The teacher in our RS class got the lessons mixed up, and we got this lesson this week instead of next week. What a great lesson! The lesson was supposed to be one of those split-into-groups type lessons (which I hate), but our teacher didn't go that route this time. Instead she mentioned the journalism questions answered by the text ("who, what, when, where, why, & how") in regards to prayer. She took lots of ideas from the students and also took us phrase by phrase through the Lord's prayer as our pattern of prayer.
She especially emphasized the word sincere as part of the manual's definition of prayer: "a sincere, heartfelt talk with our Heavenly Father". Our teacher is interested in the origin of words, and said that the word sincere literally meant "without wax". Apparently back in the day, less important writing was done on parchment with wax coating on the top in which you etched your letters. Something written "without wax" was usually etched in stone because it was considered to be very important. So if we are communicating sincerely with our Father, it should be about things of significance.
I think our teacher had planned to really emphasize the Lord's prayer as a pattern for prayer, but one of the women in class asked if the answer was at least as important as the prayer, how do we model that seeking for answers to our children -- we pray differently during our personal prayers than our family prayers. She wanted to know how to teach her children to seek for answers when they pray. The answers she got were so good!
- Ask children what to pray for first (sick friends, test coming up, other concerns); if nothing, then get them to name 3 things they are thankful for
- Follow up the next day by asking if any prayers were answered
- Talk about the answers you receive to your prayers
- Pray to recognize the answers to prayer
- Teach children answers don't always come immediately, but He does answer
- Talk about how to listen for answers after you pray
- Pray for forgiveness
- Be grateful
- Be humble
I was so interested in journalism type approach that I did FHE with the same thing Monday night. It turned out great, and you can read about The Prayer Reporters.