The other day, I wrote about leading children in reflective prayer or meditation. People often ask just what this “looks like.” I thought it would be helpful to share an example.
The following guided reflection is from Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts, Grade 5 (Loyola Press):
Called to Holiness
Time: approximately 10 minutes
We all have imagination. Imagination allows us to go places and to do things that might otherwise be impossible. Today we are going to use imagination to help us pray. (Pause.)
Now before we begin, find a position that feels most comfortable to you. (Pause.) If you like, close your eyes. (Pause.) Now relax your entire body—your neck . . . your shoulders . . . your arms . . . your legs. (Pause.) Feel all the tension flowing out of your body, into the air and away.
(Pause.) Now be very still and listen to the rhythm of your breathing. Listen. (Pause.) Feel your breath go in and out, in and out, in and out. (Pause.) Now let’s begin. (Pause.)
In your imagination see yourself in a place where you’d like to be. Maybe it’s a place where you’ve met Jesus before, maybe it’s a different one. You choose, because anything is possible in imagination. Why not make it your favorite time of year? (Pause.) Make the weather suit you today. (Pause.) Be there in your imagination. Wait for Jesus to join you. (Pause.)
He does almost right away. As he comes in sight, you go to meet him. He’s obviously glad to see you. Hear him tell you how glad he is to be with you again. (Pause.) As usual, he asks you what you were just doing. Sometimes your answer to that question would be, “Not much.” But today it’s different. He asks if you’ve been thinking about a verse from the Bible: “For I, the LORD, am your God; and you shall make and keep yourselves holy because I am holy.”*
Now that’s not your usual line of thought. But there’s something in this verse that puzzles you. You don’t have trouble with the idea of God being holy. But the idea of you being holy, of making and keeping yourself holy, well that needs a little more explanation.
Perhaps Jesus asks you to think of qualities that you would use to describe God—maybe qualities such as loving, forgiving, patient, understanding, generous, and so on. Let’s call these “God qualities.” Then he asks you to think of someone you know who has some God qualities. Who is it? Tell Jesus about this person. (Pause.)
Jesus, a great storyteller himself, might ask you to share a story about this person. It may take some time to choose just one story, but that’s OK. Take the time to remember and then share your story with Jesus. (Pause.)
Jesus explains that God is all-holy. He tells you that you are holy when you act in a God-like manner. When you live your life with generosity, understanding, patience, then you are holy. Yes, you! You are holy.
What an awesome statement. Now think about that. (Pause.) Do you tell Jesus that being holy is what you want, but you’re a little bit worried about being able to live up to that calling? (Pause.)
As usual, Jesus is reassuring. He wants you to know that you don’t become holy all at once. You grow in holiness. You’ll make mistakes but that’s OK. You can always learn from them and try again. He reminds you that the Holy Spirit is always with you to guide you. Jesus says that he himself will help you anytime you need him. (Pause.)
Does that make you feel better? (Pause.) Go with Jesus now deep down into your heart. You’ve discussed a lot with him already, so now just rest in his love. Words are no longer needed. Be still together. Know how much he cares for you. (Pause.)
You recognize that it’s time to go now. If you want a special blessing from Jesus, just ask for it. Remember to thank him, and then say good-bye. (Pause.)
Gradually bring yourself back to the room. (Pause.) Straighten up. (Pause.) Stretch. (Pause.) Plant your feet firmly on the floor. (Pause.) Look all around you. (Pause.) Everyone’s here. We’re all back.
* Scripture citation in this reflection is Leviticus 11:44