mrs. neal's not-so-conventional MEDITATION [CLASS] for TEENS...

...the book and the recorded meditation


Give us this day our daily bread.

– Jesus, in Matthew 6:11


This is one of my favorite Mommy Lectures to teachthe importance of Spiritual Health.

I frequently mention the power of prayer in class. I do believe strongly in the power of prayer. I begin each day in meditative prayer; without it, I cannot do what I do.


A student once commented to me, “So, how are we supposed to pray? I’ve never learned how to do that.”

I smiled.


From that one comment from that one student, a whole class on prayer evolved.

His question was an easy one to answer; Jesus, the Christ, had supplied the answer.

I pulled out my Bible, which I just happened to have with me that evening — and, of course, it was a “coincidence” that I happened to have it with me.

A favorite reading adventure of mine is reading the Gospels; I am particularly fond of Luke. I opened my Bible to Luke 11:1-4 and read to the class:

1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

3 Give us day by day our daily bread.

4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

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While there were several students who recognized this as The Lord’s Prayer, it made me more than a little sad that quite a few students didn’t know what it was. How sad that so many young people don’t know how to pray — they either never have been taught, or they never have been exposed to any practice of faith.

The next question was expected, “Do we have to memorize all that to pray right?”

Again, I smiled.

“No,” I answered. “This is how we are taught to pray; this is the format Jesus gave to us for prayer. You just follow this format and speak to God from your heart.

Think of God as the PERFECT parent, and when you speak to Him, trust that He loves you — no matter what.”

— ♦ —

There are variations of this prayer, depending on the version of the Bible you use and whether you refer to Luke’s or Matthew’s version; but the format is the same.

For example, Matthew’s version in some Bibles includes the doxology, “For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

I then shared Matthew, Chapter 6:1-13, as it goes into a deeper explanation of prayer and how to pray.

I have included verses 1-4 here because they explain the importance of keeping what you do to yourself, and not performing for others. The verses refer to charitable giving (alms) — this can be food, money, or other donations given to needy people — and express that we are not to put our giving of alms on display for the world to see.

Prayer, as well, should be personal, private — not something you do to show off in front of others.

1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

— ♦ —

Break It Down...

Let’s discuss this format for prayer — line-by-lineusing The Lord’s Prayer:

“Our Father which art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”

As in any conversation, you first address the Father. Call on Him and praise His name. Confirm that His name is above all others; that it is holy.

“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”

Let Him know you want His kingdom — His rulership — to come to pass, and you want His will to be the same here on earth as it is in heaven — that you want life here on earth to be as wonderful as it is in heaven.

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

Ask Him for what it is you want, or need from Him — your daily bread. Bread can represent so many things — nutritional sustenance, food for the soul, or even money…

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

Forgiveness is a biggie (and one, I admit, I struggle with on a daily basis). We ask for His forgiveness, which we receive by grace and through His love; however, just as we receive forgiveness, we are expected to forgive those who have caused us harm. As we forgive, so are we forgiven.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:”

Ask for His guidance and protection from the temptation to do something we know is wrong, for help in staying on our path, and for His protection from the evil one — Satan.

“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. “

This phrase is the doxology, or “praise phrase,” that appears in Mark’s version of this scripture. Recognize God’s supreme power, and give praise to Him, now and forever.


Customarily, this is considered the closing to a prayer,. It is a word that signifies agreement or confirmation, and is used in worship by all three of the Abrahamic faiths (Jews, Christians, and Muslims).

— ♦ —

Sum It Up...

The point is, prayer does not have to be complicated or formal, nor does it have to have a lot of big words or be said with intensity. Prayer should be a sincere and heart-felt conversation with our Father, God.

Following the format Jesus the Christ gave us, we speak from our hearts directly to the heart of God.

A prayer can be as simple as, “Dear Lord, please help me.” He hears our prayers, and He always answers them. Learn to watch and listen for the answer. It can be something as simple as someone crossing your path at just the moment you need them.

As a Christian, I have faith — I believe my prayers always will be answered. The answer may not be what I want — or what I expect — but it is always the right answer.

I always close my prayers — because I believe what I read in the Bible — with the words, “In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

— ♦ —

YOU Decide Who Wins!

I mentioned in class one night that the best way to fight the darkness is to shine a light on it — or to turn on the light. One of the boys in class said, “Mrs. Neal, you need to make sure you include that in your book.”

This seems like a good place to mention it! Prayer and being positive just seem to go together.

Rather than dwelling on the negative — or bad, or evil — try to focus on the positive and good things in your life.

Count your blessings (I say that a lot, too). Always.

And pray. Always.

Not to get too preachy here, but when you choose to stay focused on the negative things in your life, evil wins. Satan is after your soul and will use whatever means he can to win it.


I encourage students to try to see the bright side of any situation — or at least a brighter side — and not focus on the dark.

Recognize that we all have challenges in life — but we also have been given a gift or two. Spend a little time in quiet meditative prayer, and find your gift.

— ♦ —



Pray. Have a personal and heart-felt conversation with God...




Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices  but honestly and courageously
uses his intelligence.

– Albert Einstein, physicist