Luke 11: 1-13
To show children that the Bible says Jesus had power to talk to God and to teach others how to talk to him.
You will need:
- 3 or 4 scarves (or lengths of rope)
- A copy of the visual aid, copied onto flipchart paper. The solution is given and you may want to practise beforehand!
- Red, green and orange paints or marker pens.
Show the pupils one of the scarves, tied in a knot. Ask for 2 or 3 volunteers to come to the front and tie another scarf/rope in a knot like the one you have just shown them.
After the volunteers have tied the scarves in a knot, explain that you managed to tie yours without lifting your hands off either end of the scarf. Each of them had to lift one hand off the scarf to tie it. Ask them if they think they could do it without taking their hands off.
Allow them to try for a few minutes, tying themselves in knots while you assure them that it is possible! (By picking the scarf up by either end with arms unfolded it will always be impossible to tie it in a knot without releasing one end.)
When they have given up, untie your scarf and show them how you did it. You should fold your arms in the conventional way, placing one hand over and one hand under the other arm. From this position, pick up one end of the scarf in each hand and simply unfold your arms. A knot will be tied in the scarf.
Allow them to try using this new method.
Ask the children to take their seats again. Although I told you it was possible, you didn’t know how to do it until I showed you the right way. Once I taught you, then you were able to do it for yourself.
Have you ever watched someone doing something and wondered if you could do it too? Maybe you’ve watched a magician performing a trick, or watched your favourite footballer do a really clever move, and you’ve wanted to learn how to do it.
In today’s story, Jesus’ disciples watched him praying. When the Bible talks about praying, it means talking to God. The disciples wanted to know how to talk to God the way Jesus did!
So, when Jesus had finished praying, the disciples asked him if he would teach them how to talk to God. What he taught them is written on this sheet of paper.
Show the pupils the visual aid you have prepared.
It’s not very clear, is it? Perhaps this is how the disciples felt about prayer. They had watched Jesus talking to God but they weren’t sure how they could do it themselves.
Let’s see if we can discover three things that Jesus told them about prayer.
Start to paint or colour the first word on the sheet in red: LOVE
The first thing he told them was that they should love God. The Bible says that he told them to pray:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”
This means that God should be really special to them. He should be more important than anyone else. Jesus was telling them that they should tell God how great he is and how much they love him!
Paint or colour the second word on the sheet in orange: ASK
The second thing he told them was that they should ask God for whatever they needed. The Bible says he told them to say:
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
This doesn’t just mean that they should ask him for bread! Jesus wanted them to ask God for everything that they needed for life. They could go to him for anything and he would hear them.
Paint or colour the third word on the sheet in green: SORRY
The third thing they were to say to God was sorry. Jesus told them to say:
“Forgive us our sins.”
When the Bible uses the word ‘sin’, it means anything we do or say or think that is wrong. The Bible says that these things hurt God. So Jesus told his disciples to say sorry to God for all the wrong things they had done that God didn’t like.
So, these three words sum up the first bit of what Jesus told his disciples about prayer. They should love God first and praise him for how great he is. They should ask him for whatever they needed. And they should say sorry to him for the wrong things they had done that God didn’t like.
But then Jesus went on to explain something else about prayer. Perhaps the colours we have painted these words in will help us to discover what else he told them. Do these colours remind you of anything?
Red, amber and green are the colour of traffic lights. What does each colour mean?
Take the pupils’ suggestions.
Jesus told his disciples that everyone who asked for something from God would get an answer, but it wouldn’t always be an immediate green light for ‘go’ . Sometimes they might have to wait for a while, like waiting at an amber light. At other times they might have to stop and wait for longer, like waiting at a red light. And Jesus said that God would never give people things that were bad for them.
The disciples had watched Jesus pray. They realised that Jesus had the power to talk to God and they hoped he had the power to teach them too. Refer back to the three words. He told them that they should tell God they love him, ask him for their needs and say sorry for the things they had done to hurt him. He would always hear them, even if it seemed like they had to wait for a while.
The Bible says that we can pray to God in the same way that Jesus taught his disciples. It says that when we talk to God today, he still hears us and will still answer us.
Optional prayer time:
Give thanks to God that we can still talk to him today. Ask him to help us talk to him more, to tell him we love him, to ask for his help and to say sorry.