Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” NASU
Upon arrival to her Bible class room, Mary Rose spied some letters of the alphabet written out on colored paper that was mixed in
their puzzle pieces. They were all spread out over the table, a-r-e-y-r-P-. Finding and unscrambling the letters would help the students find out what their Bible lesson was going to be about. The letters spelled: P-r-a-y-e-r. “Prayer!” Mary Rose said. ‘Our Bible lesson is going to be about prayer!” That explained why there was a large colorful picture of praying hands on the wall. After they had sung a special song called, Whisper a Prayer in the Morning, everyone settled down, folded their hands, bowed their heads and were quiet as the teacher led them in prayer. To get them ready for their Bible lesson they were asked a question. The teacher held up a large purple question mark on a stick. On the back of the question mark was an envelope. Inside the envelope was a question written out on a card. Mary Rose was chosen to read the question aloud. She read, “What kind of attitude should we have when we pray?” Someone said, “Kind.” another said, “Nice.” The teacher stepped over to reveal the picture on the easel that had been covered with a cloth. It was a poster of two men. One looked very confident like he knew what he was talking about, and the other looked like he felt very bad about something. The class found the Bible book of Luke and was learning how Jesus had told some people a special story called a parable. (An earthly story with a heavenly meaning.) This parable was about 2 men. One was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. They had gone to the temple to pray and were each saying their own prayer to God. The Pharisee was very proud. He had an attitude of thinking he was better than everyone else, better than the man who was standing next to him. He thanked God he was not like other men who did wrong things. He was TOO proud. Then the man who was a tax collector was very humble. He could not even lift his eyes toward heaven because he felt so bad about his behavior. He had an attitude of knowing he didn’t always do things right and was sorry about it. He knew he needed God to forgive him. He was VERY humble. As the children listened they learned that everyone should be humble as they pray. God is the one who is perfect and no one else. God has never done anything wrong. God’s goodness is called righteousness. Our goodness or righteousness comes from God. We need the goodness of God that helps us to be good in His eyes. We need to show God respect by talking to Him in ways that tells GOD how good and special HE is. That’s called praise. (Romans 5:18-19)
The teacher also said it is important to talk often to God every day. (1 Thess. 5:17) She handed out cards with questions on them. “Who do we pray to?” When opened, the card showed the answer and the scripture to look up. To save time the numbered scripture was already printed out. They all took turns reading scripture that gave the answers to the questions. Mary Rose and her friends learned so many things about prayer that day.
• Who to pray to. Matthew 6:9, 26:39-42; Colossians 3:17
• To have a humble attitude. Luke 18:9-14
• To tell God thank you. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18
• To pray for others. 1 Timothy 2:1; Matthew 5:44; 1 Thessalonians 5:25; James 5;16
• To pray for ourselves. Matthew 6:13; James 1:5; James 5:13, Acts 8:22
• Why say “through Jesus’ name Amen”. Colossians 3:17; Ephesians 5:20
• What amen means. (So let it be) Matthew 6:13
Toward the end of Bible class, a helper passed out pictures to each student. The pictures were of those who needed prayer. One was of a person in the hospital, another was of a Person with an empty refrigerator. They needed food. Then another one, telling their Daddy good-bye for he was a soldier and was going away. Then the teacher held up a box with some sticks in it like the ones Mary Rose remembered seeing in the Doctor’s office. Some were plain and others had colored writing on them. The teacher explained. These are prayer sticks! “Hmmm prayer sticks?” Thought Mary Rose. Their teacher also gave them colored markers. She went on to explain that they needed to write something about their picture onto the prayer stick that would help remind them to pray for people who had troubles like the ones in the pictures. If it was someone in the hospital they could draw a bed or write the words, “Please help those in the hospital get well soon.” Maybe it was someone who was happy, so they would draw a happy face and the person’s name and thank God for their happiness. Everyone in the class got to take their prayer sticks home plus a few more that had no writing at all to fill in later. They could have prayer sticks for their own prayer box/pail at home. When they looked at their prayer sticks they would be reminded of what to pray for. They could also write on the other end how the prayer was answered. After their discussion, everyone gathered around for prayer time before leaving class. Mary Rose thought…”how special it is that I can talk to God and that He listens to me.”
To my Sister Bible class teachers,
June will be here before I know it and Vacation Bible School is in its wake. Sunday mornings, my students and I are traveling with Paul on his 2nd missionary journey; and then my sweet Mary Rose is always tugging at my heart with what Bible class adventure she may have next. With all this the contents of my Bible class closet has now, for a while at least, claimed one of our spare rooms. I am prayerfully thankful for this extra space. And for my husband who exhibits his patience toward the abundance of all my “stuff”. With so much Bible study and prep work, how can I NOT take time to pray? Remember this hymn? Ere (Early) You Left Your Room This Morning…Did You Think to Pray? Mary Rose’s teacher seems to be in control of her class and has things prepared to flow before her students arrive. Let’s remember how important it is to be prepared and to arrive timely greeting even the “early birds” having something Bible related for them to do, waiting for class to begin. Sometimes setting up the day/night before helps. Also it’s helpful to arrive early enough to give yourself a few minutes of prayer time to focus on the true task at hand. Lovingly, patiently, teaching Bible. As children, many of us started learning to pray at meal/ bedtime. I remember our family doing this and Mama and Daddy gathering around our bed to hear us girls pray. It was then passed on to our children and grandchildren. It is never too late to begin your prayer life and is very essential in building one’s faith. Instilling it in the lives of the young can be very effective and rewarding. Indeed the avenue of prayer is great, having the ear of our Creator! As I watch and learn about today’s young families training their children in the Lord, I am more and more impressed. One mother told me her children knew to pray for those involved when an ambulance passed by on the road. How thoughtful! Then I was highly impressed when I was introduced to a prayer box (Pictured above) from one of the families we worship with (Brad and Tiffany Smith.) What a creative way of helping their family remember what to pray about and to rejoice when they can see and write how a prayer was answered. And their children actually know how to use the prayer box! They added letters on the ends of each prayer stick that stood for Family, Church, and Prayer Request. Each category was color coded. On one side was the letter and the name of a specific person. On the other was what to pray for and then how it was answered. The blank sticks and specific prayers were in the front of the box and the answered prayers were kept in the back of the box. These could be referred to, discussed and then noted as to how wise and amazing our God really is!
Feel free to share any prayer ideas you may have for your classroom or family life.
A Servant in His Kingdom,