Prayer and Sunday School

11 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:
“‘Father,[a]
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.[b]
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.[c]
And lead us not into temptation.[d]’”
5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 7 And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity[e] he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[f] a fish, will give him a snake instead?12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
(Luke 11:1-13 NIV)

Prayer is essential in everything we do. I have been reading 14 Habits of Highly Effective Disciples from BaptistWayPress and noticed a great illustration:

The surgeon Atul Gawande’s book, The Checklist Manifesto, shows how doctors can use checklists to save lives and reduce mistakes, especially during surgery. Gawande’s surgery checklist includes the following three “pause points”: before anesthesia, before incision, and before leaving the operating room. Each pause point is to designed to add a “speed bump” before an important task so people stop and think about what they are about to do. The results are striking.

That’s also a good idea for every follower of Christ. Developing pause points throughout the day and using these moments to pray could produce miraculous results.

What a great word for us to hear. Brother Lawrence in The Practice of the Presence of God suggests everything we do should be done in an attitude of prayer. I realize most Christians are not at that point, so providing pause points will be a good idea. As teachers, how are you encouraging your students in the practice of prayer? Here are a few ideas:

Set up prayer partners. If every class from youth through adults had prayer partners it would be easier to process what they learned in Bible study and show the importance of prayer. I am not naive to believe every person will have a prayer partner, but those who do will grow in many ways!

Make prayer an essential part of your class. Make sure that prayer is a part of the beginning and ending of class. Ask others to consider leading the prayer. Make sure you ask them ahead of time. Some do not feel comfortable in leading a public prayer.

Ask for prayer concerns during the week. Call, text, or Facebook your class members about prayer during the week. It shows how important prayer is to you as long as you remember their prayer concerns, and ask them how God is answering that prayer. Some have chosen to call on Saturday evening to ask about prayer, and it is a reminder for Bible study the next day. Your class needs to know you care!

Communicate the need for prayer during special occasions and concerns. Set up a prayer chain by phone and Facebook for special needs during the week for every member to be called. Set a prayer time during fellowship events and during special times of the church’s calendar like revival. Invite them to a cottage prayer meeting at your house the week before revival.

Homebound/Shut-ins can pray! The homebound and shut-ins often feel they have nothing to offer. Encourage them to be prayer warriors for the church. Each month give them a special prayer list to be praying over. This is not your weekly prayer concerns for persons (though you should be giving them this list as well.) Have them pray about events that are coming up in the life of the church and to be praying for the leaders of the church.

Memorize the Lord’s Prayer and pray it daily. The disciples never asked Jesus to teach them how to minister or preach, but they recognized the power of prayer and asked the Lord to teach them how to pray. Use the Lord’s Prayer as a daily part of your routine.

May our lives be expressed daily through prayer.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6 NIV)

About tonystopic

Seeker and connector to the abundant life as a husband (to Katrina), father (to Tara & Joseph) and Field Strategist/Sunday School Specialist for the Virginia Baptist Mission Board.
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