Rebekah - posted on 06/07/2011 ( 3 moms have responded )
- Praying Bible People
How can we be sure that when we pray, God cares and actually listens to us? The examples of many people in the Bible are strong indicators that God has listened in the past and therefore will listen to us today.
Invite the kids to take part in a small research project to discover who some of these people are and what they prayed. Each Sunday ask a different student to be ready the following week to tell or read about a Bible person who prayed effectively.
Prayer will become more meaningful as the children respond with the Scripture readings and reports they choose. This project can also help make the lessons more interesting and memorable as the young people share responsibility for making them successful.
The following are references for some of the notable prayers recorded in the Bible:
Gen. 18:22-33 - Abraham prays for Sodom to be spared
2 Sam. 7:18-29 - David prays when denied privilege to build the temple
1 Kings 3:5-14 - Solomon asks God for wisdom
1 Kings 8:22-30 - Solomon dedicates the temple
Dan. 9:15-19 - Daniel prays for the captive Jews
Hab. 3:11-19 - Habakkuk prays for deliverance
Mat. 6:9-13 - The Lord's Prayer
John 17:1-26 - Christ's intercessory prayer
Eph. 3:14-21 - Paul's prayer for the Ephesians
A litany is a responsive prayer in which one person makes supplication before God or praises Him for something and he rest of the group responds in agreement. Psalm 136 is an example of a litany. The phrase "for His mercy endureth forever" is the group's response.
Your class can write worshipful litanies in response to a variety of questions, such as "What do you like best about our church?" or "how does God help you day by day?" Each question comes a theme for a litany, with each student giving an answer to the question and the rest of the class responding with a common phrase.
Let the class choose a theme (praise, thanksgiving, or requests, etc.) and give suggestions for the things they want to say. Choose a response which contains the major idea of your theme, such as "We give You thanks, O Lord," or "We as you to help us, O God" or "Lord of all, we praise your name".
When the litany is completed, let a different child read each of the theme sentences to which the group responds together.
Student 1: We are glad that it is now warm enough for us to play outside after school.
Group: Thank You, Jesus.
Student 2: We are thankful for our friends and the fun we can have together.
Group: Thank You, Jesus.
Student 3: We are very grateful for our homes and for our families who love us so much.
Group: Thank You, Jesus.
Student 4: O Lord, we are glad You love us all the time.
Group: Thank You, Jesus.
Lessons from various scriptural examples can show the children in your class that biblical people have prayed in a number of situations. The boys and girls need to understand, however, that prayer is not just something that these people relied upon once in awhile in the face of troubled times; prayer for most of these people was a natural part of their lifestyles.
To help your students share this perspective, challenge the boys and girls in your class to spend time during the week pretending to be the Apostle Paul.
Duplicate the Scripture references and "thought questions" worksheet (see below) for the students to use. Through the study of these Scripture references the children will learn about Paul's prayer life. Tell the children to go into a quiet room at home with their Bible, a pencil and the study sheet. as they read the Word and write down their thoughts, the children should try to think of songs of comfort and peace or of praise and thanksgiving that Paul might have sung if he had known them. At the close of their worship time, the students may write a short prayer expressing their thoughts and feelings to God.
The following week, encourage the boys and girls to share their written thoughts with the rest of the class.
Apostle Paul Worksheet
Use the following scripture references to read about the apostle Paul:
Acts 16:25-40 Paul and Silas sing in jail, then earthquake hits
Acts 17:16-31 Paul speaks before philosophers in Athens
Acts 27:13-44 Paul is shipwrecked after a severe storm
Now think about these questions and write down some of your thoughts:
A. What would make you want to sing if you were chained and in prison?
B. What kinds "prisons" are there for us? (We can be imprisoned by bad attitudes, alcohol, broken homes, etc.)
C. How can God help us escape these prisons?
D. How can you witness about your faith in God, like Paul did in Athens? What would you say?
E. Are there times when the "storms of life" frighten you? How can you know that God will keep you safe?
Praying God's Word
Have the kids choose a scripture promise. Direct them to read the verse aloud and then to pray it back to God in their own words.
Read: "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with Mine eye." Psalm 32:8
Pray: "Lord, You promise to teach me which direction I should go, now and in the future. Thank You for guiding me. Amen."
Other scripture promise references:
1 Corinthians 10:13
Mount a large piece of paper on a wall. Discuss with the children what kinds of pictures they could draw together which would show all the times and places they can pray. After each child has decided what to draw, give out crayons/pencils/markers/whatever and let the students draw. When the mural is completed, give them a chance to describe what they have drawn, then end the session with prayer.
A Prayer Pledge
For a junior class that shows a tendency to have difficulty quieting down, a prayer pledge may be helpful. The pledge can serve to help create an atmosphere of respect and to prepare the class for prayer time.
You may allow the students to create a pledge of their own, or use the one below:
"I will try to the best of my ability to keep an attitude of reverence at all times during prayer; to bow my head, to close my eyes, and to listen attentively when others are praying."
Aspects of Prayer
Lead your students into real communion with God by helping them learn to express their needs and thoughts to Him. Teach them that because God is interested in everything about our lives - whether we are concerned about a situation or we are joyful or we simply want to praise Him - we can pray in ways that show these different aspects.
Real communion with God will take place as the children understand the many facets of prayer. These can be bst understood with the help of the following acronym:
A - adoration
C - confession
T - thanksgiving
S - supplication
Plan a 5-week study of this concept with your students. Write out the words on the chalkboard each class session, but focus on one term each week. Begin by explaining the word to your students.
Our word "adore" actually comes from the Latin verb that means "to pray". Adoration is worshipping God with awe and admiration. It is showing our love to Him.
The term "fess up" is one which your students may heard or even used. When we confess something to God, we are admitting our wrongdoing or a poor attitude. We not only confess our sin when we ask Jesus to be our Savior, but we also need to come before God and ask His forgiveness when we make wrong choices.
Giving thanks is perhaps the easiest element of prayer for children, especially younger ones, to understand. What boys and girls should realize, however, is that we need to give thanks for everything. Even when we have unhappy feelings we should thank God for His understanding of our feelings. This serves to focus our attention away from ourselves and onto His love for us.
Supplication is a big word, as is petition, but they both mean the same thing: to make a request before God. Children can ask God for many things, such as help with a problem at school, or for peace in the midst of family troubles. Emphasize to your students that God keeps our best interests at heart when He answers our prayers.
After explaining the aspect of prayer on which you are focusing for the day, divide the class into groups. Using the Bible and perhaps a hymnbook, ask the students to find as many verses and phrases as they can which illustrate the element of prayer. Have the children write these expressions down.
Family Prayer Book
Need: notebook; dividers; paper; things to decorate with
Have the kids put in 5 dividers into their notebook for chapters - have the kids think of their own or use these: "Morning"; "Bedtime"; "Table"; "Holidays"; "Requests". Then put sheets of paper behind each tab.
Have the kids decorate the front of the notebook.
Now they have a prayer book for use with family devotion time.
Bible Prayer Search-and-Draw
Who prayed for what in the Bible: Use this picture charade game to see if your older students can quickly identify the person and the place or time associated with several biblical prayers.
Luke 23:33-34 (Jesus on the cross)
Acts 9:1-9 (Saul on the Damascus Road)
Jonah 1:11-2:1 (Jonah thrown overboard and swallowed by the whale)
Acts 7:54-60 (Stephen while he was being stoned)
Exodus 32:30-35 (Moses after Aaron made the golden calf)
1 Samual 1:9-17 (Hannah praying in the tabernacle)
acts 16:25-31 (Paul and Silas in jail)
Daniel 6:7-13 (Daniel defying the king's orders)
Luke 22:39-46 (Jesus in the garden before His death)
1 Kings 18:30-38 (Elijah before the prophets of Baal)
Have kids pick out a prayer partner in class, exchange phone numbers, addresses, and e-mail addresses. Require them to contact their prayer partner a certain number of times each week to pray for one another's requests.
Rx for Prayer
As a reminder for your students to pray daily, let them make "prescriptions" for prayer that they may take wherever they go.
Cut apart a sheet of poster board to make enough 3" x 5" rectangles for each student, or use index cards. Tell the children in your class to write "Rx For Prayer" as the tops of their cards. Beneath the title they should make seven vertical sections and write down at the top of each the seven days of the week (S, M, T, W, R, F, S). At the very bottom they will write, "Take one capsule every day".
For the "medicine", cut slips of paper about 1" x 2" long and have the students write a Scripture verse and prayer thought on each. Instruct the children to roll a piece of tape so that it can stick to both the card and the "prescriptions". Then the students should roll up the slips of paper and press them onto the card capsules. The "prescriptions" can be pulled off and read at any time.
Suggestions of scriptures and prayer thoughts:
1. 1 Samuel 12:23; Lord help me to pray for others.
2. Psalm 61:1-2; God hears my prayers when I'm troubled.
3. 2 chronicles 7:14; Teach me to seek you humbly.
4. John 14:13-14; God promises to always answer me.
5. Luke 11:11-13; God always provides for my needs.
6. Proverbs 3:6; Help me to know You and Your leading.
7. Psalm 102:17; Thank You God for hearing my prayer.