Nov 28- Jesus Taught about Prayer

When We Pray, We Pray as Children to Our Father

The first word of the model prayer is striking—even if this fact can be easily lost on us—”Father.” The idea of God as Father would have floored the Jew living in Jesus’ day. Father is far too familiar, far too personal, to a Jew used to not even writing out the name of God. But here was Jesus instructing His disciples to call Creator God “Father.”

In some ways we wrongly come from the opposite perspective—many of us fail to remember God’s holiness. We might be too familiar, too personal, with Him. Remembering that we approach God as Father should help us strike the balance between the two extremes. For children are not equal to the Father, they are still under His authority and are to respect and honor Him accordingly.

God is our good Father—a loving, Holy Father. We need to help our kids understand that and walk the balance it requires. At the same time, we need to be aware that when some kids think of “father” they don’t have the best thoughts. The world is full of bad fathers, terrible fathers, evil fathers even. As much as it might pain us, we need to recognize that some of our kids come from homes with these kinds of fathers. So when we talk of God the Father, we need to be sure that kids don’t cast upon Him the wrong ideas of fatherhood that they may have learned from their earthly fathers. Instead, we need to help them know what a father is supposed to be.

When We Pray, We Pray Foremost for God’s Glory

Just as it is easy for many of us to look past God as Father, we can look past the context of prayer that Jesus provides up front. Prayer is not, as many believe, all about getting what we want from God. Rather, prayer is about giving to God what He us due. Notice the first two imperatives center on God, not us. We are to pray that God is honored as holy and that God’s kingdom comes. In this, we see that prayer is not to be centered on us, but on God.

To be clear, when we ask that God be honored and that His kingdom come—for Him to be glorified—we are not asking for God to be given what He lacks. God needs nothing. And that is key here. This is about us allowing the Spirit to draw us to a posture of honoring and glorifying God. This is about us seeking His kingdom and being used by God for His purposes to come to pass. This is a request of submission.

As we will see next, there is nothing wrong with praying for our needs, and even our wants. We should do so. But even those are to be sought within the context of God’s glory. When this is the condition and desire of the heart, it is not surprising that we will see the content of our petitions change. We won’t feel the desire to pray for the frivolous things of the world.

When We Pray, We Pray for God’s Provision

We can breathe a sigh of relief when we get to the part of the model prayer asking for God to provide our daily bread—our needs. It is OK that we ask God for things. But even here, there is a greater purpose in mind. Don’t miss this—by praying for daily bread—for needs—who do we acknowledge they come from? That’s right, God Himself. Uttering this request should humble us every time. We don’t earn the food that is on our table—it is there by God’s kindness. Once again, our prayer life is designed to drive us back to God and His work in our lives.

The next line affirms this—we are to pray for forgiveness of our sins. The greatest need we have is to be right with God through Christ. And just like the food on our tables is only there by God’s kindness, so is God’s forgiveness.

When We Pray, We Pray for God’s Protection

The last big idea from the model prayer is that we pray for God’s protection, namely that He protects us from temptation. Notice how we have taken a big, important step back from praying for God’s forgiveness. Forgiveness is “reactive”—given after we sin. Protection from temptation is “proactive”—seeking to not sin in the first place so that we don’t need to be forgiven.

This is the only reasonable response to the gospel. We are not to abuse God’s mercy and grace, but rather to pursue living in holiness according to His power. We want and need God to change our minds and hearts—to give us the ability to turn from even that which tempts us to sin in addition to sin itself. We are declared fully forgiven and righteous in Christ, but that amazing truth should cause gratitude and awe to well up within us so that we want to detest sin—that which brought about Jesus’ death—and live in a way consistent with who we have been made in Christ.

It’s not surprising that once again, we are drawn back to God’s glory. From start to finish, prayer is about drinking in the goodness of God, delighting in Him, and living accordingly. This is prayer. This is what our kids need to understand and live.

*Devo from Pastor Brian, from The Gospel Project.

#JesusJams for today!

---> And here's this week's story!!

Christ Connection: Jesus taught us to pray. Because of Jesus, we can pray to God as a Father and ask for what we need. We can trust that God is good and loving, and we can count on Him to do what is right.
If you have a bible at your house, you'll be turning to Luck 11 and 18 to read with your family this week! If you don't have one, that's okay! CLICK HERE for chapter 11. CLICK HERE for chapter 18.

OPTION 1: God gives good gifts Instruct the kids to sit in a circle. Select a kid to start the game by saying a word that begins with the letter G. The kid to her right will then say a different word starting with the letter G. Continue to play in this way until a kid accidentally repeats a word, or cannot think of any words that start with the letter G.

SAY • You all did a wonderful job coming up with G-words. Here are some other words that start with G: God gives good gifts. Today we will be learning about prayer. We will learn that God loves to answer our prayers and that God gives good gifts. Can you think of some of the good gifts God has given you?

OPTION 2: Cup telephone Before the session, use a push pin or nail to poke holes in the center of the bottoms of the plastic cups. During the session, help kids cut string into approximately 6-foot lengths. Then demonstrate how to thread the string through the holes in the cups and tie a knot on the inside of the cup so that the string doesn’t come loose. Allow pairs of kids to practice holding the cups so the string is taut and whispering or listening into the cups.

SAY • Those cup phones are like a direct line to your friend. Even if you were whispering, your friend could hear you. In a way, that’s like prayer. God can always hear our prayers. We will learn more about that today.

OPTION 3: Prayer Walk

Explain to your kids what a prayer walk is. Then, gather your group and begin walking through the building, encouraging kids to pray silently or aloud as you walk. Guide them to pray for specific things your church needs.

SAY • Jesus taught people how to pray. Prayer is really just talking to God. We can tell Him anything, just like we might tell a trusted friend. He cares about how we feel, what we think, what we need, and what we want. Sometimes going on a prayer walk can be a great way to remind yourself of other groups or places that may need our prayers too. You could even do a prayer walk around your neighborhood or school, asking God to save the people who live or attend there.