In a previous post, I explained that this fall I worked with the children on understanding and interpreting the Lord's Prayer. The Lord's Prayer, or "Our Father," posed many interesting opportunities to discuss themes that each and ever one of us struggle with. It was a challenge preparing a lesson for children with emotional disturbance dealing with complicated teachings in scripture. It was an exercise in combatting "Christian-ese" and the simple Sunday school answers (you know... when in doubt, just answer "Jesus!").
It was important to give context to the familiar words and phrases I knew the children will undoubtedly encounter when outside the very supportive and nurturing atmosphere of Intermountain and the chaplain's program (sin, evil, forgiveness, etc.). It wouldn't be enough for me to simply edit out or rephrase words from the Lord's Prayer because I knew they might be difficult for them or hard to understand. Instead, we took the time to carefully digest the words of scripture and the prayer in order to make sense of them within the context of having had significant trauma and loss.
Also, I needed the children to "own" this prayer, not simply understand it. So, rather than me being the one to rewrite and interpret the prayer, at the end of each lesson I took the kids' suggestions on what our "Intermountain version" of the Lord's Prayer might look like. Here's what they came up with... I think you'll be blessed.
Intermountain Residential Kids’ “Lord’s Prayer” © 2016
Dear God, you are everywhere.
Your name is holy, true and perfect.
Basically, we want what you want, Lord…
In the cottage*, in our homes, and everywhere in the
whole wide earth.
Give us what we need today: stuff like food, but also
joy, hope, and opportunities to help others.
Help us forgive others even if they keep being mean,
because you forgive us when we’re sorry for what we’ve done.
Lead us away from bad stuff and into good.
Help us to not do bad things and help us be safe.
May things be ‘good enough.’
You made everything, God, and it’s all for you.
You get our best, our happiness and our strength forever.
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The Reverend Chris Haughee is a licensed minister of the Evangelical Covenant Church and has served as chaplain of Intermountain’s residential services since 2012. An adoptive father to two, Chaplain Chris Haughee is an advocate for greater inclusion of foster and adoptive families in the life and ministry of local congregations. A member of Helena’s Elevate Montana group (www.elevatemontana.org), you can follow his ministry at www.intermountainministry.org or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org