2019 Lenten Retreat – Class 3

General Objective – Examine the story of the healing of Jairus’ daughter to better understand what it means to submit ourselves and to trust Christ with our whole heart through our prayers. Along with this story, the students will also learn the Jesus Prayer and the Lenten Prayer of Mor Ephrem in order to guide them towards a more prayerful, repentful, and Christ-centered journey to the Cross during the Great Lent.

Lesson Objectives

  1. Examine prayer through the healing of the daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:21-43) and how it applies to the students’ lives during their journey through the Great Lent
  2. Discuss, reflect, and apply the idea of repentance through prayer by examining the Jesus Prayer and the Lenten Prayer of Mor Ephrem


The Great Lent is a spiritual journey through which we prepare for the great Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord. During this 50 day journey, our deepest desire is to better understand and experience Christ. Through His Passion, Christ freed us from the oppression of death and opened for us the door to Paradise and eternal life. Through this preparatory period of the Great Lent, we are all called to examine our lives and approach Christ with a heart of repentance in order to participate in His Passion, Death, and Resurrection so that we can also be transformed to proclaim, “I have been crucified with Christ so that it is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Without this preparation, one cannot fully experience His glorious resurrection.

Session 1 (1.5-2.5 hours)

Opening Activity (15-30min)

The Lenten time calls us to journey towards the cross where we are abstaining from the temptations of this world and choosing to unite ourselves with Christ through His Passion, Death, and Resurrection through fasting and prayer. Through our prayer, we are equipping ourselves to fight against the temptations of this world: “Fire makes iron impossible to touch, and likewise frequent prayer renders the intellect more forceful in its warfare against the enemy. That is why the demons strive with all their strength to make us slothful in attentiveness to prayer, for they know that prayer is the intellect’s invincible weapon against them.” (St. John of Karpathos).

Optional Activity: If the teacher chooses to, distribute handouts of this quote by St. John of Karpathos and have the students read along, so that they can further understand the importance of prayer and how it strengthens a person. This is left to the discretion of the teacher.

St. Paul reminds us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The Jesus Prayer is a simple prayer that allows us to draw nearer to God, by acknowledging our sinful nature in order to receive the essential mercy of God in our lives. This prayer is repeated over and over in order to allow our minds to focus on Christ alone.

Activity: Introduce the students to the Jesus Prayer and challenge them to memorize the prayer. Recite the prayer together as a class!

Bonus Activity: Bookmarks

After learning the prayer, you can now create a small bookmark where the students can write the Jesus Prayer and the Lenten Prayer of Mor Ephrem on both sides of the bookmark.

Materials Needed: https://www.education.com/activity/article/bookmark_kindergarten/

Main Lesson

The following activity is suggested to walk the students through the story of the healing of Jairus’ daughter so they can relate to the story through the different characters and situations presented within the story. Feel free to set up your own PowerPoint to aid in learning the lesson.

Read through Mark 5:21-43. Discuss the different characters and what happens throughout the story.

Main Points & Discussion Questions

  • Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came to Christ with a prayer for his daughter who had fallen sick to the point of death. He fell down and begged and prayed that Christ would do everything in His power to heal his daughter (v.23). Although Christ agrees to heal his daughter, on the way there is a large multitude that gathers around Christ. Among this large crowd is a woman who had been infected with a blood disease for 12 years. She is not able to receive an individual/personal interaction with Christ, but rather follows after Him in faith that just touching his cloth will heal her (“You shall walk after the Lord your God”, Deut. 13:4). Seeing her faith, Christ heals the woman. Following this, Jairus comes to find out his daughter, who was just 12 years old, has passed away in that time. How do you think Jairus felt when his prayer and plea before Christ for the healing of his daughter seemed unanswered and ignored? How would you feel if you were in this situation where someone else was given more importance than you?
  • It was clear that Christ had something else in mind, as He came to this earth not to be served, but to serve EVERYONE. Despite hearing his daughter had died, Christ still needed Jairus to believe in Him. After all, He had just healed a woman by her just touching His cloth! How could they not believe in Him?! Why do you think Christ allowed Jairus’ daughter to pass away? Can you think of any other instances in the Bible where waiting led to a greater outcome than what was expected? (i.e. Lazarus! THE RESURRECTION!)
  • It is evident that a key component of prayer is trust. Many people may question God (like in v.35) and cause us to fall away from Him, especially during our lenten time. What causes us to doubt God?
  • Christ says all he wants us to have is some faith (v.36), just like the woman who had the disease did. Have you ever prayed for something and felt like it was never answered? Why do you think God does not answer our prayers right away, or even never?
  • Finally, Christ raises the daughter who had passed away. Receiving Christ into his home with only a small number of people (only Peter, James, and John accompanied Christ) showed that this miracle of resurrection is not for everyone, but rather receiving new life is only for those who earnestly seek and desire it and is only obtainable through our Lord Jesus Christ. Although to everyone else the daughter was dead, to Christ she was only sleeping, indicating that even our own death is not a final end but rather a resting point until our Lord calls us again, affirmed by Christ saying “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26) (**maybe look into liturgical hymn to emphasize this point**).

Conclusion & Reflection (5-10 minutes)

The glorious Resurrection of Our Lord allows us to be joined with Him through the death of our sins on the Cross. Our prayer throughout the Great Lent is to crucify ourselves and our sins so that we too can be resurrected with our Lord (tie this back in with how prayer allows us to re-align our lives back with Christ).

Session 2 (1-1.5 hours)

Opening Activity – Prayer Ropes (15-30 minutes)

Objective – The prayer rope is an Orthodox means of reminding us to constantly, and unceasingly pray to God. It allows us to neglect the temptations around us by focusing our minds on our prayer.

Materials Needed –  https://kidfriendlythingstodo.com/prayer-beads-praying-with-kids-a-sunday-school-craft-kid-friendly-things-to-do-com/

Main Lesson

Jesus Prayer & Lenten Prayer of Mor Ephrem

  • The Lenten Prayer of Mor Ephrem is a prayer that is used throughout the Great Lent to teach us how to approach God in prayer, what to ask for, and how we should think of ourselves. The prayer is said with the different hours of prayers and practiced with prostrations.
  • Go through the prayer with the students and ask them to think about the 3 sections of the prayer:
    • Prayer for removal (“O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk.”)
      • Where are the ideas of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk seen in our lives? Go through and explain what each of these means and see where the students might be struggling with these.
    • Prayer for addition (“But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant.”)
      • Why are these the virtues St. Ephrem calls us to pray for? Can you think of some other things we need to work on?
    • Prayer for ourselves and others (“Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions, and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou, unto ages of ages. Amen.”)
      • Why do you think we need to look at our own transgressions?

Conclusion & Reflection Time

Ask the students to think of ways that they can strengthen their prayer lives throughout the Great Lent (ex. setting prayer times at home, praying together as a family, taking 5 minutes of the day to sit in silence and pray the Jesus prayer, etc.)

Ask the students to think of things they would like to improve on during the Great Lent. For each item they want to improve on, tell them to recite the Jesus prayer afterwards in order to focus their minds on allowing Christ’s mercy and strength to guide them to accomplish the goal.


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