Historic Title

The Linked Parishes of  Pope John XXIII  &  Christ The King

2020-21 Faith Formation Program

Grades 6-8

Session 7 - Pray Without Ceasing

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Do you have a special friend that you want to be with every chance that you can get?   

 

How did you develop this relationship?

Human relationships are fragile.  It takes work, patience, and endurance.   It requires great trust.   But most of all, it requires the ability to communicate, in all its different forms.

 

Think for a moment how you have experienced TRUST, ENDURANCE, and PATIENCE in your most special relationship(s).

 

Can you identify different forms of communication?  Do you always need to speak?

PRAYER

 

At the very heart of our faith experience and growth is the need to develop an intimate relationship with God.  This relationship is rooted in prayer.  Like our close human relationships, it takes work, patience, trust, endurance, and the willingness to spend time, opening our selves up and being attentive to the One who is LOVE itself: God.

Unlike human relationships, God is the one who actually seeks us out first, and who calls us into this relationship.  He knows us better than we know ourselves! 

 

In the sacrament of Baptism, the virtues of faith, hope and charity were imparted to us, and we became a child of God -Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  It is through this divine spark within us that we are invited to continue this faith journey.  Prayer is what enables us in this journey.

Mountain Peak
Hands

Prayer arises from our heart.  It takes on many forms.  While there are definitely places and times that are more “favorable” for prayer, there are no limitations of where and when we can pray.

 

Neither does prayer have to be complicated or long.  Sometimes, even the best conversations use few words.  However, one must be mindful of what these words are.  And then there is just being aware of God’s presence, and reality and just basking in that presence, where no words are needed.  It is a total joy filled experience.

The title of this lesson: “Pray without Ceasing”, comes from a verse in the New Testament- 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

It was written by St Paul, who spread the message of Jesus Christ through out Asia Minor, Greece and into Rome.  His message was abundantly clear: To be ever grateful for what God has done for you; to be one with God in all that you say and do; and to live a holy life, filled with love for one another.   In short, St Paul is asking that your very life be an expression of prayer!

Pray

without

ceasing

1 Thess. 5:17

FORMS OF PRAYER

 

By our baptism, the Holy Spirit leads us to pray in different ways.  Each one of us is unique, and so should be our conversations with God.  Let's take a look at the different types of Prayer in this slideshow.

I am sure that you have often recited ‘THE OUR FATHER or LORD’S PRAYER.  This prayer was actually taught by Jesus to His disciples.  It is often referred to as the most perfect of prayers. 

 

Too often, it is recited without much thought or understanding.  Real prayer requires us to be mindful of what is being said.

Praying

The

LORD'S

PRAYER

Line by Line

OUR FATHER

 

Notice, God is invoked as OUR, not ‘my’  Father.  This simple invocation declares that God is truly the father of all people; He is our creator and redeemer.  It is through Jesus, that the reality of God ‘s love is revealed.

WHO ART IN HEAVEN

Heaven does not refer to just a place, but a state of being.  Where- ever God is Heaven exists.  So, in this declaration we desire to be united with God, not just after our death, but while we are still on Earth.

HALLOWED BE THY NAME

HALLOWED means that God’s very name is  to be absolutely respected  and honored.  God’s very name is sacred.  In scripture the utterance of God’s name, was replaced with the word ‘LORD’ because it was so revered.

THY KINGDOM COME

Heaven does not refer to just a place, but a state of being.  Where- ever God is Heaven exists.  So, in this declaration we desire to be united with God, not just after our death, but while we are still on Earth.

THY WILL BE DONE, ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN

 

We are asking God that we come to know and do what God wants; that we become fully united to God.  It is through prayer that we come to know God’s desires.

GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD

Bread is the basic nourishment that we require.  It is simple.  We are asking God to grant us what we truly need both physically and spiritually.  Through the Word of God and the reception of the Eucharist we are renewed and strengthened.

AND FORGIVE US OUR TRESSPASSES AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESSPASS AGAINST US

 

We must forgive others who have offended, and/or hurt us in some way.  This is hard, because our human nature wants to ‘get even’.  What does Forgiveness really mean?  It DOES NOT mean that we forget.  Forgiveness also does not mean that there is an absence of consequences.  What it DOES mean is that one does not desire or seeks out to harm the offender, but only desires what is GOOD for that person. 

When Jesus spoke about praying for one’s enemies, He meant that we pray for them because they are also God’s children, and they too deserve to be loved.  We must forgive, if we want God to forgive us our wrong doings.  This is not a suggestion.  It is a command!

AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION

This is a plea that God gives us the grace to recognize and refrain from sin.  It is through prayer that we come to know God and His will for us.  And is through prayer that we are able to figure out what is evil and what is of God.

BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL

 

How confusing our world is right now.  God is often disregarded, and those that believe in Him are often mocked.  It is hard to tell what is good or bad.  Evil presents itself as being very alluring, and fun.  If it presented itself as it really is- ugly, destructive, deceitful, hurtful- who would desire it. 

 

We are asking God in this last petition to protect us from the evil one, and to be made free from all the evils that we may encounter now, and in the future. 

While the LORD’S Prayer is considered the most perfect of all prayers, can you think of what is considered to be the GREATEST PRAYER?   There are many beautiful prayers that have been handed down through the centuries.  Your own words are equally special and beautiful.   But what IS the GREATEST PRAYER?  

The Greatest Prayer

Teen Prayer Group

Here's A Hint...

It contains the prayers of Contrition, Adoration, Thanksgiving, Petition, Praise, Intercession, Blessing, and Meditation.  It even contains the LORD’S PRAYER.  During this GREATEST PRAYER Jesus comes to us.  He is truly present in His Word and through His Body and Blood.  It is during the GREATEST PRAYER that we can bask in God’s presence and experience Him in His reality- Contemplative prayer.   

Red Cross

Sooooo, the answer is?  

                       Of course, the MASS!!

Sunset Views

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

 

God invites us each and every day to join Him, to experience Him.  He is there waiting for us.  Prayer is the method by which we come to know God.  The excuse of not having time, not being in the ‘right’ place or that it is boring doesn’t cut it.  Indifference is the greatest destroyer of relationships and that includes spiritual ones.  

 

God is everywhere.  Once you open your heart to God, the way you view and do things changes.  Prayer not only transforms the world around you, it transforms YOU!   YOU are an important part of the world, and what you do and say, and how you do things and say things certainly impacts the world.

 

One of the most important personal prayers that you can do is to simply ask God to show you what he wants from you; to help you become a better person, and to offer yourself to God each and every day, becoming His faithful servant.   Does that mean that you will be on your knees all day long?  Absolutely, NOT!  It means that as you go about your daily tasks at home, school, sports practice, etc. you are mindful of God, allowing Him to transform you.  This same transformation enabled the Apostles to go out and preach the Good News about Jesus.  And it was through their words, and deeds that the world was transformed.  You are being called to do the same, one step at a time!

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