Prayer Basics. Children

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1 Prayer Basics for Children (Lesson 1) (A children s curriculum resource based on the book Prayer Basics: The Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of Prayer and brought to you by the National Prayer Center, a ministry of the General Council of the Assemblies of God.) The National Prayer Center Equipping the Church......Answering the Call

2 Prayer Basics For Children Lesson 1: Prayer: What s It All About? Lesson Objective: The students will learn what prayer is and discover that they were created with a special privilege to communicate with God. Memory Verse: 1 John 5:14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us (NIV). This is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us (KJV). Introduction Of all the spiritual disciplines in the Christian life, none is more vital than understanding what prayer is all about. So much hinges on it. As you teach this course, you will have the privilege of guiding children in their knowledge of the purpose and power behind this vital means of communication between God and humanity. Their understanding and practice of prayer will powerfully shape their spiritual lives. Getting Started As you begin this study, distribute copies of the Prayer Is work sheet at the end of this lesson. Give the students a few minutes to complete the statement, then ask volunteers to share what they have written. You may wish to record some responses on the board. Be sure to commend the students on their responses. Perhaps some of the students wrote that prayer is talking to God, which is a good answer. Others might complete the statement by saying prayer is really hard or confusing. They might wonder why they should pray at all. Qu estion: What do you like most about praying? (Invite responses.) Some people like to pray because it helps them feel closer to God. Also, when some people pray, they believe that God will answer by helping them with problems they or others are going through. (Give opportunity for students to tell of a time when God answered a prayer they or a family member prayed. Share times when this has happened in your own life. This will help your students realize that prayer isn t just something we do because we think we re supposed to do it, but because it really works. God does hear our prayers!) Qu estion: What is the hardest thing about praying? (Invite responses.) Probably the thing most of us struggle with most is whether or not God really hears us when we pray. Or we might wonder if what we have to pray about really matters to God.

3 Ask: How can we know God is listening when we pray? (Invite responses.) Illu stration: Have two students briefly tell you or another student about something they did yesterday. Ask: How did you know the other person was listening? (You could see the person you talked with. They nodded their heads, smiled, or made a comment. In other words, their actions proved that they were hearing what you said.) Ask: What about talking to someone on the phone; how do you know the other person is listening when you can t see him or her? (You can hear the voice of the other person respond to what you are saying.) Ask: Can we see God when we pray? (No.) Does He speak to us in a voice we can hear? (Not usually, though it s not impossible.) So, how do we know He is listening? Lesson Focus Ask the students to look up Genesis 3:8-14. Let students take turns reading the verses. Explain that Adam and Eve had a very special relationship with God in the Garden of Eden. Ask: What does verse 8 tell us about that relationship? Explain that God visited with Adam and Eve in the Garden. They heard God as He walked in the Garden. They were able to talk directly with God. God called out to them and spoke with them. This is how God originally intended for His relationship to be between Him and people, His highest creation. Ask: What do you think it was like to be able to talk directly with God? (Invite discussion. Then explain that after Adam and Eve sinned, they were made to leave the Garden. God s relationship with them and with people from that point on would never be the same. However, even though communication between God and people was not as personal as it once was, God and people were still able to communicate. Prayer Is for Everyone! Exp lain that the key to being able to hear God today is that when God created the first human beings, He put something very special inside. It s inside every man, woman, and child today. It s inside you! What is it? Illus tration: Display a small radio or cell phone. Ask: What happens when you turn on your radio or answer a call on the phone? You hear sounds and voices, even though you cannot see where they are coming from. Every radio or cell phone has a receiver that can change electronic signals into sound. That s pretty amazing! We can t see those signals, but they are real and when they go through a receiver, they create sound. With radios and cell phones, we can pick up signals almost anywhere in the world. Did you know that you have a special receiver inside you? Ask the students to look up Genesis 1:26, 27. Have a volunteer read the verses aloud.

4 Que stion: How did God make people different from animals? What was special about us? God made human beings in His image. This doesn t mean we look like God or that God looks like us. Instead, God passed along to all humans some important characteristics, such as the ability to think and reason, to have feelings, to be creative, and much more. God did not make animals in His image. Hav e another student read Genesis 2:7. Ask: What special thing did God do when He created people? (He breathed into them the breath of life.) Ask: Did God breathe the breath of life into animals? (No. He created them out of the dust of the ground, like people [Genesis 2:19], but He did not breathe into them.) Expla in that many people believe when God created Adam and breathed into him the breath of life, He gave Adam, and every human being born from that time on, something more important than just air to breathe. He gave them and us something very special. He gave us a spiritual nature and that spiritual nature, often called a soul, has been transferred to every human being born since Adam and Eve. Say: You have a soul. Your spiritual nature or soul is the part of you that connects you in a special way with God. It s the part that senses His presence and hears His voice, even though you probably won t hear any sound. In this way, God created every human being with a special way to talk to Him, feel His presence, and hear Him speak in His own way. Stay Close to God Display the radio or cell phone again.) Ask: What happens if you re listening to a radio or talking on a cell phone and you move far away from the place that sends out the signals? (The farther away you move, the weaker the signal gets until you can t hear it at all.) Ask: Do you think the same thing can happen with our ability to hear from or talk to God? (It s not that God isn t able to hear us pray anywhere we might be in the world or even in outer space. God is everywhere and He can see us and hear us anywhere we are at any time. However, it is possible for us to move away from God.) Ask: How can I move away from God since He is everywhere all the time? (If we stop taking time to pray or read our Bible or be with God s people in church, we move away from God. He becomes less and less important to us. When that happens, we don t think about God very much.) Say: When we move far away from God, not only is it hard for Him to speak to us, but we also might choose to disobey God s Word and do things that are not pleasing to Him. That makes it even harder for God to speak to us and for us to feel His presence. Spending time in prayer, in God s Word, and in church as well as being obedient to God will keep the signals strong, and we can feel closer to Him as we pray. Distri bute the Staying Close Bible Verse Code work sheet based on James 4:8. Give the students a few minutes to work the code. Then ask a volunteer to read the answer. Or simply have a student look up and read this verse aloud.

5 Ask: What does James say we need to do in order for God to come close to us? (We need to come near to God. When we do that, He is happy to come close to us and help us feel His love and presence.) Say: Think of it this way: If you want your mom or dad or a very special friend to know how much you love them, or if you have a problem that you need help with, you will go to them and talk with them, won t you? When you go to them, they will then be glad to be close to you and share their love and kindness or help with your need. Another great thing about prayer is that when we talk with God on a regular basis and let Him speak to us as well, we are more likely to stay on the right path in life and not do things that are displeasing to God. An Important Step Say: A very important first step in being close to God is to ask His Son Jesus into our heart, and to become the leader of our lives. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. If we are willing to ask Jesus to forgive us for sins we have done and invite him to be our Lord, good communication between us and God can begin. God is always there to listen to our prayers and help us obey Him and His Word. Invit e students to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Leader. Pray with them and help them understand that since they are now part of God s family, they can always talk to God. He will be with them always to help with any needs they might have. Taking It Home Refe r again to the Prayer Is exercise done at the beginning of class. Ask if the students have a little better understanding of prayer now than they did at the beginning of the class session. Explain that while it is helpful to talk about prayer and understand its importance, we must do more than just talk about it for prayer to be effective. Dist ribute a small, spiral-bound notebook to each student. Let them know that this is a very special prayer book for them to start using right away. Encourage them to set a time each day to pray and then write out something they prayed to God. This will help them form a habit of praying each day. Also, as answers come to their prayers, they will realize that prayer does work. As you continue to teach this course in the weeks ahead, invite students to share things they have prayed about and how God has answered. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

6 Prayer Is... Prayer Basics for Children Lesson 1 Work Sheet 1

7 Staying Close Bible Verse Code Use the code breaker below to find important instructions from James on staying close to God AND James 4:8, NIV A = 1 B = 2 C = 3 D = 4 E = 5 G = 6 H = 7 I = 8 L = 9 M = 10 N = 11 O = 12 R = 13 T = 14 U = 15 W = 16 Y = 17 Prayer Basics for Children Lesson 1 Work Sheet 2 All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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