Week 39 – With what attitude should we pray?

Question

With what attitude should we pray?

Answer

With love, perseverance, and gratefulness.

Memory Verse:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

Main Idea:

When we pray, our attitude matters.

Outline for lesson

Open in prayer  

Introduction: Collect some pictures of world leaders and people you know the children will admire.

Introduce Question 39: “With what attitude should we pray?” by explaining to the children what the word attitude means. Help them to understand that it is a response to knowledge about an idea, person, or situation that can affect behavior.  

Show the children some pictures of famous people and ask them to describe what attitude they might have if they were to meet them. For example, if they met the Queen of England, would they have a humble or sincere attitude? If they encountered a famous sports personality, would they have an enthusiastic attitude? If they met someone who had been in an accident, would they have a sympathetic attitude? 

Ask the children what kinds of attitudes they express

 To their teachers in school

 To their siblings

 To the school principal

 To an old person

Remind the children that Question 39 is “With what attitude should we pray?” Highlight that this lesson will help them consider how they approach God and what their heart response to God is when they come to him in prayer.

Activity: Give each child an Emoticon Template (RB) along with crayons (make sure you have plenty of yellow) and markers.

Have the children design their own emoticons showing four different attitudes. Encourage them to show the rest of the group their emoticons and let the others guess what attitude each one represents.

Ask the children what sort of attitude they usually have when they pray. Are they bored? Hopeful? Silly? Distracted?

Lesson: Explain to the children that what we know about people affects our attitude around them. God has revealed himself to us in his Word, and what we know about him should determine our attitude when we talk to him.

Read Philippians 4:4-9. Provide Bibles for the children to read along with you.

Explain to the children that Philippians is found in the New Testament and that Paul wrote to Christians in Philippi. Explain to the children that Paul wrote this letter while he was in prison enduring difficult circumstances.

Ask the children if they would be able to write words like Paul’s if they were in prison.

Explain to the children that these few verses will teach a lot about God and how to approach him in prayer.  In verse 4 Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” Explain to the children that Paul is encouraging Christians to find joy in the Lord. This is because he is a trustworthy, sovereign, and good God who loves his people and saves them from judgment, death, and hell through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus. Despite the fact that Paul is in prison, he is able to say “Rejoice!” not because his life or circumstances are good, but because he fully places his trust in God. Encourage the children to look at the second part of verse 5 and to realize that God is near to his people. He is not a far-off distant deity, but he is near, intimately and lovingly involved in the lives of his children. Help the children to see how amazing it is that the Creator of the universe wants to know his creatures and longs for a relationship with them. 

In verse 6 Paul encourages Christians to bring their prayerful requests to God. Explain to the children that this should encourage them to recognize that God loves to hear and answer his people’s prayers: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Ask the children if they can imagine living a life without ever worrying about anything. You might want to ask them what kind of things they worry about. Paul knows firsthand that life can be difficult, and yet he says that we can bring our worry and anxiety directly to God. ‘Things might still feel scary, and we might want to give in to worry, but God wants us to let him take care of the things that make us anxious. Paul is encouraging Christians to trust God in each and every situation, from the really tricky ones to the everyday occurrences. The passage encourages Christians to be frequent and persistent in prayer. The way to fight off our anxiety is to pray about everything and ask God to replace worry with his peace.

Ask the children if they noticed the attitude Paul is encouraging Christians to have in bringing their prayers and petitions to God.

Christians are to have an attitude of thanksgiving in their relationship with God. Christians should have hearts that are thankful that God saves, that God is in control, that God is near, and that God hears and answers the prayers of his people. What does Paul say will happen as we pray and trust God? Ask the children to read verse 7 aloud with you: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Explain to the children that as Christians learn to pray and understand God’s will, they will be able to know peace, because they are confident that God is in control and that he is working for their good and his glory.

Recite: Finish the teaching time by helping the children commit Question 39 and the answer to memory.

Week 38 – What is prayer?

Question

What is prayer?

Answer

Prayer is pouring out our hearts to God.

Memory Verse:

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:8

Main Idea:

Prayer is talking to God in response to his Word.  

Outline for lesson

Introduction:  Using the Q38 Question Mark (RB), cut out a question mark for each child. 

Explain that the focus of the lesson is the question “What is prayer?” As part of the introduction to the question, ask the children to write any questions they may have about prayer on the question marks. Stick the question marks up somewhere clearly visible. Assure them that you’ll engage with their thoughts and questions throughout the next few weeks. 

Follow by asking them to think about these questions: 

How did how they get to know their friends and build relationships with them? 

How do they usually communicate with their parents? 

Explain that the way people build relationships is by talking to one another. Tell them that God longs to have a relationship with his people and so he has enabled us to talk to him through prayer. God is not distant or uninvolved in his world or with his people. He is very present and is always listening to the prayers of his people. 

Tell them that prayer is simply talking to God. Explain that when we pray, we give God his rightful place in our lives. We acknowledge gratefully that he gives and sustains life, and we trust him in all circumstances. In the same way that we build relationships with friends and family through talking, our relationship with God will grow and mature as we spend time talking to him. 

Activity:  Give each child a turn. Whisper in his or her ear one of the types of communication listed below. They should use motions but no speech to act out the word. When one word is guessed, let another child come up and act out the next word on the list. 

Talking 

Letter 

Email 

Phone call 

Text message 

Facebook 

Skype 

Facetime 

Message in a bottle 

Explain that we have many types of communication in the world today; the game included just a small selection. Remind them that God loves to communicate with his people through the Bible and prayer. God speaks to his people through his Word and then invites us to speak in response to him in prayer.

Lesson:  Begin the teaching time by asking for God’s help. Ask that the lesson would be taught faithfully and that the children might listen well. 

Explain that prayer is an essential part of the Christian life. Yet sometimes Christians don’t know how to pray in any way other than bringing lists of wants and needs to God. Ask them whether they ask their parents for things they need. Of course, they do! But is that the only thing they ever talk about with their parents? Do they ever tell their parents that they love them or share the interesting things going on in their lives? A good relationship includes many different kinds of communication. 

Tell them that prayer is talking to God, our heavenly Father, in response to his Word. 

Read Psalm 62. Invite the children to join you in reading aloud. Provide Bibles for the children. 

Explain that this psalm was written by a man named David, who was king in Israel. It is found in the book of Psalms in the Old Testament. Tell them that in this psalm, David encourages his hearers to pray, and in verse 8 he describes prayer by saying, “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” In this psalm, David encourages God’s people to pour out their hearts to the Lord. 

Ask what they think pouring out their heart would look like. 

Tell them it is telling God everything about our lives and what we are thinking and feeling. Ask if this kind of prayer would be easy or hard, and have them elaborate on why they think so.

David isn’t encouraging God’s people to pour out their hearts to just anyone, but to a most amazing God! Have the children search Psalm 62 to identify the different ways David describes God. (A rock, a fortress, a refuge, and the One who saves.) 

Tell them that David builds a picture of a great God who is the completely reliable and trustworthy Creator, in contrast with created people and things (vv. 4 and 10), both of which will disappoint and fail. God longs for honest and regular communication with his children. Help them to consider what talking with such a trustworthy God is like. Does it mean they can talk to him at any time and in any place? Does it mean they can tell him anything and everything? This psalm shows David trusting fully in God, and therefore relying fully on his strength. 

Tell them that the way we live is often different from the picture David paints for us. Explain that people rely on themselves, doing things in their own strength, until they can’t do it on their own anymore, and only then they turn to God. David says that if he relies on his own strength, he will be as easy to knock down as a badly built wall, but when he is relying fully on God he will not be shaken. The kind of relationship David has with God brings him rest; he doesn’t have to worry about anything. 

Remind them that prayer is gratefully recognizing that God is God, that he is in control, and that he is completely trustworthy. It is responding to all that we know of and learn about God in his Word, the Bible. When we pray this way, we demonstrate that we trust God to take care of our lives. This is a vital part of a life of faith. 

Recite:  Help children memorize this week’s verse, question and answer.

Week 37 – How does the Holy Spirit help us?

Question

How does the Holy Spirit help us?

Answer

The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, and he enables us to pray and to understand God’s Word.

Memory Verse:

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. Ephesians 6:17–18

Main Idea:

God the Holy Spirit is at work in hIs people

Outline for lesson

Introduction:  You will need a whiteboard divided into three sections. Section 1 should have “The Role of a Teacher” written at the top; section 2 should have “The Role of a Parent” written at the top; and section 3 should have “The Role of a Soccer Coach” written at the top. Write the following on individual slips of paper: 

Teaching children to read

Organizing school events 

Teaching children how to behave in the classroom 

Planning lessons 

Training players 

Developing new ball skills 

Teaching team members how to be good sports

Giving pointers on how to score

Planning match tactics 

Providing pregame nutritional advice

Doing the laundry 

Cooking meals 

Teaching children to obey

Comforting children when they have a bad dream 

Keeping the family safe 

Lay out the fifteen different pieces of paper and invite the children to stick them on the whiteboard (using Sticky Tack) in one of the three sections. Encourage the children to consider which action is consistent with the role of a parent, teacher, or soccer coach. The aim of this activity is to help the children understand the role and responsibilities that come with a job title. Introduce Question 37: “How does the Holy Spirit help us?”

Explain to the children that this lesson will help them understand more about the role of God the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian.

Activity:  The Bible references below speak of the role of the Holy Spirit. Stick the Bible references up around the room. Do not include the job titles. 

John 14:16 (helper) 

John 14:27 (giver of peace) 

John 15:26 (helper and teacher) 

John 16:7-8 (helper and convictor of sin) 

John 16:13 (teacher of truth)

Romans 8:11 (giver of life) 

Romans 8:26 (helper in prayer) 

Divide the children into small groups and assign each group one or two verses. Give each group a Bible. Tell the children that they need to figure out the role or job description for the Holy Spirit by looking up their Bible verses and figuring out what they say about the role of the Holy Spirit. Once the children have had sufficient time to investigate their verses, ask them to share what they’ve discovered about the Holy Spirit.Write a job description list for the Holy Spirit on the whiteboard. Ask the children if anything surprised them or confused them. Assure them that the teaching time will bring more clarity.

Lesson:  Have Q37 illustrations of Roman Armor (RB) ready. 

Begin the teaching time by asking for God’s help. Ask that the lesson would be taught faithfully and that the children might listen well. 

Remind the children that God the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity and that he has a vital role in bringing people to faith in God and also in helping God’s people to live for him in the world. The Holy Spirit indwells Christian believers the moment they put their trust in Jesus, and from that time onward he is at work in Christians, helping them to understand more about Jesus and to become more like Jesus. Highlight for the children all the different things detailed on the Holy Spirit’s job description (which they listed when they looked up the Bible references) to emphasize how significant he is for Christians. Particularly remind the children that the Holy Spirit convicts people of their sin, helps Christians to pray, and helps them understand the Bible. 

Read Ephesians 6:10—20. Provide Bibles for the children to read along. Hold up the illustrations of Roman armor while you read. 

Explain to the children that Paul is writing to the Christians in Ephesus and is preparing them to contend for Jesus in the world. He uses the imagery of Roman armor to help them understand how to equip themselves for war against the Devil, who works to keep people away from Jesus. Paul writes about putting on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, the shield of faith, and the helmet of salvation. Paul also speaks about taking up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; this is the only weapon Paul identifies as necessary for facing the battle.

 Ask the children what a sword is capable of. It can do real damage; it can pierce and wound and even kill. Ask the children what they think Paul is saying by describing the Bible as the sword of the Spirit. 

Explain to the children that God describes his Word as a sword (Heb. 4:12). God also declares that his Word was written down by men inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:20—21). So, the sword of the Spirit comes from God. 

God’s Word protects Christians from spiritual attack as they study it and believe God’s promises. It cuts away the truth from the lies told by the world. 

Paul also commands the Ephesian Christians to pray in the Spirit. This is a great reminder that the Holy Spirit is an essential component of a Christian’s prayer life. Explain to the children that to pray in the Spirit means to pray in a way that is consistent with God’s Word. Ask the children to think of ways people might pray that are not consistent with God’s Word. Ask them to give examples of ways to pray in line with God’s Word. Remind the children that the Holy Spirit lives in each Christian and that he also prays for each Christian (Rom. 8:26). 

Explain to the children that God knew his people would struggle with prayer, so he didn’t leave his people without help. He sent the Holy Spirit to teach, encourage, and expose the hearts and minds of Christians. He leads, instructs, and inspires the prayers of Christians. 

Recite:  Help children memorize this week’s verse, question and answer.

Week 36 – What do we believe about the Holy Spirit?

Question

What do we believe about the Holy Spirit?

Answer

That he is God, coeternal with the Father and the Son

Memory Verse:

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:16–17

Main Idea:

The Holy Spirit is God, and He is an eternal member of the Trinity.

Outline for lesson

  1. Open in prayer: Gracious God, thank you that you call us to become citizens of heaven. Thank you that I can confidently know that my home is in heaven with you and that I have been chosen to be your precious possession, holy and set apart for your glory. Help me to live a fruitful life of gratitude to you. May my life bear great witness to you. Grant understanding to the children who will hear this lesson. May they clearly understand that salvation is by grace through faith and that the right response to you is a thankful heart. In Jesus’s name. Amen.
  2. Introduction: Ask the children what it means to help someone. Invite them to name members of the helping professions. They will most likely think of: 
    Doctor     Nurse     Firefighter     Police Officer     Paramedic     Teacher     Soldier 

    Explain to the children that this lesson is all about the special helper that God sends to his people in his world. God knew that his people would always need his help, and so he promised to be with them to the end of the age. Introduce Question  36: “What do we believe about the Holy Spirit?” 

    Remind the children that Question 3 of the catechism teaches that there are three persons in one God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Tell the children that this question will help them to learn more about God the Holy Spirit, who is the promised helper.
  3. Activity:  Explain to the children that you are going to make some statements about the Holy Spirit and they must decide whether the statement is true or false. Instruct the children to go to the left-hand side of the room if they think the statement is true and the right-hand side of the room if they think the statement is false. Tell the children they can stand in the middle of the room if they are unsure of the answer. 

    1. The Holy Spirit first appears in the New Testament. 
    False The Holy Spirit is coeternal with God and was present at the creation of the world (Gen. 1:1).

    2. The Holy Spirit is a person.
    True The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. 

    3. The Holy Spirit lives in all people.
    False The Holy Spirit dwells in those who have been born again (Rom. 8:9—10). 

    4. The Holy Spirit first appeared on the day of Pentecost. 
    False Holy Spirit came upon believers on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2: 1—13), but he has existed eternally and been active throughout history (1 Sam. 16:13). 

    5. Holy Spirit is the promised helper.
    True Jesus promised to send someone in his place when he ascended into heaven (John 14: Holy Spirit is that promised helper. 

    6. The Holy Spirit is equal to the Father and the Son in the Trinity. 
    True Yes, the Holy Spirit is equal to the Father and the Son in the Trinity. The Trinity is made up of three equal persons in one God. 

    7. The Holy Spirit loves the Father and the Son. 
    True The members of the Godhead have always existed in a loving relationship (1 John 4:16). 

    To conclude this activity, ask the children to finish these statements: 
    The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is ? (Answer: God) 
    The Son is not the Father, the Father is not the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is not the? (Answer: Son or Father)
  4. Lesson:  Read John 14:15—31. Provide Bibles for the children to read along. 
    Explain to the children that in this passage in John, Jesus is speaking to his disciples. He is explaining that one day he will have to leave them, but he promises that he will send someone else to be with them. Jesus describes the One who will come as another helper, a person like Jesus. 

    In verse 17, Jesus makes it clear who this helper will be; he calls him the Spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit is the promised helper. Tell the children that sometimes people think the Holy Spirit is just a life force or strange power, but in the Bible, the Holy Spirit is always portrayed as a person. That means he has a will and he acts. Even more, the Holy Spirit is described as God (Acts 5:3—4). 

    The disciples were very sad at the thought of Jesus leaving them, but he reassured them that they would never be alone in life because of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. And they would one day be in Jesus’s presence again. 

    Highlight for the children that this is a most amazing gift to Christians! The Holy Spirit lives in them at Jesus’s request. The people in the helping professions assist others only on occasions of need, but the Holy Spirit is with God’s people all the time to help because he lives in them! 

    Ask the children how significant they think the presence of the Holy Spirit is in the life of the Christian. Explain that there is no similar idea in any other religion. The fact that God the Holy Spirit lives in Christians is truly unique. 

    God the Holy Spirit comes to live in Christians to help them learn more about Jesus and understand more about Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the teacher of truth (v. 26) and he is a bringer of peace (v. 27). 

    Conclude this teaching time by explaining to the children that the Holy Spirit:
    is personal 
    is God 
    is a gift for Christians, but the rest of the world cannot see or understand him 
    reveals more of Jesus to God’s people

Recite: Help children memorize this week’s verse, question and answer.