A. Memorising prayers
As the first activity of the class, the children can continue to memorize the prayer that they started to learn in Lesson 1.
B. Memorizing quotations
It is suggested that you put the explanation below in your own words in order to introduce the quotation for memorization.
We know that God has created every one of us and that He is aware of what we need and what we want. He is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. Why, then, should we pray? God does not need our prayers, but we must pray because it serves to strengthen our souls, for prayer is like food for the soul. Just as we must eat every day so that our bodies do not become weak and sick, we must give nourishment to our souls by turning our hearts and minds to God daily and conversing with the One Who has created us. 'Abdu'l-Baha tells us that prayer brings life to the soul. We are exhorted to pray every morning and every evening, at times of difficulty and at times of great gladness. Of course, we do not only pray for ourselves, but also for our family, our friends, our community, and for all of humanity.
'Abdu'l-Baha assures us that if we pray for something that is in agreement with Divine wisdom, then God will bestow it upon us. But occasionally we unknowingly ask for things that will harm us, and God, in His infinite wisdom, does not grant our wish. No matter how much we may desire something, we are condifent that He will do what is best for us. To help us remember why we pray, let us memorize the following quotation:
“It is the greatest longing of every soul who is attracted to the Kingdom of God to find time to turn with entire devotion to his Beloved, so as to seek His bounty and blessing and immerse himself in the ocean of communion, entreaty and supplication.”
Before the children begin to memorize the quotation, you should help them understand its meaning, by explaining words and phrases that may be new to them. The sentences below will assist you in doing so. The children are, of course, already familiar with the word "attracted" from your discussion of it in the preceding lesson; however, you may wish to review it with them today.
- When Tanya's brother went away to university, she missed him very much. Tanya felt a great longing in her heart to be near her brother again.
- Rodrigo was tired after working many hours in the fields, planting crops. At the end of the day, he longed to rest.
- In order to boil an egg, it must be completely covered with water. To boil the egg, you must immerse it in water.
- After working on the engine of the car, Norman's hands were dirty and greasy. So he filled a bucket of water from the well and put his hands into the water, washing off the dirt and grease. His hands were immersed in the water.
- Beacuse of the difficulties in their own country, all the brothers left their homeland and went to different places around the world to look for work. Many years went by, and they did not see each other or speak to one another. But They remained in communion through their thoughts and prayers, and eventually they were joyfully reunited as old men.
- When we pray, we turn our hearts to God and converse with Him. Prayer is communion with God.
- One of the king's subjects was in great need, so he begged the kind to assist him. The king considered his subject's entreaty and agreed to help.
- The teachers were concerned that the textbooks the children were using were out of date and did not cover the latest discoveries and the most recent information, so they asked the principal to order new ones. The principal listened to their entreaty, and now the children are using up-to-date textbooks.
Sing a few songs with the children, including at least one to reinforce the theme of this lesson on prayer
When the children have finished singing, gather them together to listen to a story that will illustrate for them the importance of praying daily.
This is a story of one of the early Baha'is in the West, Lua Getsinger, and an important lesson she learned about prayer. Lua loved God very much, and she often turned to him in supplication, that she might be enabled to live a life of service. She prayer, too, that her eager and enthusiastic spirit would learn to be patient. Of course, she wanted to learn quickly, without having to wait too long!
Lua knew that 'Abdu'l-Baha wanted her to learn patience. One day, when she was visiting Him in the Holy Land, He helped her to see that there are some things for which we must always make time, no matter how hurried we might feel. Rushing off to breakfast without having said her usual morning prayers, Lua met 'Abdu'l-Baha in the hallway. He looked at her, string deeply into her eyes. And what do you think he said to her? "Lua," He said, "you must never eat material food in the morning until you have had your spiritual food." So it was that Lua learned she must never fail to draw sustenance from God's heavenly bounties, the source of true strength.
This part of the class begins with activities that will help your students develop skills and abilities related to drama.
- As you did in the previous lesson, have the children stand about two meters apart and imagine that they are in their own squares. You may ask them each to walk along the border of his or her square.
- Ask the children to raise their arms and, stretching from the tips of their toes to the tips of their fingers, reach towards the sky. Now, tell them to relax and let their arms and head hang freely. Repeat this exercise three or four times.
- Next, ask your students to stand as tall as they can and raise their arms over their heads, pressing the palms of their hands together. They are candles burning brightly. Explain to them that you will slowly count backwards from ten. As you do so, they should pretend they are melting. By the time you reach zero, they should be like a pool of wax on the ground. The children should remain in that position until you give them the signal to move again.
The above exercises will have helped the children develop their skills of movement and physical expression. They will also need to acquire increasingly effective skills of verbal expression. To assist them, ask them to say the sentence "Good morning"
- as though they were respectfully greeting a teacher
- as though they were excited to see a friend
- as though they had met a friend who was feeling sad
- as though they were trying not to wake a sleeping baby
The second set of activities has to do with the theme of today's lesson: why we pray. Tell the children that they are now going to improvise a situation to show why we need to eat everyday to maintain our physical strength. So too, you should explain, do our souls need to turn to God in prayer to grow and remain strong and healthy.
- Begin by having the children return to their imaginary squares. Ask them to show that they are full of strength by pretending to lift some imaginary objects; by jumping up high to reach something in an imaginary tree; by building an imaginary tower.
- Now, tell the children to pretend they are getting hungry and feeling weak. Ask them to repeat the lifting, jumping and building exercises.
- Then, tell them that they are receiving food and beginning to feel strong again. Ask them to repeat the exercises once more.
Today, ask your students to do a drawing of a child, first weak from hunger and then healthy and full of strength.
Review the quotation from today's lesson, and then remind the children of the qualities of enkindlement and joy, and the quotations they memorized in Grade 1:
"Verily, I supplicate God to enkindle in thy heart the fire of His love." Listen HERE.
"O Son of Man! Rejoice in the gladness of thine heart, that thou mayest be worthy to meet Me and mirror forth My beauty." Listen HERE.
H. Closing Prayers
To close the class, invite one of the students whose behaviour has been especially praiseworthy to recite a prayer or quotation he or she learned last year.