The Our Father is the preeminent prayer for Christians because it is the prayer Jesus gave his disciples. Instead of presenting it as another prayer to memorize, make sure your kids have a sense of its deeper meaning. Here’s how.
This article is adapted from the book 77 Ways to Pray with Your Kids
The Our Father (or Lord’s Prayer) is the preeminent prayer for Christians because it is the prayer Jesus gave his disciples when they asked him to teach them how to pray.
You can open up the meaning and beauty of this prayer for your kids by praying it meditatively, using one of the following approaches:
Pray it with the Catechism. Read a paragraph of the commentary on the Our Father found in the Catechism (2759–2865) before praying the Our Father, eventually working your way through the entire commentary.
Use books and videos. Try another resource for meditating on the Our Father, such as the video meditation provided by Maryknoll or Praying as Jesus Taught Us: Meditations on the Our Father by Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini (Sheed & Ward, 2001) [Amazon]. You can find additional resources below.
Paraphrase the meaning for kids. If you are using the flashcard method of helping young children memorize the Our Father (see Memorizing Prayers), summarize the meaning of each line in kid-friendly language in smaller print on each card.
Try praying the Our Father slowly several times throughout the day. Set an alarm, or agree upon a few times during the day when you will stop whatever you are doing to pray the Our Father . . . slowly . . . without rushing. Pause long enough for a deep, slow breath between each phrase.
Meditation on the Our Father (PhatMass)
A meditation on the Our Father designed for use with groups, by Dorothy Tangredi Gormley, who says: “This meditation has been enthusiastically received in these situations: with catechists and youth ministers as part of a prayer service, and as an opening or closing prayer for classes and meetings of teenagers, adults and parent. In short, it is effective whenever there is a need to reflect on the deep and expansive meaning of the words that Jesus taught us.”
The Lord’s Prayer (Our Father) Explained (Holy Spirit Interactive)
Not kid-friendly, but a good, basic overview that you can break down for kids.
This video includes the Our Father set to music and sacred art, along with text that breaks open the meaning of the words of the prayer. The text will be beyond most kids, but the music and sacred art might be useful for a prayer service.