— Children Thirst for God —
This site, drawn from the Catholic prayer tradition, offers support to those
helping children to pray as they begin their relationship to God.
Heart Prayers for Lent
~ By Lucille Perrotta Castro
When we pray, we “connect” with God;
We become aware of God’s presence within us. One spiritual writer comments that we can think of our own heart as God’s “family room within us.” What a beautiful image of a place where we can just relax with God!
The following prayer starters, based on the weekly Sunday Scripture readings during Lent, are intended to help you guide a child – or yourself- in some heart prayer. The wording can be adapted for children as young as three years of age.
A good time for heart prayer is often the “quiet time” before your child goes to sleep. You might want to read the Scripture first, so that you can tell the Jesus story in your own words. Then, look at the Scripture comment and the prayer starters, close your eyes, invite God into your heart, and be at home – you, your child and God- for a few minutes!
1st Sunday of Lent
Matthew 4, 1-11
The devil tried to tempt Jesus to do something wrong; but even though Jesus was tired and hungry, he did what was right.
Sometimes it’s hard to do what is right and good, isn’t it?
Tell God, or show God in your heart, one time when it was hard for you to do what was right and good. Take your time telling or showing this to God.
Then, tell or show God what made this hard for you. (God already knows this, but it can help you if you show this part of your heart to God.)
Ask Jesus to help you to remember that he’s always with you; and then, when you are ready, picture Jesus with you in that hard time. Notice what Jesus is doing … is Jesus helping you?
Tell Jesus how you felt knowing that He was there with you.
2nd Sunday of Lent
Jesus’ friends were really amazed when they saw surprising events.
Have you ever been amazed. Was there something that took your breath away”?
Tell or show God the parts that amazed you.
When you’re ready, picture Jesus with you in that time or place, enjoying that amazing time. (Give yourself as much time as you need for this.)
Listen as Jesus tells you that He wants to amaze you too.
End your together time with Jesus by telling or showing Jesus how you feel about amazing things now!
Third Sunday of Lent
Jesus tells a woman with whom he is speaking that she should ask for living water.
Did you ever feel tired, or worn out, or really bored, like a plant that is all dried up?
Can you picture a dried up plant; and then can you see someone pouring water on the plant ? Watch carefully as the plant slowly comes back to life.
Could you picture yourself like that dried up plant? Maybe you can tell or show Jesus what it’s like when you feel that way.
Now, can you picture Jesus being with you and pouring water on your inner heart? What happens when Jesus does that? (Take your time picturing what happens in your inner heart when Jesus does this.)
Tell or show Jesus what it’s like for you when He is with you and pours water on your heart.
4th Sunday of Lent
John 4, 5-42
Jesus heals a man who was blind.
Can you imagine what it would be like if you could not see?
Close your eyes really tight, and imagine what it would be like if you could not see anything. Tell Jesus how you feel about that. Maybe you can even show or tell Jesus some of the things you would miss, things you like seeing now.
Just let Jesus know how happy you are that you can see.
If you want to be with God some more, you might think about some people you have trouble seeing in a good way, maybe someone you’ve been angry with, or someone who gives you a hard time. Let Jesus know what’s been hard about being friends with this person.
Then ask Jesus to help you to see better. Just let Jesus touch your “heart” eyes. Stay there with Jesus, and enjoy being with Him.
5th Sunday of Lent
Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead
Do you like seeing flowers begin to bloom? Can you picture a flower growing after a cold winter, pushing through the dark, cold, hard earth and then breaking through the topsoil and being alive for you to see?
Tell Jesus too how it might feel to be alive, feeling the sun shine on you, after a long, cold winter. Are there some times when you felt like your heart is in a cold place because of something that happened in your life? Take the time to tell Jesus about one of these times.
Now see Jesus taking you by the hand and helping you in that hard time. Stay with him and let him know what it is like to know he is with you.
Stations of the Cross
~ Video by Lucille Perrotta Castro
~ Narrated by Annette Raynor
Holy Week is a good time to acquaint children with the death and resurrection of Jesus. Entering Jerusalem, Jesus rides on a donkey, children cheering him on. Children are meant to be there.
The gospel stories about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead and giving the blind man sight are reminders of his power to bring life out of death.
Remember to keep the stories of his death and resurrection together, so as children see his suffering they also see him triumphing over death.
Jesus came to Jerusalem
the week he was to die
riding on a donkey,
riding strong and high.
Children ran to meet him
palms in hand they sing:
Hosanna, Son of David,
Hosanna, to our King.
The week he came another man died, Lazarus was his name. “Come out of your grave,” Jesus cried, and out of his grave he came. Thank you, God of Life; you want me to live, not die.
That week there was another man, a man who could not see. Jesus rubbed his eyes and said, “Believe and you will see.”
And believing, the man could see. Thank you, God of Light, for giving light to me.
Jesus taught in the temple that week, the week he was to die. You’d think he’d be liked for all that he did. But some said, “No!”
“He’s trouble!” they cried. So they wanted him to die.
On Wednesday, one of his friends
(Judas was his name)
went to the leaders and said:
“I know where he goes,
I know where he stays.
he’s yours, if you want him.”
“We want him,”
On Thursday night, Holy Thursday,
Jesus ate with his friends.
Now, you should know, that night was the night God freed his people from Pharaoh,
Jesus gave them Bread and Wine.
He said: “Here is my Body,Here is my Blood,
when you do this it will make you free.
When you do this, Remember me.”
Then, they went into a garden.
After the meal and Jesus knelt and prayed,
“Father, my Father, help me. Help me, I’m afraid.”
Then Judas came, and soldiers too, who put him in chains, and took him alone to Pontius Pilate who sat on a throne.
“He must die!” they cried.
And Pilate, for no reason, replied: “He must be crucified!”
Then they whipped him, and pushed him to a place called Calvary. He fell sometimes, carrying the cross, cut from a heavy tree.
On Friday, (We call it “Good”) Jesus was nailed to hard, hard wood.
Beneath his cross, his mother stood and cried for what they had done. “Oh, if I could hold him,” she said, “Hold my only Son!”
“Father, take me,” Jesus said, “Take me in your hands.” And God reached down and took him, and held his only Son. “I am God who raises up, your life has just begun. I am God of the living, no grave can hold my Son.”
Jesus came to Jerusalem
the week he was to die
riding on a donkey
riding strong and high.
On Easter Sunday
When the week was done
Jesus rose from the dead.
Praise God, Alleluia!
risen is God’s only Son.
Thank you God of light
for giving us light to see.
Thank you God of life
for giving Jesus to me.
The Easter Tree
A wonderful medieval story traces the wood of the cross on which Jesus died, all the way back to the Garden of Paradise where God made grow “every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.(Genesis 2:9)” The great tree of Paradise is the “tree of life.”
Seeds from the tree of life, our story goes, were planted from age to age, until the time of Jesus, when a tree produced from one of its seeds provided wood for his cross. Once again, God offers new life through the cross of Jesus, his Son, and invites the human family to return to Paradise.
The story may help a child understand that, in spite of appearances, the cross of Jesus brings life not death.
This might be a good time to plant a tree somewhere, a tree of life to bring healing to our environment.
In Paradise where life began a wondrous tree grew tall, that stretched its arms to the tiniest bird, and gave God’s gifts to all. And Adam and Eve in the evening shade together sang under the tree. God sang along in their merry song, a song so light and free.
But then one day a serpent came and the beautiful garden grew cold. The tiny birds flew far away and songs were no longer told. The tree was cased in fiercesome ice, and cried to God on high: “O God, let me shelter your creatures again, let them sing in the evening sky.”
So an angel of God took a seed from the tree and gave it to Adam and Eve. “Take this seed from the garden tree, plant it and always believe. A tree one day shall open its arms to tiny birds again, and all the world shall sing for joy; and children shall sing their Amen.”
Before the flood, Noah planted the seed; from its branches he built the ark. He built it so strong all the animals came, to float on the floodmark. And the waters went down And they blessed the tree, For God who showed them a way, And a child took a seed from the saving tree, to plant it another day.
When Jesus was born Mary planted the seed on a hill near Bethlehem. “God’s peace, God’s peace,” the angels sang, “God’s peace is coming again.” On that day a tiny Child crushed the serpent’s head, and earth grew warm in the winter’s cold, around his manger bed.
They looked for a tree when Jesus died and they found it on Bethlehem’s hill. “Alleluia, Alleluia,” everything sang, for he rose from the dead by God’s will. And the Easter tree rejoiced in song, the tiny birds as well. It bore a prize beyond all else, beyond what words could tell. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you by the tree of the cross you have saved our world.
Jesus Loves You
Long ago in Galilee,
Jesus lived in a family of three:
Mary, Joseph, and he was their son.
But no one knew that he was the one…
The one who would go through Galilee,
and touch a blind man who never could see.
His eyes popped open and blinked at the light,
and the mockingbird danced to see such a sight.
And did you know when a little girl died,
that Jesus came right up to her side?
“Get up, get up, little girl,”he said.
“Get up and eat some jelly and bread.”
Children came from far and near,
to climb on his lap and whisper in his ear.
“We know who you are, yes, you’re the one;
We know who you are, You’re God’s good son.”
O Jesus, Jesus, watch over me,
and take good care of my family.
You know who they are,
but I’ll name them all,
some are big,
and some are small.