Arts and crafts at the Trinity Mardi Gras celebration

3 Ways Into Sunday’s Stories for Children: Spiritual Practice Together

First Sunday of Lent

The season of Lent began this week on Ash Wednesday. In the recent past, Protestants have been more intentionally observing the season and reflective practices of fasting, giving, and prayer. Though this might seem counterintuitive to try with children, there is ample evidence and experience that spending some intentional time, daily or weekly, as a family on inward and outward-facing spiritual practice can be as meaningful and formative as a family vacation, or any time together in which you share a focus or activity.  

In Children’s Time this Sunday at 10am, families will have a chance to create tangible items that can help family members of all ages engage together in ways to be close to God and one another during Lent. In this week’s email, we will include some of the instructions for these things in case you can’t attend on Sunday or if you want to try these at home with your own materials.

These practices include fasting/taking on and giving, but we are leaning into prayer most of all, as it seems to be something that a lot of people feel they have to learn. We have purchased copies of a lovely new children’s book, written by our friend Roger Hutchison, entitled Sparrow’s Prayer. It’s a story about Sparrow, who is having a hard time finding the words to pray. Sparrow’s friends demonstrate how they pray in other ways, without words. We will have a copy for each family to take home when they come to the workshop, and in Children’s Time throughout Lent, while supplies last.

Print, fold, read, and color the story booklet.

A cartoon line drawing of Jesus being tempted in the desert

1. Sing and Dance

Create a playlist of songs that feel like a prayer. Choose a week in Lent to spend some time as a family singing, dancing, moving, walking, and stretching — moving your body. Allow the Holy Spirit to be present with you and move through you. 

2. Play and Pray

Play the video 40, which tells the story of Jesus in the desert for 40 days and nights.  

Pray: Ever-present God, we know you are with us everywhere we go, even in the wilderness. Guide us as we prepare to learn more about Jesus, and as we practice how to better share your love. Amen.

3. Create

  • Make an ACTS prayer prompt fortune teller.
  • Print this Lenten calendar. Each day, choose one lenten practice for your family to try. Put a sticker on or mark the spaces after you have completed that day’s practice. Feel free to continue that practice throughout Lent and ongoing. (There are 46 days in Lent, but we don’t include Sundays, as they are “little Easters.” It’s up to you if you want to take a break from your lenten practices on Sundays or not.)
  • Make a Paschal candle. Cover or hide it until the Easter Vigil or Easter morning. Then, light it every day or all Sundays during the 50 days of Eastertide.
  • Choose from these weekly practices for Lent or make up your own as a family.

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