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3. The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:5-15; Luke 11:1-13)

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Main Point: God wants us to spend time with Him in prayer.

Key Verse:

Jesus often went away to be by Himself and pray. - Luke 5:16

Props: Optional: A prayer bracelet


Say: Jesus had come to earth to bring the kingdom of God to men. Jesus made it clear that things in the kingdom were very, very different than things in the world. In the kingdom of heaven, people who have nothing to offer God are accepted. Those who are meek and peace loving, and those who want what is right will finally have what they long for because Jesus came to conquer sin and death.

As Jesus taught on the mountainside, many people gathered to hear Him. Jesus taught that those who follow Him should never do good things just to call attention to themselves. The good things they do should be done in secret - just between them and God. God sees what we do in secret, and He will reward those things (Matthew 6:4).

Prayer (Matthew 6:5-15)

Say: One of the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1). Jesus said that prayer should not be a way to get attention and praise from people. It should be done with a right heart toward God. It is wrong to pray just to impress people.

“When you pray, do not be like those who only pretend to be holy. They love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners. They want to be seen by others. What I’m about to tell you is true. They have received their complete reward.

“When you pray, go into your room. Close the door and pray to your Father, who can’t be seen. He will reward you. Your Father sees what is done secretly.” - Matthew 6:5-6

That would be like a husband who only talked to his wife when other people were around. In public, he would tell her how wonderful she was, so people would think he was a good husband. But when they were alone, he would never say one word to her. Is that how a good husband treats his wife? No. Would she believe that he truly loved her? No. His actions show his true feelings. If he really did love her, he couldn’t wait to talk to her. He would make time to be alone with her so he could talk to her and listen to her. Jesus continued teaching:

“When you pray, do not keep talking on and on the way ungodly people do. They think they will be heard because they talk a lot. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need even before you ask Him.” - Matthew 6:7-8

The original word that Jesus used (battalogeo) means don’t say same the same words over and over again (vain repetition). Big, fancy words do not impress God, nor does repeating a memorized prayer over and over.

Prayer is the time you spend being real with God. It is when you pour our your heart to Him. You can tell God anything and everything. You can tell Him when you are angry or hurt or disappointed. You can talk to Him about the good stuff that happened in your day. He is with you every minute, so it should be easier to talk to Him than to your best friend or even your mom or dad. Prayer is also when you stop to listen to His voice (John 10:27).

Jesus gave a perfect example of how to pray. We call it “The Lord’s Prayer.” Lots of people can say this from memory, but remember, Jesus just said not to repeat the same words over and over. Reciting this prayer does not take the place of heart-felt conversations with your heavenly Father. Jesus wanted to tell His disciples the type of prayer to pray. These things are the type of things that God will honor in your prayers.

“This is how you should pray.
“ ‘Our Father in heaven,
may Your name be honored.
May Your kingdom come.
May what You want to happen be done
on earth as it is done in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
just as we also have forgiven those who sin against us.
Keep us from falling into sin when we are tempted.
Save us from the evil one.’
“Forgive people when they sin against you. If you do, your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive people their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” - Matthew 6:9-15

Teacher Note: When reciting the Lord’s Prayer, we stop short of verses 14 and 15. Jesus took the time to elaborate on forgiveness, and we must not overlook it. Forgiveness MUST be a part of our prayer time! Citizens of God’s kingdom understand the forgiving, saving grace of God, and can likewise extend grace to those who have wronged them.

In Jesus’ prayer, He started by calling God His Father. If you have faith in God, and have put your trust in Him, He is your Father. You are adopted into God’s family. You, too, have the right to call Him Father, or Daddy. Then Jesus praised His Father’s name. This is the best way to begin a prayer! Praise honors God, and it reminds you that God can do anything! Next, Jesus asked for the Kingdom to break out on earth. In Jesus’ model prayer, God and His kingdom come first (Matthew 22:36-37). Then Jesus asked for His needs to be met that day. It is completely right to pray for what you need. The Bible says that every good and perfect gift comes from your heavenly Father (James 1:17). Next, Jesus said to ask for forgiveness and to forgive others. Jesus explained that if we are not willing to forgive others, God will not forgive us. Finally, Jesus said to ask God to keep us from sinning; this comes only by God’s grace (Titus 2:11-12).

Application: There is no magic formula for praying to your heavenly Dad! But here is how this prayer may sound in your life:

Praise: Lord, You are awesome! Thank you for making the different seasons. Today I looked out of my window and saw the beautiful fall leaves. You are so creative to paint the world with those cool colors!

Kingdom: Lord, I would love for my friend Sam to know You and enter Your kingdom. Please use me to show Sam how much you love Him.

Needs: Please help me with my Math test today. I studied hard, but I get so nervous about tests. Please help me to be calm about it today.

Forgiveness: I was mean to my sister yesterday and I know that was wrong. Please forgive me and help me to be really nice to her today. I need to forgive Jamie for laughing at me yesterday. It hurt my feelings, and I don’t even want to forgive him, but I know I should. Please help me to forgive him.

Grace: And Lord, give me grace so I won’t sin today. Don’t let me be tempted look at anyone else’s test paper today.

Say: Of course, there is SO much more you can say, and you don’t have to touch on every point every time you pray! Just talk to God like you talk to your best friend. God handcrafted you! (Psalm 139:13) He knows how many hairs are on your head! (Matthew 10:30) He knows you better than anyone and He wants to spend time with you every day.

Application: God promises to reward you when you come to Him privately in prayer. He will hear your prayer and answer you (Psalm 34:17, Matthew 7:10). This does not mean that God will give you everything you ask for. But you can be CERTAIN that He will hear your requests and will answer in the way that is BEST for you.

Jesus’ Example (Mark 1:35)

Jesus not only told His disciples how to pray. By His example, He showed them how to pray. He prayed out loud in front of them so they would see God’s hand at work right before their eyes (John 11:41-42). And very often, Jesus took private time to be with His Dad (Luke 5:16). The Bible says:

Jesus often went away to be by Himself and pray. - Luke 5:16

The Bible even tells of times when Jesus spent all night praying to His heavenly Dad (Luke 6:12). Most of these times, the disciples knew exactly what Jesus was doing (Mark 1:35-36, 14:32, Luke 9:18, 28). He was near enough that his close friends, the disciples, could see Him. This was a great example for the disciples to follow.

Let’s talk about why Jesus took the time to pray. Jesus had left His Dad’s side, where He lived in heaven, so as often as possible, He snuck away from other people so He could go talk to His Dad once again. In these quiet places, Jesus could simply be real with God. He could talk to His Father about everything that was going on. He could give God praise, seek God’s perfect will, and ask for the strength He needed to accomplish the amazing task of healing, teaching, and ultimately paying the price for our sins.

Last summer, we had a large group of teenagers that went on a month-long mission trip to South America. The teenagers were told not to take their cell phones because they wouldn’t work so far away. Telephones were hard to come by in South America, so the students wouldn’t be able to speak to their families for over ten days from the day they left home. On the eighth day, the parents received an email from the group leader telling them when they could expect a phone call from their child. It would come the following Saturday, between noon and 4:00. Ask: Do you think the parents were excited about getting the phone calls? Yes! Say: All the parents cancelled whatever plans they had so they would be home to receive that phone call! They missed their sons and daughters so much; they couldn’t wait to hear everything that their child was experiencing on their trip.

Jesus was very much like a Son on a mission trip! He left His Father to come to us, to make the way for us to enter the kingdom. Prayer was a lot like that phone call. It was His opportunity to speak to His Dad. They were crazy about each other and they wanted to talk to each other as often as possible.

Application: All believers are on a kingdom mission. Your Dad in Heaven is waiting for your “phone call.” The awesome part is that there is no limit on the times we can go to the Lord in prayer!

Power Of Prayer (Isaiah 38)

Prayer is even more than speaking and listening to God. Prayer is powerful! The Bible says, “The prayer of a godly person is powerful. It makes things happen.” (James 5:16b) The original language used in this verse tells us that prayer is strong, it is a FORCE.

For example, back in the Old Testament, there was an Israelite king named Hezekiah. Israel and Judah had many bad kings, but Hezekiah was a wonderful, godly king (2 Chronicles 31:20-21). At one time, he became very sick. When Hezekiah was just about to die, God sent the prophet Isaiah to tell him that he was not going to get well; he was just about to die.

Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall. He prayed to the Lord. He said, “Lord, please remember how faithful I’ve been to you. I’ve lived the way you wanted me to. I’ve served you with all my heart. I’ve done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah cried bitterly. - Isaiah 38:2-3 Teacher: See

Before Isaiah was out the door, God told him to turn around and tell Hezekiah his prayer had been answered. God would give him 15 more years to live! God would also save him from the king who was about to attack Judah. And, as a sign that God would keep this promise, God caused the shadow of the sun to move backwards! (Isaiah 38:7-8) God actually stopped the earth from turning and made it go backwards! Hezekiah remembered his prayer:

I cried softly like a weak little bird. I groaned like a sad dove. My eyes grew tired as I looked up toward heaven. Lord, I’m in trouble. Please come and help me! - Isaiah 38:14

It was a quiet prayer from a weak man, and God made the earth stand still! Now that is amazing power! The king was at his very weakest. On his own, he could do absolutely nothing. But in prayer, he tapped into the ultimate power source. God is the Creator of the universe. He simply spoke and He laid the earth’s foundation (Job 38:4). He tells the mighty oceans how far they can go on the shoreline, and He sends lighting where He wants it to go (Job 38:11, 35).

Application: Without prayer, you are just doing life on your own. There is absolutely no comparison between God’s power and yours. Why wouldn’t you want to pray and invite God’s power into every situation you face? Remember, when you are at your weakest, God’s power is the strongest (2 Corinthians 12:9).

There are no rules about when you should pray. But, taking time every morning to pray is the best way to start your day. It shows God that you are putting Him first and it reminds you to depend on Him all day long. The Bible says that God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Every day is a fresh start. Why not start it with your heavenly Dad? And, when we don’t start the day with prayer, we often get so busy with our day that we never get around to it. Just imagine one of the parents from the mission trip, waiting by the phone all day, but their child got so busy that he never took the time to call. This would disappoint the parent, and would be a great loss to the child who missed the loving words of wisdom and encouragement that his mom or dad was waiting to tell him.

But you don’t have to stop with a morning prayer! You can continue to pray all day long. You can pray with your eyes open! You can pray on your bus ride to school, or when you are in the car. You can pray in the middle of a conversation with your friend, when you don’t have the right words to tell your friend. You can pray when someone treats you unfairly and you need God to help you hold your tongue. You can praise God when a beautiful sunset catches you by surprise. You can pray in your bed at night - but don’t let this be your only prayer time, since it is SO easy to fall asleep and miss your time with your heavenly Dad.

Prayer should be natural. The more you do it, the more natural it becomes. Like talking or breathing - before you know it, you’ll do it without giving it any thought at all. Don’t ever be afraid to talk to God. God is crazy about you and He wants you to spend time with Him in prayer.


Key Verse:

Jesus often went away to be by Himself and pray. - Luke 5:16


Main Point: God wants us to spend time with Him in prayer.

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Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society / Used by permission of IBS-STL. All rights reserved worldwide.

Special thanks to John R. Cross, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, GoodSeed International.

Related Topics: Children, Children's Curriculum

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