Theme: Prayer

BIBLE READING

1 Timothy chapter 2 verses 1-7

INTRODUCTION

Can anyone tell me what people are doing when they pray? I wonder if you choose to say prayers at any time? (Don’t ask for personal responses here unless children seem keen to offer them.)   Some people may say them at home, or at church, or at school in assembly, they might say them when they are looking at something beautiful, or feeling worried.   Some prayers very easy to say … like asking God to take care of my family or friends or even pets … or maybe thinking about some of the places we see on the TV where there is war or disaster … or people who have to live without a home. (You may refer to something current here.) Those kinds of prayers are quite easy to say if you care about the people you are praying for.

The prayers that most people find difficult are the prayers we are told to say for all those people they do not like very much. We have a letter in the Bible written by the great Christian leader Paul to his young friend Timothy telling him he must pray for everyone – not just the people he liked.

THE MESSAGE

Jesus told his disciples that we must not bear grudges; when his friend Peter was moaning a bit, he asked Jesus whether he should forgive someone as many as seven times before he could “lose it” – no, said Jesus, much more than that 70 x7! (How much is that? Could you keep going that long? Should you actually be counting?) So yes, we should pray as much for those people we do not like as we do for all those people we do like! And this can sometimes be very difficult, especially when we think they have been deliberately nasty to us. Jesus told his disciples that, just like these other people, we have been bad at times – and God forgave us – so we must forgive others and pray for those we do not like. – Even if they have been very nasty to us.

All of this sounds, and is, quite difficult and sometimes we can find it very difficult to forgive someone when they have said something that makes us feel hurt. But we can always remember Jesus’ message that God forgives us whenever we say something that hurts someone else … and so we must forgive as God forgives us.

In Paul’s letter to Timothy he tells the churches to pray for everyone including the Kings and those in authority (government). Now in Timothy’s time, not all of the Kings were good -some were really evil. Even in our own country’s history some kings and queens have acted badly towards Christians and the Church. But throughout the whole time, the Church never stopped its prayers for the King or Queen -and it still prays for them today. (This could be an opportunity to remind the school about last term’s Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations and how special these were for everyone.)

PRAYER

Try to think of the person or people you dislike the most … (Pause) Now think that of the times you have hurt someone else …(Pause) Now try to pray for both them and yourself as you and me are forgiven by God… and have an opportunity to start again.

Lord God, Help me to be more like you in the way I treat people. Help me to continue praying for those who mean a lot to me … my family, my friends, my neighbours, my school … But also help me to learn to forgive those I do not like … and help me to pray for them too Lord. Amen

Taking the theme further this week you could: think about different kinds of prayer, including the importance of remembering to say thank you to God e.g: the healing of the ten lepers. Luke chp 17 vss11-19; in everything give thanks! I Thessalonians chp 5 vss 6-18;  or praying for the needs of others (Intercessions) choose two or three items from you LOCAL newspaper and discuss how they affect the children themselves and other people in the area.