Category Archives: Prayer

Lord’s Prayer

Text: Matthew 6:9-15

Prop: A prayer sandwich. Use two slices of bread and add five 3 x 5 cards with each element written on it as you explain the Lord’s prayer.

Summary: Jesus teaches us how to pray with a model prayer. Make a prayer sandwich to explain it.

Jesus was a man of prayer. He would rise early in the morning to pray. He must have been watched closely by those who followed him to learn how to pray. Sensing this, Jesus took time to teach his followers how to pray. He taught us to pray about everything, to never give up praying for those things we felt were important, and to always have faith when we prayed. God hears our prayers. He loves us and wants us to spend time with Him in prayer. Let’s make a prayer sandwich as we learn how to pray.

How many of you know the Lord’s prayer? [look for show of hands] In a moment we will close by saying it. Right now, let’s look at it to see what Jesus is teaching us about prayer. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. When Jesus says “after this manner” he means he is showing us the things to bring into our prayer life. We usually say this prayer word for word when we pray together in church, but prayer is personal and should have certain elements. The first of these is praise. We recognize that God is holy. We address our God as a loving, personal heavenly Father.

Thy kingdom come. The second element is hope. We expect that God will act to change lives now and that Jesus will return to earth in person soon. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. We should submit our lives to God in prayer and live it out daily. We should be willing to put our concerns aside for the greater good of God’s kingdom on earth. That means we should share our toys with others, and not be a selfish person. God wants us to love each other. If we won’t even share our toys, how can we love someone else?

Give us this day our daily bread. The third element is to depend. Jesus wants us to depend on God for our needs every day. We should not worry about whether we have a month’s supply of food. God is an abundant provider. He wants us to look to him in faith for our needs. Many times Jesus did not even know where he was going to sleep at night when he started out for the day, or how he would be fed. He trusted God at every turn. He doesn’t want his children to be worried and afraid, but at peace and trusting.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. The fourth element is to forgive. Now these words may be tricky. What is a debt? It means something that we owe. If we go the grocery store and get a candy bar, we have a debt. We owe the store money for the candy bar we want to take home. Sometimes we ask for things we cannot have. Sometimes we do things for others and they feel obligated to repay us. Jesus wants us to be willing to give to others without expecting anything in return. That is being a cheerful giver. Take the trash out even if it is not your turn. Share a candy bar with your sister even if she didn’t ask. God wants us to forgive those that are mean to us. If we cannot forgive them, then God will not forgive us. We get what we give.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. The fifth element is goodness. Jesus wants our prayer to strengthen our desire to do what is right. God does not intend for us to do wrong. He wants us to avoid everything that is bad and evil. He wants us to be good children. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. Jesus again recognizes that all authority and power rests with God. God is in control.

Now we have completed our prayer sandwich. What elements does our prayer have? [hold each card up as a review] Praise, hope, depend, forgive, goodness. Yes, these are the elements that make for a rich prayer life. Now let’s bow our heads and practice what we have learned as we say the Lord’s prayer together.

©1998 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Pray About Everything

Text: Philippians 4:4-7

Prop: Poster of Study of Praying Hands by Albrecht Dürer, 1508.

Summary: God doesn’t want us to worry. He wants us to pray about everything.

How many of you ever worry? [show of hands] Some people worry all the time. We call them worry-warts. They worry about the weather. They worry about what to eat. They worry about how they dress. They worry, worry, worry about everything!

Do you think God wants us to worry? [listen for answers] Let’s see what the Bible says. (Read text] What a different story we have in the Bible! It says we should rejoice in the Lord about everything. Can you be happy all the time? [no] We need Jesus’ help to rejoice about everything! We can be happy because Jesus may return to earth to take us home to heaven at any moment!

The world says that when you have problems to worry and fret. The world says that misery loves company and you should get all your friends together and have a pity party — poor pitiful me! The Bible says to get your mind off yourself and pray about it. Nothing is too small to pray about. Some people think they should only bother God with great big important stuff. Do you know what? God isn’t bothered at all when we pray. He wants us to pray about everything!

God doesn’t want his children to worry. Have you ever looked at someone who was worried? They frown and wring their hands together like this. [demonstrate a worried-looking person and get the children to play along and do the same thing] God wants us to unclasp our fingers and point them away from ourselves and toward Him with folded, praying hands. [demonstrate praying hands and get them to follow along] When we bow our heads to pray, God will give us such a peace about it that our frown will turn into a smile. [bow head and smile] God will tell us what to do when we pray. We only need to listen to His still, small voice speaking to our hearts when we pray about everything.

©1999 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Daniel in the Lions Den

Text: Daniel 6:4-27

Prop: a poster of Daniel in the Lions Den

Summary: Daniel was a great man of faith and prayer. When he had to choose between praying to God or facing death for his beliefs, he was faithful to God. He was protected all night by an angel when he was thrown in a den of lions. We have his example to be faithful and stand up for God.

Have you ever been to the zoo? Did you ever see lions in a den? Did the zoo keepers let you go in with the lions and pet them? [no] Of course, not. The lions are fierce and might hurt you. Today I want to tell you about a story in the Bible about a man named Daniel. One time he had to spend a whole night in the lions den!

Daniel was given a top job in the kingdom of Darius because he was a faithful hard worker. This made the other princes jealous of Daniel. The only way they could find him at fault was to make a law that was against his religious beliefs. The princes tricked the king and got him to pass a law that said no one could ask a petition of God or man, except to the king for thirty days.

Daniel was a man of prayer. He had a habit to pray to God three times a day. Daniel knew of the law, but he continued to pray each day as he always did. King Darius liked Daniel, but when the princes told him that Daniel had broken the law, the king had to punish Daniel. He realized too late that the princes had tricked him into passing such a law.

The king ordered that Daniel be cast into a den of lions. The king hoped that Daniel’s God would deliver him, saying, Thy God who thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. A large stone was placed over the den of lions and was sealed. The king was so worried about Daniel that he couldn’t sleep that night. The first thing the next morning, the king went to see if Daniel had been killed. He cried out to see if Daniel was alive and Daniel answered him, My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me.

The king was overjoyed and had Daniel pulled out of the lions den. He then brought the men who had accused Daniel and threw them in the den of lions. The lions tore them to pieces before they could even hit the ground.

Do you ever have moments when you must stand up for what you believe in? Here in America, we are blessed to have great religious freedom. We are free to pray privately to God at any time and any place without breaking a law. Many people in the world still don’t have this basic freedom. We can thank Jesus that we have this privilege. We can look to Daniel as an example to stand up for our religious freedom, and to be faithful to Jesus at all costs.

©1997 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Traffic Lights of God

Text: Jonah 1:2; Mark 5:19; Isaiah 40:31

Summary: We must listen to God in prayer to know when to go, stop, or proceed with caution.

traffic signalProp: A picture of a traffic signal

Look at this picture of a traffic light. What do each of these colors on the traffic light mean when we are in a car? Red means stop. Green means go. Yellow means speed up and go really fast, right? (grin) No it means caution. Caution is a word that means slow down and clear the intersection.

Today I want to talk to you about learning how to know what God wants you to do. To find out what God wants us to do, we must spend time studying the Bible and also we must pray. When we pray we spend time listening to God speak to our heart so we know what we should do. Sometimes listening to God is like watching this traffic signal. Let’s look at some examples from the Bible.

(Read Jonah 1:2) Jonah was told Arise, go to Nineveh. He was clearly being told by God to go do something, to take action. Sometimes when we pray God will make it known to us that it is time to take action and go.

(Read Mark 5:19) The possessed man, after being healed, wanted to stay with Jesus. But Jesus told him no, to stop, that what was important was to stay home and tell his friends about Jesus. Sometimes we think we know what is right, but God stops us and tells us to do something entirely different that we never would have done on our own.

(Read Isaiah 40:31) This verse means that sometimes God wants us to slow down, take caution, and wait on Him to act first. We must yield our will to His, and patiently wait until God tells us more. This will give us time to renew our strength for what God has planned ahead. Let’s learn to listen to God when we pray so we will know what to do.

©1998 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.