WHEN YOU PRAY
Scriptures: Matthew 6:5–13; Luke 23:32–34; John 11:38–44
Memory verse: Matthew 6:9–13
(These verses are called "The Lord's Prayer." Memorize all of it.)
Today's lesson on prayer is very, very important. If we pray, God responds and great things happen. If we do not pray, we are on our own. Only limited things will happen. Prayer is not a matter of choice. It is a necessary requirement in living a victorious Christian life and fulfilling God's good purpose.
The word "choice" is defined as "the right or opportunity to choose." For example, we may choose when we will eat food. Eating food is a regular thing that happens in our life, but we have the right to determine at what time eating will occur in our daily schedule.
However, eating food is necessary in order for the body to function properly. If you choose not to eat, you will endure the consequence. To live, you must eat! If not, you will suffer and die. Eating is not something we choose to do or not to do. Eating regularly is required to stay healthy.
Ask: Are there other examples you can give of things that are not a matter of choice? (Allow responses.)
Prayer for believers in Christ is not a matter of choice. It is a requirement, a necessity, and a duty to be fulfilled in order to please God. Through prayer the believer is able to maintain a good, close relationship with our Lord.
Hearing God's Word
Prayer was a big part of Jesus' life. He liked to pray privately—often in the hills or a garden. Yet, He prayed in public too. Standing at the tomb of Lazarus, He prayed: "Father, I thank you that you have heard me...." (John 11:41–42). On the Cross, He prayed publicly: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). Jesus did not consider prayer to be a burden. Rather, He looked forward to His time with the Father. The practice was as natural as eating or breathing.
The disciples observed Jesus' prayer life and asked Him to teach them how to pray. This is what He told them. When you pray: (Matthew 6:5–8)
"Do not be like the hypocrites...."
Hypocrites are people who want everybody to think there are things they can do, truth they can teach, and compassion they can show for others. Yet, they do not possess any of these qualities.
Ask: Can you give an example of a hypocrite? (Allow responses.)
"Go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen."
Spend time with the Father—just you and God. In a quiet place, thinking about God's Word, worshipping Him with singing, and talking to Him about the things that are on your heart. God likes to be alone with you. Enjoy His presence. He will reward you by answering your prayers.
"Do not keep on babbling like pagans...."
People babble when they talk, talk, talk and never listen. They babble when they fail to think about what they are saying. When people repeat the same words over and over and over again, they are babbling.
Repeating your request over and over again to God is not necessary. Jesus said that He knows what you need before you even ask Him. However, it is important to speak thoughtfully and clearly to the Lord about those things that concern you. He is pleased with that kind of praying and has been waiting for you to make known your request to Him.
The Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9–13)
"This, then, is how you should pray:"
Jesus decided to teach His disciples how to pray by giving them an example. The model shows how a prayer should begin, what should be included and the order in which those concerns are to be presented. Christians call this prayer "The Lord's Prayer." It is good to memorize it, and from time to time, make it your prayer to God.
Ask: Why is it important to memorize the Lord's Prayer? (Allow responses.)
Jesus wanted the disciples to understand that it is easy to pray. This is possible because God is pleased with a simple prayer.
"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,"
Prayer is to be directed to God the Father, the Creator of heaven and earth. He is holy—deserving honour and respect.
"Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."
Prayer is submitting to God. He wants His Son, Jesus, to sit on the throne of your heart and rule as Lord and Master. God has a plan for your life. Your prayer should reflect the submission of your desires and ambitions to the plan of your heavenly Father.
"Give us this day our daily bread."
Prayer expresses our need for the Lord's usual, daily provisions: food, water, sleep, clothing, housing and other necessities. All that is needed to fulfil God's plan for your life is included.
"And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors."
Prayer reflects a forgiving attitude. Debts refer to your transgressions, your sins. You ask the Lord to forgive your sins and He graciously cleanses you and forgives you. He expects you to do the same for those who offend you. The forgiven are always forgiving. There is certainly a connection between what God does and what you do.
"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."
Prayer recognizes the need for God's protection from the evil one, Satan.
"For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen." NKJV
Prayer acknowledges the greatness, the authority and worth of the Almighty God.
Accepting God's Word
Are you ready to pray? "Come near to God and he will come near to you" (James 4:8). Enjoy His presence. In His presence, present your request to Him.
Ask: What are some requests you would like to present to God today? (Allow responses.)
(Take time to pray with the students about their requests. Then, close this part of the study by praying the Lord's Prayer together.)
Present the information about the Machinga tribe given below. Show the video, if possible.
Meet the Machinga
Born-again Believers: 2.0%
SEE THE VIDEO
The Machinga’s homeland is nestled between Lindi and Kilwa Kivinje in a mountainous area inland from the Indian Ocean coast of Tanzania. Their name is fitting for Machinga means "mountains."
The life of villagers living along the coast revolves around the fishing industry. They construct their own boats, maintain them and market their catch of the day. Inland, up in the mountains, the people rely on produce grown on their small farms.
The Machinga value education. Each village has a primary school but secondary schools are regional, serving a number of villages. As an example, one secondary school has a good complex with buildings constructed from cement blocks, stuccoed exteriors and with aluminium roofs. The school has an enrolment of around 400 students. The administrators and teachers are non-Machinga personnel. The students are housed in private homes in the local village.
A happy marriage is highly valued too. The groom is asked to pay a small dowry for his bride and to take good care of her. It is rather common for the Machinga to intermarry with their Mwera neighbours.
Islam dominates the Machinga society. Attendance at the mosque is important and great emphasis is placed on training their children at the madrassa. Often the madrassa structure is superior to that of the mosque.
A village may be totally Islamic but a majority of the people is only Muslim by birth. These nominal Islamic peoples are fertile soil in which to sow the gospel. However, historically new converts are pressured to return to Islam and Christian workers are driven from their villages. Outsiders in government service or teachers in their schools who are Christians usually practice their faith covertly.
Jesus instructed all believers in Matthew 9:38, "Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers (government personnel, school teachers, businessmen, messengers) into his harvest field (the Machinga)."
Workers sent by the Lord will first recognize the spiritual need of the Machinga and see how few messengers are preaching the gospel to them. It is at that time the Holy Spirit will begin to burden their heart and they will understand that there is a part for them to play in introducing Jesus to the Machinga. Then comes a sincere response from the worker, "I am willing to go. Send me." May messengers respond today and may many Machinga be brought in the Kingdom of God.
REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for the Machinga Tribe
1. Machinga youth hear the gospel from a fellow student,
2. Youth to question the validity of their Muslim faith,
3. Gospel messengers unfold the truth to Machinga youth.
"My heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites (Machinga) is that they may be saved" (Romans 10:1).
MORE INFORMATION: www.linkupafrica.com
Remember: WHEN YOU PRAY
Memory verse: Matthew 6:9–13
The Lord's Prayer
1. I want prayer to be a regular part of my Christian experience.
2. I will pray the way Jesus taught His disciples to pray.
3. I will always give praise to God when He answers my prayer.
Pray for the Machinga tribe.
Study 1 | Prayer Power / Holy Spirit | africaatts.org/go-teach