Lesson Title: Praying your Experiences


 Grade Level or Age Group: I have used this approach with grade 8-12 students. All of them responded well to it.doves
Lesson Objectives: The students will be invited to draw upon their personnal experiences to enter into prayer.

Materials Needed: Blank sheets of white paper.


1. Tell the story: tell the story "The Prince and the Precious Gem". If you absolutely cannot do otherwise, read it - but the storyteller in me shudders at the thought!
2. Briefly explain to the students that, for God, we are "precious stones". We can give God anything that happens in our life, even things that cause ugly scars in us. What we give to God in trust, God makes even better than it was before.
3. Read the scripture passages provided here or others that you find more appropriate.
 4. Invite the students to think of one thing that they would like to entrust to God, one feeling they have, or one event that happened to them, or one hope they have.

A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you...
Ezechiel 11: 19-20

"Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."
Matthew 7: 7-8

"...you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you... Fear not, for I am with you..."
Isaiah 43:4-5

5. Ask the students to draw a symbol that represents what they chose to give. Tell them their drawing does not have to be fancy or very good and that no one will see it unless they wish to show it. I usually draw something on the board as an example to illustrate that even total lack of artistic talent is acceptable in this activity! Ask them to be very quiet while they are drawing to give a chance to others to reflect. Specify that they will only have a few minutes to do this - some students would get restless if it took too much time.
6. While they are drawing, play a bit of gentle music.
7. Turn off the music, dim the lights if possible, and ask the students to close their eyes. Lead them into the following meditation:

 "Close your eyes and become aware of the gentle sound of your breathing. Breathe in slowly......and slowly breathe out......You begin to focus on the sounds outside and inside the classroom ........leave them behind as you you imagine yourself coming to a door.... Open the door.... The door leads into a beautiful field.......Walk through that field slowly........Notice all the little sounds and the louder sounds....Notice all the colors you are aware of.......in the distance, you see a large tree.......you walk towards that tree...you notice that sitting under the tree is Jesus...he looks at you and smiles....When you are ready, walk towards Jesus.... In your hand, you have the drawing you just did...... If you want to, show it to Jesus...... explain to him why you drew it..... Jesus speaks to you... What does he say.... Do you want to say something else to Jesus?.... When you are ready, become aware of returning to the door...... Open it and you are aware once more of the sounds of this room. Breathe in slowly.....Slowly breathe out.......As soon as you feel the time is right, open your eyes and begin to draw and then write your vision of God, in silence."
        (At this point, some instrumental music may be suitable or you may feel that silence is best)

I borrowed this meditation from another web site but the link I had to it is now dead. If you can supply me with a new link to it, please let me know.

8. Ask the students to write what they said to Jesus and what Jesus said to them. They can do this on the same sheet they used for the drawing.
9. Invite the students to share. They may, if they wish, show the drawing, read out what they wrote, explain how they felt during the meditation. Anything they wish to share. They can share only one thing also - that encourages others to open up. Let them know before the sharing starts, that they may also "pass" if they wish.

The Prince and the Precious Gem

        There once was a prince who had a very precious gem. This prized possession brought him much joy and he would proudly show it to all the visitors that came to his kingdom.
        One day, quite by accident, the gem was damaged. To the prince's dismay, it was deeply scratched. The prince hurriedly summoned all of the jewellers in the kingdom in the hope that one of them could repair it. They all refused to touch it. The damage, they said, was much too severe and any attempt to tamper with it could only result in further harm.
        The prince had reluctantly accepted the verdict of the experts and was deeply saddened by his great loss. One day, however, he heard rumours that a new jeweller had come to his kingdom from a distant land. This gem cutter had a reputation for being not only very skilled, but very wise as well. This news revived the prince's hope of recovering his precious possession. He immediately sent for the wise gem cutter.
        When the craftsman saw the scarred gem, he fell silent for several minutes then turned to the prince who was waiting impatiently for a response. Finally, the wise man said: "Yes, I can give beauty back to this gem, but on one condition. You must entrust it to me, let me take it out of your castle. Such work requires quiet and solitude."
        The prince was taken aback by this request. Even in its condition, the stone was still very precious to him and he did not want to risk loosing it forever. He hesitated for a long time all the while gazing into the eyes of the old man who stood before him. Finally he handed the gem over to the jeweller who took it and, without saying another word, left the castle.
        Three days later, when the anxious prince heard that the jeweller had returned, he rushed to meet him in the hall of audiences. The jeweller held out his hands, slowly removed the silk cloth that he had wrapped around the stone and gave the stone to the prince. The prince looked at it and was astonished at what he saw. The scar was still there, but it was no longer ugly. The gem cutter had left it there and made of it the stem of a beautiful carved rose. The prince's gem was now more wonderful to behold than it had ever been.

(This is my own rendition of a story found in Bernard Bro's Faut-il encore pratiquer?)

Related: Lesson Plans - Prayer

©Gilles Côté, 2001 If you use this lesson plan, please acknowledge your source.