Jesus teaches us how to pray.

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1 Jesus Teaches the Disciples About Prayer Jesus Teaches the Disciples About Prayer Lesson 11 Bible Point Jesus teaches us how to pray. Bible Verse Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7). Growing Closer to Jesus Students will n discover how Jesus taught his followers to pray, n experience a new way to pray, and n write a prayer to read at home. Teacher Enrichment Bible Basis n Jesus teaches the disciples about prayer. Matthew 6:5-15 In today s passage, Jesus is teaching his disciples about prayer. Before actually instructing them about how to pray, he gives them some examples of how not to pray. It is clear from Jesus words that prayer is not to be a show. When Jesus spoke about others babbling like pagans when they pray, he was likely referring to a practice in which people would pray to every god they could think of, hoping to hit the right one. Or he may have been talking about people going on and on, repeating the same phrases and hoping to gain the attention and favor of the gods. What we read in Matthew 6:9-13 is often called the Lord s Prayer. However, it might be more properly referred to as the Disciples Prayer because it s the sample Jesus gave to the disciples. This prayer is also found in Luke 11:2-4, and there Jesus gave this prayer to the disciples in response to their request that he teach them how to pray (see Luke 11:1). Possibly the least-understood portion of this prayer is near the very beginning. Many translations say something like, Hallowed be your name. The New Living Translation helps us understand the phrase a bit better by giving the translation, may your name be honored. In reality, there s a tremendous depth of meaning here. In a sense, when we pray this prayer, we re saying, God, help me understand your holiness better and give you all the honor you deserve. And that s saying a lot! Other Scriptures used in this lesson are Psalms 95:1-7; 100; Jeremiah 33:8; and Matthew 6:5-13; 7:7-11. Prayer Read Matthew 7:7. What difference has prayer made in your life? Pray: God, I thank you that we can come to you in prayer. Please be with the children in my class, especially 121

2 Lesson 11 Before the Lesson n Collect the necessary items for the activities you plan to use, referring to the Classroom Supplies and Learning Lab Supplies listed on the chart. n Make photocopies of the Hands-On Fun at Home handout (at the end of this lesson) to send home with your students. n Pray for your students and for God s direction as you teach the lesson. This Lesson at a Glance Attention Grabber Bible Exploration & Application What Students Will Do Classroom Supplies Learning Lab Supplies Chitchat Discover that talking to God can be as easy as talking to friends. Painful Prayer Listen to someone pray the way Jesus said not to, and find Jesus example of prayer in Matthew 6:5-13. Bibles, CD player Focus on God Play a game, and talk about focusing on God in prayer. Read Matthew 7:7, and sing the key Bible verse song. ACTS of Prayer Learn a new way to pray using Scripture from Psalms 95:1-7; 100; Jeremiah 33:8; and Matthew 7:7-11. Bibles, Keep On (Matthew 7:7) lyrics (p. 154), CD player Bibles, ACTS of Prayer (p. 129), scissors, pencils Closing A Letter to God Write letters to God that they will read to him in prayer at home; then read Jesus example of prayer together. Bibles, paper, pencils, CD player 122

3 Welcome Jesus Teaches the Disciples About Prayer As kids arrive, ask them about ways they put last week s lesson into action. Ask questions such as How did you pass God s love to others? and If you did the Fun at Home page, what was it like to write special things about a family member or friend? Tell the kids that whenever you sound the hand groan tube, they are to stop talking, raise their hands, and focus on you. Explain that it s important to respond to this signal quickly so the class can do as many fun activities as possible. Make your class a safe zone for kids with special needs and learning disabilities. Avoid calling on students to read or pray aloud if they find it embarrassing. Attention Grabber n Chitchat SUPPLIES: none Have kids form pairs and sit facing their partners. Say: Tell your partner one funny thing that happened to you last week. The partner wearing the most blue can start. Give kids a minute or two to share their experiences. When students seem to be finishing their conversations, say: Now tell your partner one thing that s worrying you right now. Maybe it s a school subject you re having trouble with or a problem with a friend or a family member. Give kids another minute or two to share. Now tell your partner one thing you like or appreciate about him or her. Maybe your partner has a great sense of humor or maybe your partner always makes you feel welcome in class. Go ahead and share. After kids finish talking, ask: What was it like to tell your partner about your life? (Easy; fun; it made me nervous.) Was thinking of things to say to your partner easy or difficult? Explain. (Easy, because you gave us ideas; hard, because I didn t know what to say.) Do you ever have trouble thinking of things to say when you pray? Explain. (Yes, because I don t know what God wants to hear; usually not.) How is talking to God different from talking to a friend? (God is God and already knows everything about me; I can t see God the way I see my friends.) How is talking to God the same as talking to a friend? (God cares about me and what goes on in my life; God understands me.) Say: Sometimes we may feel awkward talking to God we may not know what to say or if we re praying the right way. But God is the best friend we ll ever have, and talking to him can be just as easy as talking to our friends. Jesus teaches us how to pray in the Bible. Let s see what he says. 123

4 Lesson 11 Encourage kids to bring their Bibles to class with them next week. Bringing their own Bibles will help kids become familiar with using and turning to the Bible. Bible Exploration & Application n Painful Prayer SUPPLIES: Bibles, CD player track 31 Before class, cue the CD to Painful Prayer (track 31). Say: In Bible times, people prayed in ways that didn t please God. Jesus wanted to teach his disciples a better way to pray. Have students remain in their pairs. Distribute Bibles, and choose a volunteer to read aloud Matthew 6:5-8 while others follow along. Then say: Listen to this example of the way some people talked to God. Play the Painful Prayer track on the CD. After kids have listened to Painful Prayer, have them discuss the following questions with their partners and then report their responses to the class. Ask: Why is this the wrong way to pray? (The man is just bragging to God about all the good stuff he does; he asks God for stuff he really doesn t need; it s like he s trying to bribe God.) How would you feel if people talked to you like this? Explain. (I would get bored; I d be angry, because all the man talks about is himself and how great he is.) How do you think God feels when people talk to him like this? Explain. (Probably annoyed and bored; sad, because God is God.) Say: That s why Jesus taught the disciples to pray. As you look at the following passage, think about why the kind of prayer Jesus taught is better than the one you heard on the CD. Have partners alternate reading the verses in Matthew 6:9-13. Then ask: Why is Jesus prayer better than the one you heard? (Jesus prayer puts God first and gives God glory; Jesus prayer only asks for stuff we really need.) How might Jesus prayer make God feel? Why? (Good, because it puts God first and gives God glory; it doesn t try to bribe God.) Why would Jesus want us to pray this way? (Because God deserves our glory; because God has already given us so much that we have no right to try to bribe him for more stuff.) Say: Reread Jesus prayer. Tell your partner your favorite part of the prayer. Explain why it s your favorite part and how God might feel about your saying that to him. When partners have shared, have a few volunteers report their responses to the rest of the class. Then say: Jesus teaches us how to pray, and this prayer can guide us as we talk to God. Let s find out more. 124

5 n Focus on God SUPPLIES: Bibles, Keep On (Matthew 7:7) lyrics (p. 154), CD player Before class, make a photocopy of the Keep On track 32 (Matthew 7:7) lyrics for each student. Gather kids in a circle, and say: When we pray, we focus on God and have a conversation with him. But sometimes that s hard for us to do. Ask: When have you had a hard time focusing on God when you prayed? (When my brother kicks me under the table; when I think about what I m going to do after dinner.) Why do you think it s hard to focus on God sometimes? (We can t see God; we can t hear God talking to us.) Say: We re going to play a game to see how hard it can be to stay focused sometimes. Have kids form two groups, and have each group form a circle. Give one child in each circle an animal nose. Explain that the animals will go around the circle trying to make each person smile. The animal can make goofy sounds and faces, act funny, or tell jokes. But animals cannot touch anyone. The animals will keep going around the circle until someone smiles. When the animal makes someone smile, he or she will switch places with the person who smiles. The new animal will continue going around the circle from that point. Ask: Were you able to focus on not smiling in this game? Why or why not? (No, because the animal was so funny; yes, I didn t think about the animal.) How was trying to focus on not smiling in this game like trying to focus on God when we pray? (It s hard to pay attention sometimes; lots of things make us lose focus; we can be distracted easily.) What kinds of things make us stop focusing on God? (Other things get our attention; we start thinking about other stuff; people make noise.) How can we stay focused on God while we pray? (Keep our eyes closed; talk to God; practice praying a lot.) Say: Those are great ideas! Jesus teaches us how to pray. And if we want to have a real conversation with God, we need to keep our attention focused on him. Have kids turn in their Bibles to Matthew 7:7: Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. Ask for a volunteer to read the verse aloud while the other students follow along in their Bibles. Ask: What does this verse tell us about keeping our focus on God? (If we focus on God and keep seeking him, we will find him; if we keep asking God for good things, he will give them to us.) Say: Let s sing a song to help us remember this verse. Cue the CD to Keep On (Matthew 7:7) (track 32). Distribute the lyrics, and lead kids in singing the song. You might want to play the song twice to help the kids learn it. Turn off the CD player and put the CD away. Say: Let s learn more about how Jesus teaches us how to pray. Jesus Teaches the Disciples About Prayer 125

6 Lesson 11 If you have fewer than three students per group, let some kids perform more than one role. If you have more than 16 students, consider making two copies of the handout and having kids form eight groups rather than four. Assign each piece of the puzzle to two groups. Bible Insight The model prayer that Jesus offers his followers in the Lord s Prayer is a simple example of how God wants us to talk to him. Look closer, though, and you ll see that the Lord s Prayer emphasizes the following characteristics: confidence, reverence, submission, dependence, forgiveness, and humility. n ACTS of Prayer SUPPLIES: Bibles, ACTS of Prayer (p. 129), scissors, pencils Before class, photocopy the ACTS of Prayer handout. Cut apart the four sections of the handout. Have kids form four groups. (One person can be a group.) Give each group a Bible, a pencil, and a section of the ACTS of Prayer handout. Say: We re going to learn a simple way to talk to God about everything. This prayer is in four parts, and each group will have one part. In your group, choose one person to be the Reader, one person to be the Reporter, and one person to be the Encourager, making sure that everyone is involved. Sound the hand groan tube, and allow groups to work for a few minutes. Then sound the hand groan tube again, and have Reporters from each group tell about their prayer parts and what their groups came up with. When all Reporters have shared, say: This is called an ACTS prayer. A is for adoration, C is for confession, T is for thanksgiving, and S is for supplication. When we include all the parts of the prayer, we re remembering to share everything with God. Let s experience an ACTS prayer together. Have groups come together in a circle. Have all the Encouragers put their group s segment of the handout in the center of the circle and work together to put the puzzlepiece segments together. Have the Reader from Group 1 read the assigned Bible passage for Adoration. Then say: To show that we adore God, let s make a joyful noise to God! As I pass around the hand groan tube, shake it and then tell us something you love about God. Begin by sounding the hand groan tube and briefly sharing something you love about God. Then pass the hand groan tube to the person on your left. When the hand groan tube comes back to you, pray a short prayer similar to this one: God, we love and adore you. Thank you for being so great! Then say: Now let s move on to the second part of our prayer: confession. Have the Reader from Group 2 read the assigned Bible passage for Confession. Then say: God knows all of our sins, but he wants us to confess them anyway. When we re sorry for what we ve done and ask God to forgive us, God wipes the slate clean! As I pass this big eraser around the circle, think of one wrong thing you ve done recently, and silently ask God to forgive you. When the big eraser comes to you, say, God erases my sins and then pass it to the next person. Begin by holding the big eraser and saying: God erases my sins. Then pass the big eraser to the person on your left. When the big eraser comes back to you, pray a short prayer similar to this one: Thank you, God, for hearing our confessions. Thank you for forgiving us. Then say: Let s continue with the third part of the prayer: thanksgiving. Have the Reader from Group 3 read the Bible passage for Thanksgiving. Then say: Because God loves us, he gives us lots of wonderful blessings in our lives. To remind us of how much God loves us, let s pass this heart lock around the circle. When the heart lock gets to you, say one thing you re thankful to God for. 126

7 Begin by sharing one thing you re thankful for and then pass the heart lock to the person on your left. When the heart lock comes back to you, pray a simple prayer similar to this one: Dear God, you give us so many good gifts. We thank you! Then say: Now let s finish our prayer with supplication. Have the Reader from Group 4 read the Supplication Bible passage. Say: God knows what s best for us. God can look into our lives and see exactly what we need before we even ask him! Let s pass around this telescope to remind us that God knows what we need even before we ask him. When the telescope comes to you, name one thing you d like to ask God for. Begin by holding the telescope and saying one thing you d like to ask God for. Then pass the telescope to the person on your left. When the telescope comes back to you, pray a short prayer similar to this one: God, we ask you to give us what s best for us as we serve you. And we offer you our praise, our confessions, and our thanksgiving. In Jesus name, amen. Then ask: What did you enjoy about the ACTS prayer? (It helped me know what to pray about; it helped me know what to say to God; it made me know it was OK to ask God for stuff, but that wasn t the only thing I prayed for.) What do you think God enjoyed about the ACTS prayer? (I told God about how much I love him; I thanked God for lots of stuff; I didn t just ask God for more stuff; it wasn t all about me.) Do you think you could pray an ACTS prayer every day? Explain. (I think I could try; it would be a good way to help me remember how to pray.) How might your relationship with God change if you used this kind of prayer? (I could pray about God instead of just asking him for stuff all the time; I would know better what to pray about.) Have kids stay in their ACTS groups and turn to Matthew 6:5-15 in their Bibles. Say: In your group, take turns reading Jesus prayer again. After groups finish reading, ask: How was the ACTS prayer in this activity like the one Jesus taught his disciples? (Both prayers begin by praising God; both prayers ask for what we need; both prayers ask for forgiveness of sins.) What did you learn from the ACTS prayer and from Jesus prayer? (It s OK to ask God for stuff, but that s not the whole point of praying; we should tell God how much we love him; we should tell God thanks for the stuff he gives us; we should confess our sins and ask for forgiveness.) Say: Jesus teaches us how to pray. The sample prayer he gave us teaches us the things God wants us to talk to him about. God wants us to honor him and also to tell him about the things that concern us. The ACTS prayer can help us remember how Jesus wants us to pray. Put the heart lock, telescope, big eraser, and hand groan tube away for later use. Jesus Teaches the Disciples About Prayer 127

8 Lesson 11 HANDS-ON BIBLE Give each student a pencil or pen. Make sure children have their Hands-On Bibles. Say: Jesus teaches us how to pray. In your Hands-On Bible, turn to the Ask, Seek, Knock activity found near Luke 11. Choose one of the Keep on Asking and one of the Keep on Knocking activities to do during the week. Choose a Keep on Seeking activity to do right now. Allow time for students to choose and do one of the Keep on Seeking activities. Encourage them to follow up during the week on the plans they ve made for the other two sections. Kids love to receive mail. Consider mailing a letter to each of your students this week. In the letter, thank the student for being in your class and say that you re praying for him or her. Closing n A Letter to God SUPPLIES: Bibles, paper, pencils, CD player Distribute Bibles, paper, and pencils. Have kids scatter around track 32 the room. Say: Jesus teaches us how to pray. He knows how important it is for us to communicate regularly with God. Before we leave today, let s each use the things we ve learned to write a brief letter to God. Write your letter just as you d write to a friend after all, God is the best friend you ll ever have! When you finish the letter, fold it in half and wait for others to finish. Play Keep On (Matthew 7:7) (track 32) quietly in the background while students write. Allow a few minutes for kids to write, and then say: When you get home, go into your room and read your letter aloud as a prayer. Let s pray now, using the example Jesus taught his followers. Have kids open their Bibles to Matthew 6:9-13, and have everyone read aloud together. Then close with a group amen. Growing closer to Jesus extends beyond the classroom. Photocopy the Hands-On Fun at Home handout (at the end of this lesson) for this week, and send it home with your kids. Encourage kids and parents to use the handout to spark meaningful discussion on this week s topic. 128

9 ACTS of Prayer Adoration: Telling God how great he is. Confession: Admitting to God all of the wrong things we ve done. (Psalm 95:1-7) (Jeremiah 33:8) Tell five things that your group loves about God. Have each person in your group tell why confession is so important. Thanksgiving: Thanking God for all he s done. (Psalm 100) List five things that your group is thankful for. (Matthew 7:7-11) Supplication: Asking God for something. Have each person in your group name one thing you can ask God for. Permission to photocopy this page from Group s Hands-On Bible Curriculum Grades 3 & 4 granted for local church use. Copyright Group Publishing, Inc., 1515 Cascade Avenue, Loveland, CO group.com 129

10 LESSON 11 Jesus teaches us how to pray. Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7). In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus taught his disciples including us! how to pray. What s your favorite part of that prayer, and why? What part of that prayer do you think your family does best? What part of that prayer would you like to work on doing better with your family? Read Philippians 1:3-4. What musical instrument do you think Paul s prayers would have sounded like when he prayed with this attitude? What instrument do you think your prayers sound like? Read Daniel 9:4. At the beginning of the week, have each person in your family write one prayer request on an index card. Each night after dinner, shuffle the cards, distribute them, and have each person pray for the request on his or her card. You may want to take the card you receive to school as a reminder to pray in spare moments. How do you think Daniel s prayer was pleasing to God? As the week goes by, see how the prayers are answered. Write the answer on the card, along with the date. Post these cards as reminders of God s faithfulness. Make an old-fashioned telephone with string and two paper cups or tin cans. Punch a hole in the bottom of one cup, put one end of a long string through the hole from outside to inside, and tie a knot to keep the string from slipping through the hole. Do the same with the other cup and the other end of the string. Have a friend hold one cup while you hold the other. Carefully pull the string taut. Talk into your cup while your friend puts the other cup up to his or her ear and listens. Experiment with loose string and taut string. Talk about the problems with this system and contrast them to the perfect line we always have to God. 130 Permission to photocopy this page from Group s Hands-On Bible Curriculum Grades 3 & 4 granted for local church use. Copyright Group Publishing, Inc., 1515 Cascade Avenue, Loveland, CO group.com

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