Yesterday I got the teach in our 7th grade YBF (youth Bible fellowship also known as Sunday School). It’s been a while since I’ve been able to be in the class on a Sunday morning. They have been going through a series on Prayer for the past couple of weeks and my teaching was right in line with that.
My overall goal was to get our students thinking about doing prayer in simple ways. Sometimes we over complicate what prayer is when it’s a conversation with God. It doesn’t have to be big and flashy, but it does need to be honest and real. Authenticity is what God wants most from our prayers.
Our scripture came from Luke 11:1-4. These are some very popular verses and even if you haven’t spent alot of time around church, you’ve heard this prayer and probably can say it without thinking. It’s kinda funny to me that this prayer is the go-to prayer for most high school sports coaches. I’m not sure why this is but it’s interesting!
Some quick thoughts on these verses:
1) The fact that Jesus uses the term ‘Father’ was something completely abnormal to the people hearing it, but to us it should be a comforting fact. God, the Creator of the Universe and all things in it, wants a relationship so close to me that He wants me to address Him as Father!!
2) Jesus isn’t giving a must do check off list for correct prayers. He is giving us a framework to build on prayers on. There are three elements that He mentions and sometimes our prayers will have all three elements, sometimes only one depending on what is going on.
3) The three elements Jesus give us are Praise, Needs, and Forgiveness/Protection.
I wanted to make our time together as interactive as possible, so after identifying the elements of Jesus’ prayer, I asked for real life examples of of what these elements would look like. The students did really well with expressing needs and asking for forgiveness and protection, but they really struggled with praise. This fact clued me into something that I think as Christians we can struggle with.
Praise to God is more than thank you for the good things you’ve given me. It’s giving Him recognition to Him for being God. It’s celebrating His character: His love, His mercy, His grace,the fact the He is God, but wants to hear from me. Praise is realizing that He is in control and has what’s best for us in mind.
Praise should be a regular part of our prayer life, because without praise, our prayers are a laundry list of things we need God to do and this reduces Him to a genie in a bottle.
So what about you?
Is praise a part of your prayer life? What does praise look like in your prayer life? Would you be able to give real world examples of how you praise God in your prayers?
Parents I want to encourage you to have a conversation with your student about this even if praise is not a part of your prayer life. Talk with your student about it. Talk about ways you both could start. Your child is more open to this that you think and they want to hear from you.
I’ll be praying for you as you have conversations with your student this week.