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Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

July 21, 2009

Prayer Experience: Away with Sin

Provide teens with a piece of drawing paper and some colored markers. Tell them to take your cues and write their responses to the following in graffiti-style on the paper. Tell them they will not have to share what they write, but that they should do this exercise in the spirit of prayer. Read each of the following cues, pausing between each to allow for writing.

Prayer Cues
  • Write the first name of someone from elementary school you once teased.
  • Write a word or symbol to describe an argument you had with a parent.
  • Write a word or symbol to describe a lie you once told or that was told to you.
  • Write a word or symbol to remind you of an act of vandalism you once committed or was committed against you.
  • Write a word or symbol to remind you of a time you once listened to gossip or told a rumor about someone else.
  • Write three practical steps you can take to put an end to one area of sinfulness in your life.

Ask the participants to close their books and put their pencils down. When it is silent, read from Paul's Letter to the Colossians:

Away then with sinful, earthly things; deaden the evil desires lurking within you; have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires; don't worship the good things of life, for that is idolatry. Now is the time to cast off and throw away all those rotten garments of anger, hatred, cursing, and dirty language. Don't tell lies to each other; it was your old life with all its wickedness that did that sort of thing; now it is dead and gone. You are living a brand new kind of life that is continually learning more and more of what is right, and trying constantly to be more and more like Christ who created this new life within you. Since you have been chosen by God who has given you this new kind of life, and because of his deep love and concern for you, you should practice tenderhearted mercy and kindness to others. don't worry about making a good impression on them but be ready to suffer quietly and patiently. Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you so you must forgive others. Most of all, let love guide your life. Let the peace of heart which comes from Christ be always present in your hearts and lives, for this is your responsibility and privilege as members of his body. —Colossians 3:5, 8-10, 12-15
Ask the teens to stand, take both hands of another person, and look the person in the eyes as they say the Confiteor from Mass. With your prompting, they should be able to join in:

I confess to almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary, ever Virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray to me to the Lord our God.

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