Saturday, January 24, 2015

Jesus Teaches Me to Pray

Scripture describes our prayers are as incense before the Lord.  How astonishing, and comforting, to know that the God of the entire universe puts such value on our requests and supplications!  We do not merely spew off hopeful words that drift up to heaven unnoticed.  We arrest the heart and attention of God, with a sweet aroma when we pray.  Our prayers are so precious to Him that He keeps them in golden bowls! Imagine the scent, capturing every note of the human heart, permeating the throne of God.  Let this thought lift your heart, dear teacher, as you prepare to teach this week.

Bible Truth: Jesus teaches me to pray
Bible Story: God always hears me when I pray.  He wants me to talk to Him everyday.
Bible Study: Psalms 4:3, 141:2; Matthew 6:6-13; Philippians 4:6; Revelation 5:8


teach


In Matthew 6 Jesus gives us a model prayer, to teach us how to pray.  Older children can study this prayer and be challenged to memorize it, but since we are teaching younger children, let's break it down to teach them how to pray in different situations.  Preschoolers can learn that there are different reasons that we pray, and that no matter where, or how we pray, God always hears us, Here are some simple object lesson illustrations to choose from to teach your preschoolers about prayer.

 

show & smell


Revelation 5:8 gives us a peek into Heaven where God keeps our prayers as sweet incense in golden bowls.  Bring in a nice bowl and a nicely scented candle to illustrate this beautiful picture.  Hold the candle for each child to smell.  Explain that the Bible says our prayers smell sweet and beautiful to God.  Light the candle and place it safely out of reach to let the scent permeate the room. (Keep the candle and the lighter safely out of reach from the children.  Do not leave the candle or the children unattended.)  I happened to have a scented battery operated candle that works perfectly for this illustration.



let it ring


Tell the children that you are going to use your cell phone to try to call God and talk to Him.  Select a ringer on your phone, put the phone to your ear and say, "Hello?  God are You there?  Can You hear me?  I have a class full of children here that have things they want to tell you."  After carrying on for a bit, ask the children, "Do you need a phone to call God when you want to talk to Him?  No you don't!  The Bible says in Psalms 4:3 that God hears us whenever we call to Him.  He's never too far away, never too busy, never asleep, gone at work, or on vacation.  He promises us in the Bible that He hears us every time that we pray!"


mirror feelings


The various reactions of children to their reflection in a mirror are quite amusing.  Using a hand mirror in this lesson makes prayer personal to each child, keeps them engaged in the lesson.  Begin a discussion about feelings with your class.  Ask them to show you a happy face, and then hold the mirror up to each child so that they can see their own happy faces.  Ask what makes them happy and give each child an opportunity to respond.  Explain that we can pray to give praise and thanks to God for all these things that make us happy!  Invite the children to lift their hands and repeat after you as you lead them in a simple prayer of praise and thanksgiving.  Continue the same discussion about prayer for feelings of sadness, anger and fear.  Lead your children in simple prayers for forgiveness, help and peace.

read


I have couple helpful books on by bookshelf for this lesson.

Product Details
First is, Dear God, It's Me! by Lynn Hodges & Sue Buchanan, a sweet story about calling on God in different situations throughout a child's day, as depicted by a young elephant and its parents.  This book comes with a bonus music CD with the words set to music, adding a bit of interest with something different for my young audience.  I've only been able to find used copies available here on Amazon.  I think this is a book worth adding to your library!



I LOVE First Steps in Prayer by Stephen Elkins for the pictures of children in everyday situations.  You would probably lose young ones if you read each prayer written in rhyme, but I like to use this book for more interactive discussion purposes with the children.  The book also comes with a CD of 12 song-along songs!  I believe I originally found my copy at Ross.  You can purchase one here from Amazon.
 




sing


Click on the song titles for words and actions.

  • Read Your Bible and Pray Everyday - I also suggested this song a couple weeks ago with the lesson Jesus Teaches Me to Love God's Word.  Refer to this post if you would like to see a video of the song.
  • This is the Way I Talk to God - This is a song I wrote specifically for this lesson.  The mechanics, body postures and hand positions, as we pray, are not as important as the posture of the heart.  My intent in this song is to teach children that there are different reasons, and ways that we come to God in prayer, as Jesus illustrated in The Lord's Prayer.
  • When I'm Sad - This is an all-time favorite song to sing in my class!

craft

 

sweet scented prayers


I found the inspiration for making my own scented paint recipe here. This is a modified version of the recipe that we use in my class.  For each paint color mix:
  • 1.5 oz. of Kool-aid or flavored gelatin.
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. of corn starch
  • 1/8 c. of water  




Going with the idea that our prayers are as "incense before the Lord," use the scented paint to paint this coloring sheet.



prayer cup


This craft helps children remember how to pray and talk to God in different cirumstances.
  • these templates (choose landscape setting when printing)
  • song lyrics 
  • Styrofoam cups
  • pipe cleaners
  • scissors
  • pen / pencil
  • crayons
  • glue
  • tape
To prepare, print, and cut out the templates and song lyrics.  (Tip: photocopy the hands template in double-side mode so that the hand print will be seen on both sides.) Use a pen or pencil to poke two holes opposite each other near the rim of the cups.

In class, give each child a happy and sad face to color.  Help them glue the faces to opposite sides of the cup.  Put a pipe cleaner through the holes of the cup, and tape a hand print to each end. Give each child a copy of the song lyrics to take home with their prayer cup.  


Praise & Thanksgiving
Repentance & Help



2 comments:

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  2. Thanks so much! This is an awesome idea. I do a VBS for my three youngest siblings every Saturday, and this is just perfect. :D God bless you!

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