Christian Churches of God

No. CB31

 

 

Lesson on Prayer Part A

Teacherís Guide

(Edition 2.0 20021230-20070123)

This lesson was developed using the paper Teach Us to Pray (No. 111) and should be used in conjunction with the Lesson on Prayer Part B Worksheet (No. CB32).

 

 

Christian Churches of God

PO Box 369, WODEN ACT 2606, AUSTRALIA

E-mail: secretary@ccg.org

 

(Copyright ã 2002, 2007 Leslie and Russell Hilburn, ed. Wade Cox)

This paper may be freely copied and distributed provided it is copied in total with no alterations or deletions. The publisherís name and address and the copyright notice must be included. No charge may be levied on recipients of distributed copies. Brief quotations may be embodied in critical articles and reviews without breaching copyright.

This paper is available from the World Wide Web page:
http://www.logon.org and http://www.ccg.org

 

 

Lesson on Prayer Part A

Teacherís Guide [CB31]

The need for prayer is often difficult for us to understand. We know that God is all-knowing, so why do we need to talk to Him about things that He already knows? And why would we need to ask Him for things, when Scripture tells us He already knows our needs?

The irony lies in the fact that it is only through the actual process of prayer that the answers become clear. When we begin to be consistent with our prayers on a daily basis, and the evidence of our answered prayers becomes clear, we can then begin to understand that prayer is a necessary tool that we can use to communicate with and offer praise to our loving Father, God.

Today we will answer six simple questions about prayer:

Why do we pray?

Whom do we pray to?

How do we prepare for prayer?

Where do we pray?

When do we pray?

What do we pray about?

Note: When going through the answers to each question below, allow time for the children to give their answers. Encourage each child to participate in each question as time allows. Try to jot down their answers if it seems there is an appropriate Scripture to confirm their thoughts. This can always looked up later in the day, and the Scripture shown to the children during their next lesson.

Question 1: Why do we pray?

Ask one of the children to read Psalm 94:11: "ÖHe who teaches man knowledge, the LORD, knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath." (RSV unless otherwise noted.)

In this verse, the Bible tells us that God knows the thoughts of men. So, if He knows our thoughts, why do we need to pray? (Allow time for children to answer.)

A. Glorify God:

Read Isaiah 43:7: "Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him" (KJV). In this Scripture the Bible teaches us that the reason God created us was for His glory. One way we can glorify God is through prayer. We need to pray in order to glorify God and establish a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.

B. Follow the instruction of Christ:

We look to Jesus Christ as our teacher and we want to follow his example. Have one of the children read Matthew 6:7: "And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words" (NKJV). Pay particular attention to the second word. Christ said, when you pray, he did not say if you pray.

Jesus also teaches us that when we pray we ask in his name. Have one of the children read John 14:13-14: "Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it."

Question 2: Whom do we pray to?

(Allow time for the children to answer.)

Ask one of the children to read Mathew 4:10: Then Jesus said to him, "Begone, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'"

Jesus Christ tells us that we are to ONLY worship God the Father. He was quoting from the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 6:13: "You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve him, and swear by his name." Ask one of the children to read that Scripture as well.

Other Scriptures to read which reference God as our object of worship include:

1Corinthians 8:5-6: "For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth--as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"-- yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist."

John 17:3: "And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent."

Question 3: How do we prepare for prayer?

(Allow time for the children to answer.)

A. Ask in faith:

Ask one of the children to read Mark 11:24: "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours" (NIV).

Let the children read James 1:5-8: "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord."

Here, in these two Scriptures, the Bible gives us clear instruction that we are to ask in faith.

Also have someone read Hebrews 11:6: "And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him."

Thus, we see by putting all these Scriptures together that, in order for our prayers to be effective we must have faith and we must believe the following three things:

There is a God in Heaven.

God hears our prayers.

God answers our prayers.

We must also remember that sometimes Godís answer to our prayers isnít what we are looking for, or His timing is different from ours. Sometimes God makes us wait in order to learn patience and overcome sin, or learn certain lessons. Or maybe He has something else in mind for us. We must remember that God will act in the best time for the purpose He has determined, and according to Romans 8:28: "We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose." Prayer is not a matter of forcing God to do the things we ask, but coming to God in absolute faith that what we need will be given to us.

B. Pray with a repentant attitude:

The Bible also teaches us that sin can interfere with our prayers. Read Isaiah 59:1-2: "Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you so that he does not hear."

If we know that we all sin, then we can understand that this Scripture is showing us that we need to talk with God about our sins, say we are sorry, and ask God to help us repent. We do not want our sins to continually separate us from God.

Have one of the children read Proverbs 28:9: "If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination." This shows us how important Godís Law is, and how we need to strive to follow it continually.

Along with this is the instruction in Mark 11:25. Ask one of the children to read this Scripture: "And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any one; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses." If we want God to forgive us of our sins (and we just learned we need Him to), we must forgive other people who have wronged us.

C. Pray with an humble attitude:

We need to humble ourselves before we pray. Read Luke 18:10-14: "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.' But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."

D. Pray with a thankful attitude:

Have one of the children read Philippians 4:6: "Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."

Question 4: Where do we pray?

(Allow time for the children to answer.)

Have one of the children read Matthew 6:5-6: "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you." This shows us that we are to pray in private.

What about praying together with our family, or in Church? Does the Bible give us an example? Read Acts 12:11-12: "And Peter came to himself, and said, ĎNow I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.í When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying."

Here, a group of people were praying together, but like the example given by Christ, they were praying together in the privacy of a home.

Question 5: When do we pray?

(Allow time for the children to answer.)

A. Pray constantly:

Have one of the children read 1Thessalonians 5:17-18: "Öpray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." Some translations say pray without ceasing. This does not mean we must pray all of the time, but rather that we should be in a proper attitude, ready for prayer at all times.

B. Example of Daniel:

Another example in the Bible comes from Daniel. Have one of the children read Daniel 6:10: "When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem; and he got down upon his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously."

Danielís example is a good one for us. If we pray when we get up in the morning, sometime during the day, and at night before we go to bed we have the opportunity to include God in all parts of our day. In the morning, by praying we are showing God that we recognize our need for Him every day and we are able to ask Him to guide us throughout the day. By praying some time during the middle of the day, we remember that God is more important than our physical day-to-day routine. By making time for God we remind ourselves that God is our number-one priority. Finally, by taking the time to pray before we fall asleep, we are able to thank God for each and every day.

Question 6: What do we pray about?

(Allow time for the children to answer.)

Although there is no right or wrong answer for this question, the Bible does give us some guidelines for things to include in our prayers, and things that we should be thinking about when praying.

A. Model prayer:

Have one of the children read Matthew 6:9-13: "Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors; And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil."

For some children who have attended other churches, this prayer may be familiar. They may have memorized it, and repeated it often in large groups. However, we must look at what Jesus Christ was saying. He said "Pray then LIKE this". He did not say to chant the words of this prayer repeatedly in meaningless repetition. This is a model and the structure of this prayer should be the pattern of our prayer.

This prayer includes some of the following elements:

Begin by worshipping God, glorifying Him and focusing on His goodness.

Our prayers must be in harmony with the will of God. We need to include God in our plans from the beginning and not start praying about something as a last resort. This helps remind us that we want to follow Godís will, and not our own.

Pray for our needs, both physical and spiritual. Letís look what Luke teaches us. Have someone read Luke 11:13: "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" We must ask God that His Holy Spirit would work with us. We know that it is only through repentance, baptism, and the laying on of hands that we actually receive Godís Holy Spirit. However, it begins working with us long before baptism, moving us toward God and His way of life.

Pray for forgiveness for our shortcomings. By asking for forgiveness from God we are acknowledging our sin against God. But this forgiveness comes only with a price. We must forgive others, so that we can be forgiven. Have one of the children read Matthew 6:14-15: "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

Pray for Godís protection. Remember that God is our ultimate protector.

B. Other examples of things to pray for:

Pray for the needs of others. Have one of the children read Ephesians 6:18-19: "Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that utterance may be given me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel." Here Paul is giving us instruction to pray for all of the saints, which are defined in Revelation 14:12 as "those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus."

Pray for our leaders. Have one of the children read 1Timothy 2:1-2: "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way."

Pray for our enemies. Have one of the children read Luke 6:28: "bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you. (HNV)"

C. When all else fails:

When we are not sure what to pray for, we are given assistance through the Holy Spirit. Have one of the children read Romans 8:26-27: "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." Godís Spirit will direct us to pray for things according to the will of God.

If we keep in mind the answers to these six questions, which include Why, Whom, How, Where, When, and What, we can begin our journey to a successful life, full of prayer. Always remember that the primary object and purpose of prayer should be to glorify God and to establish a relationship with Him. Prayer is more than just repeating words. It is the establishing of a vital contact between God and the self through Jesus Christ.

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