Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
Isn’t this a great question? I wonder which disciple it was who asked…
Yes a great question followed by a famous answer. An answer which provides Jesus’ framework to help us with prayer. But there is something in this request and answer that we can easily sidestep, or overlook – both the question and the answer make an assumption that we will pray. You see The disciples are eager to pray (“Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”) and Jesus is eager to help them, as we find out if we read on (Luke 11:2-11).
A regular question in churches today is “how can I get better a praying?” It’s a great question and rightly Pastors across the world will turn up many passages of scripture to encourage us, to lead us, to remind us and be examples to us. God has provided all of this, but, as with all of the Bible, to profit from what we read we need at have hearts that are eager to understand, and get busy with what we learn – in short, the way to learn about prayer is to pray – do just what this disciple did, ask Jesus and be willing to respond to the answer.
Here are a few more pointers about prayer:
- Remember that ike everything we do well in our lives, we need to practice prayer.
- Use the framework set by Jesus for a start, or find one of the psalms that fits the need and pray it relating it to your circumstances.
- Make prayer a habit every day.
- Find a time and a space where you can focus.
- Expect to find prayer rewarding.
- Expect to find prayer hard work at times.
- Expect to God to respond, and watch out for those answers.
- Expect to be challenged by God.
- Expect to be Encouraged by God.
Direct communication with the Living God! Why wouldn’t we want to pray?
Children’s Prayer Activity
Adoring God – When you’re saying your prayers to day think of as many things as possible you really love and thank God for them, and remember too to tell God how much you love Him 🙂
“But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.”
The importance of sharing the truth of God with the next generation was made clear to Israel. Were we inspired to write these words today, we would have no doubt written them in CAPITALS, underlined and bold. Look at the urgency in this verse – watch out!
As that need was urgent in Old Testament days, it is urgent now. Israel was (and is!) surrounded by hostile and ungodly nations, and hostile and ungodly influences were bombarding them from the world around them. Today the church is bombarded by the same influences – God is a God of love and justice: He knows very well the temptations that will come to water down His word to be ‘more palatable’ to those around who want to continue living rebellious lives, He knows of the lies the enemy will weave to lure future generations to step away from the truth of His word, a little here and a little there… He knows that without good examples, without lives lived showing His Grace and Mercy in action, without firm discipline and full love, children will be left to wander away from Him.
Today, let us give thanks to The Lord for our church family, and lift the children entrusted to us to Him in prayer, and let us, as a church family, recommit ourselves to Him, asking Him to help us to be sure to share His word, show His love, and teach of His righteousness and justice. We must too give thanks for our human families, pray for marriages and relationships within our church, and ask Him to enrich us by His Spirit as we seek to live obediently by His grace, showing Him in our lives to this generation and the next.
Children’s Prayer Activity
Thank God for the family you are part of and for your church family. Why not draw a
picture/take a photo of your family and use it as you pray to God today.
“…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Christian people ARE filled by The Holy Spirit of God; we are filled for many different purposes, and to fulfil many different needs.
Some of those needs will be personal, in that we have our needs met and our lives changed, bit by bit, as He works in our lives to sanctify us (that is to make us more and more like Christ). But here we also see that as He comes to live in our hearts we will, as a matter of course, become His witnesses; we will become people who have His grace, compassion, wisdom, and power to share that Gospel truth. Yes, to share that truth where we are and wherever He will lead us, even to “the ends of the earth”!
Today then, let us welcome afresh the truth of these words and the impact of them on our lives, and let us give ourselves over to His filling, and as we do so recommit ourselves where we are, and also recommit ourselves in prayer for others where they are, be it in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria or to the ends of the earth…
Children’s Prayer Activity
Today use a ball inside or outside. Each time you catch or kick it remember that without the air inside it wouldn’t work well, and that unless we have God in our hearts we don’t work well either!
Some questions based on Mark 6:33-52; if you missed the sermon you can hear it here: I Believe in Miracles
- Discuss our reactions to living the Christian life and being called to give of our time and energy when we’re feeling we’d like to rest or at least slow down a bit.
- What is the purpose of miracles?
- Do miracles still happen?
- Talk thorough the two miracles, what were the lessons for the disciples and what might we take away from them and apply to our lives?
- Spend some time talking about Jesus’ example to us in prayer and what we can learn from Him.
This study is based on the sermon The Death of A Conscience.
- Mark 6: 14-16 Discuss who the people were thinking Jesus was; what was the reason for each and why were they wrong?
- Mark 6:17-29 Talk through this glimpse of Herod’s life – at each twist and turn discuss the positives and negatives and look at how we might learn from this account.
- What is a conscience?
- How might our consciences become dull, damaged, and dead?
- Which ways can we keep our consciences in ‘tip-top’ condition?
A study based on the sermon: Go!
- Read Mark 6:1-6 Discuss the reaction of the local people to Jesus what was their first reaction and then what was their response? What can we learn from this?
- How do you think Jesus might have felt about being rejected? How did He respond?
- Read 6:7-13 Discuss the way Jesus sent the disciples out, what they had authority to do and what they were instructed to do.
- What was the result?
- Spend a good amount of time discussing what we can learn from this passage and apply to our own lives and walk with The Lord.
Every now and then, in this crazy society we live, I think we need reminding of this:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
A study based on Proverbs 17:24
If you missed the sermon you cam pick it up here: Is that terribly wise?
- How would you describe wisdom? Can anyone have wisdom or is it a gift for some?
- What characterises a fool?
- Can the group recall any other times wisdom and foolishness are mentioned in the Bible? Discuss what God is saying through each example.
- How can we get wisdom?
- Discussion on things like this can be a bit disconnected from real life. in the sermon we looked at a number of ways that we could and should apply this passage to our lives. Discuss those further as a group, and consider how we might encourage and challenge each other in this.
A study based on Acts 12:1-11
If you missed the sermon you can pick it up here: Powerful Prayers & Powerful Answers
- Read the passage and as you work your way through it, stop at after each new character is introduced and discuss what the group know about them;
- Peter slept, talk through how you might feel in a comparative situation and also why was Peter able to sleep? What can we learn form this and how can we apply it to our lives today?
- Discus verse 8 and consider how the miraculous is almost always missed with the practical when Go intervenes in our lives;
- Going back to verse 5, we read that the people prayed earnestly, what might that kind of prayer be like?
- Discuss as a group how you can practically help each other to be encouraged and helped to develop in your personal prayer lives and also be more engaged in the church’s collective prayer life.
A study based on the sermon Is There Grass On Your Path?
- In the sermon we looked briefly at the following scriptures: James 4:1-2, Isaiah 59:1-2, 2 Chronicles 16:9a. Which other verses on prayer come to mind, when thinking about our need and reluctance to pray.
- Take the 5 sermon headings and talk through practical applications which we could commit to taking on board (individually and as a church). The headings were:
- We crowd out prayer with other things
- Sin separates
- We don’t see prayer as a relationship thing
- We don’t appreciate the massive importance of the facts that prayer prepares us for spiritual warfare. And prayer is spiritual warfare.
- We think we can handle things ourselves
- Spend some time praying for each other.