes their friend. They find more personal words. Invite them to note these words, to decorate the page that will collect their prayer.
Man does not pray only with words but also with his whole body. Each of his attitudes makes sense. They translate feelings.
Standing up expresses respect and attention: the body is ready to acclaim, to honor, to welcome.
Tipping the head or bust marks adoration.
To prostrate oneself (head against the ground) is an attitude of respect often found in the Bible.
Sitting is the favorable attitude to listening.
Kneeling manifests a desire for penance.
Closing the eyes allows one to isolate oneself from others, to enter one’s own way in meditation, in interiorization.
The environment promotes meditation. However, it is not necessary to go to an oratory or a chapel to pray. The important thing is to create a break between the activity that precedes and the moment of prayer. We do not only dialogue with family or group; we will go to God and welcome him.
There is no good or bad time to pray. The important thing is to get children to understand that prayer makes it possible to welcome God and to realize that the Lord speaks at all times of our life. This learning takes time and requires regularity. Rather than deciding on a specific moment for prayer, it is better to consider the realities of children. If they are excited, it is not the prayer that will calm them! If the climate is tense (fatigue, worries …), it is better to engage in a conversation that will relax the atmosphere.
As a team, sometimes the prayer will open the meeting. Sometimes she will conclude it. However, not all children are ready to experience an encounter with Jesus Christ. If some are too agitated, leave them free but ask them not to interfere with others’ prayers (by moving away or leaving the room). They will feel understood in their difficulties to remain silent and this will give them the opportunity to calm down or to associate the next time.