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Getting Started

Christian Meditation programs are very easily established:  

It requires willing hearts and a teacher who is engaged,

and wants to start Christian Meditation in the classroom.

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Sample Classroom Door Sign

It is a very simple practice:

 

 

Prepare a sacred gathering space with a candle, bible, flowers, drawings,  ... etc.

This provides a focus

and the students can help to set it up.

Students sit on a chair or cross-legged on the floor with a straight back to help with paying attention.

A circle formation is helpful.

First

Sample Classroom Signs

Then

To lead into the meditation period, the teacher can play a short piece of contemplative music or song as the students gather and prepare themselves for the meditation. 

This can become part of the routine.

 

The WCCM Children's Timer App is designed for this purpose.

A simple opening prayer

would work as well. 

(The WCCM has a convenient timer on their App that teachers of older students will find helpful.)

WCCM Childen's App
A Simple Opening Prayer
How to Meditate

During

A chime is sounded

and students begin to meditate.

They close their eyes gently.

The sacred space is silent.

Students silently say a prayer word to help them focus against distraction.

The recommended prayer word is

"Ma-ra-na-tha",

said in four equal syllables.

It is an ancient Aramaic prayer from the Bible meaning, "Come Lord".

Looks Like, Feels Like,
Sounds Like 
Chart
Sample Timer
This music is available on the WCCM Children's App

Finally

To close the meditation students listen for the chimes and open their eyes.

A familiar piece of music could be played to help students gently come out of their meditation before starting their next activity.

A simple closing prayer

would work as well.

Sample Closing Prayers

How Long?

When the students first meditate,

the meditation period

will be just a minute or two long,

rising over time to between

5 and 10 minutes.

Time length depends upon student age and what classroom time constraints allow.

Teachers will know when their students are ready to extend the meditation.

God blesses all the time we have for prayer.

A twice daily 20 minute to 30 minute meditation period is recommended for adult meditators.

Do what you can.

Keep in Mind

While students meditate,

teachers model

stillness of body and silence

but teachers meditate ... 

"with one eye open".

Teachers must ensure that all students are supervised and safe while they pray.

 

Teachers can let students know that they will be monitoring the class while their eyes are closed. 

This helps students to feel comfortable, support those who may experience difficulty and pre-empt possible distractions.

Teachers must make other arrangements

for their personal meditation periods.

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Guidelines for Teachers

Final Thoughts

Most importantly, and as with all prayer, there is no measurement

or judgment

– the act of praying is enough.

There is no good or bad prayer session.  God blesses our desires.  

 

Like St. Paul, ‘I do the things

I don’t want to do,

and the things I want to do

I don’t  do.’  (Romans 7: 15)

Just do your best ...

God loves us as we are, but loves us too much to leave us that way.

Trust God and just show up as you are.

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Jesus' Teaching on Prayer

The Experience
of Getting Started

Sample Historical Background to Share with Parents

Sample Letter for Parents

Questions Students May Ask:

Can we lie down while we meditate? 

Response: When we lie down, our bodies may feel it is time to rest or sleep.  That is why we sit upright, so that we can stay alert, repeat our prayer word, and pay attention to God’s presence.

 

Why do I have to keep my eyes closed?

Response: Keeping our eyes lightly closed helps us to keep from being distracted by things around us.

 

Why do we have to be so still?

Response: When our bodies are still, it helps our minds to be still too, so that we can pay attention to saying our prayer word.

 

Why do we repeat our prayer word over and over again?

Response: We say our prayer word continuously to keep focused during our time of meditation.

It helps us, as one young person put it, to keep ‘stuff out of our heads’.

 

What does "maranatha" mean?

Response: The word maranatha is from the Aramaic language that Jesus spoke, and it is considered a sacred word.  It means “Come, Lord Jesus”. St. Paul ends his first letter to the Corinthians with this word and it is the last word in St. John’s Book of Revelation.

 

What if someone makes a noise and I have to see what is going on?

Response: There will always be noise of some sort, so you just have to keep your eyes closed even if you are curious to see what is going on.  What is going on will usually just end up being a distraction.

 

What should I do if someone (or something) distracts me?

Response: Keep saying your prayer word; really listen to it inside your heart, and try not to give the distraction any of your attention.

 

What if I cannot help making noises or moving around while we are in the meditation circle?

Response: Try to remember that you are a friend to the others in the circle, and friends help each other.  When we meditate together, it is important that each person be still and quiet, not just for themselves, but for the others too.

Meeting Challenges

With 'one eye open' teachers gently, quietly and lovingly facilitate the prayer and encourage students. They observe students during the meditation so that all students feel safe with their eyes closed.

Do not stop the meditation to attend to issues of restlessness. Wait until afterwards to gently respond to any questions or concerns the student may have and allow them to tell you what would help them maintain the quiet.

Meditation is a discipline and the practice is difficult initially.   

Some students might initially need some specific modification.  Place students who have difficulty settling into meditation near good role models, or change where they meditate (e.g., sit on a chair instead of on the floor). 

Remind students to return to the mantra if they are feeling distracted. This strategy will also benefit the students who are sitting quietly, but are not really engaging in the process.

If a student is unable to participate due to behavioural or other needs, and chooses to remove themself from the meditation, let the student leave the meditation space.  Provide time and encouragement for the student to join in when ready to meditate.