Thursday, August 1, 2013

Teaching / Introducing "A Child's Prayer" for Singing Time

I'm so excited to start teaching "A Child's Prayer" next week. I love this song, both the words and the music, but I'm also energized because I know how much the children enjoyed singing "Love is Spoken Here" together (also a duet song), when I taught it for Father's Day.

My basic outline is as follows:
1. Attention Grabber Intro
2. Guess the Song game
3. Follow bullet points #2 and #3 from the primary 2013 Sharing Time outline

Share a story
I will likely use a story from the scriptures or a personal experience for Senior Primary (to be updated to this post) but for Junior Primary, I wrote a little story to help the children think about the meaning of this song, using the lines of the song, from Janice Kapp Perry's lyrics.

Samuel's Prayer by Esther from
Samuel had a bad day at school. While he was eating lunch, he spilled his drink all over his new shoes, and he felt sticky for the rest of the day. He also argued with his best friend. It made him feel lonely.

When he went home, he still felt sad. He remembered what his mom had taught him about talking to his Father in Heaven. She had taught him, "Don't ever forget that you are a Child of a God, and that he loves you. You can pray to your Father in Heaven any time. He is there for you whenever you want to speak to him. He will comfort you and he will answer your prayers."

Samuel thought about all the things that his mom had taught him, and how he was feeling sad, so he knelt down by his bed and said a prayer. He didn't know if it would really make him feel better, though, so he knelt down, and thought carefully before speaking.

"Heavenly Father," he prayed, "are you really there? And do you hear and answer EVERY child's prayer?" 

Samuel's father had taught him that when he prayers, he is talking to his Father in Heaven, not AT him. So, he paused during his prayer to stop and think about what he had just asked his Father in Heaven, and about how he felt about the question. He realized that he felt warm and happy inside. He thought about how, even though he couldn't see his Father in Heaven, he could see his Father's love in all the things the Lord had created for him. He knew that he wasn't alone, and that the warm feeling he felt was the Lord's love close around him as he knelt and prayed.

Samuel ended his prayer thoughtfully.  He said, "I remember now something that Jesus told disciples long ago. 'Suffer the children to come to me. Father, in prayer I'm coming now to thee.' "

(I am thinking about making a giant sized homemade book or illustrating it on a poster board or on the chalkboard, or attaching images to sticks beforehand. Either way, I want the story to be short and simple so that we can focus on the music, which is why I didn't expand this story further, as was tempting to do.)

Post-story questions / Guess the song

1. What do we learn from this story? (Our Heavenly Father loves us and we can pray to him anytime.)
2. Can anyone guess what song this might be?
3. This song is by Janice Kapp Perry. She wrote other well known songs like, "The Church of Jesus Christ," "I Love to See the Temple," "I'm Trying to be Like Jesus," and "As a Child of God."
4. I will have Sister xx VERY SLOWLY start playing the melody of the song. Raise your hand if you recognize it. Don't blurt it out!

5. All right, I'm going to sing this song and I want you to sing it with me if you know the words. Teachers, it's on page xx. I'll follow bullet #2 below for Junior Primary and make it harder for Senior Primary by asking them to listen for the rhyming words.

I'll continue through a modified version of some of the bullet points below, and when I get to the last line of the song, move to #6, here:
6. Can someone tell me when did Jesus tell disciples to "Suffer the children to come to me?" or what that means? (Answer in Primary 2: CTR A lesson manual: Display picture 2-35, Christ and the Children, and show the Bible. Explain that the story you are going to tell is found in the Bible. Tell the story found in Mark 10:13–16Explain that the disciples were afraid that the children would interrupt and disturb Jesus while he was teaching. But the Savior wanted the children to come near him. Read aloud what Jesus said from Mark 10:14 (starting with Suffer the little children). Explain that in this scripture suffer means to allow or let. Reread Jesus’ words, substituting the word let for suffer and leaving out the word to: “Let the little children come unto me.”) (I will add - This song is not just about Samuel. It's about every child, and how you can remember that just like how the savior wanted the children to come to him when he was on earth, our Heavenly Father wants you to to pray to him and talk to him.)

The 2013 Outline for Sharing Time suggestion for how to teach this song (I am using bullet #2 and bullet #3)
To help the children learn “A Child’s Prayer” (CS, 12–13), consider the following:
• Ask the children to imagine being away from their family for a long time and finally coming home; they open the door and are surrounded with comfort and love. Explain that praying is like opening a door to Heavenly Father; He is really there to comfort and love us, and He wants to hear and answer every child’s prayer. 
• Ask the children to listen for the words “there”and “prayer” as you sing the first two lines of “A Child’s Prayer.” Have the children touch their ears when they hear the words. Invite them to sing those lines with you. Continue with the rest of the song, having the children listen for the rhyming words in each line.
• Sing the second verse a phrase at a time, and ask the children to repeat each phrase when you point to them. Then divide the children into two groups and ask one group to sing the first part of each phrase (for example, “Pray”) and the other group to finish the phrase (“he is there”). Invite all of the children to stand to sing, “Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of heaven.”