Prayer is a vital part of our daily walk with God.
Sometimes students don't know what to pray about or how to talk to God.
The Lord’s Prayer was given to us by Jesus as an example to teach us how to worship, make requests, and ask for forgiveness and strength.
It’s not a magical formula that forces God to do what we want, but rather shows us our need for God and how to present our needs to Him.
Use this preteen lesson on The Lord’s Prayer to remind students that Jesus taught us how to pray.
- Nick Diliberto, Preteen Ministry
PRETEEN LESSON ON THE LORD’S PRAYER
Written by Stef Litzler
Bible: Matthew 6:5-15
Bottom Line: Jesus Taught Us How to Pray.
- Pen and paper for each student
- Bibles or a print out of the Lord’s Prayer
- 2 Loafs of sliced bread
- 2 Plates or paper towels
- 2 Stacks of strips of paper with the Lord’s Prayer written on them (KJV)
- Our Father which art in heaven,
- hallowed be thy name
- Thy kingdom come
- Thy will be done
- on earth as it is in heaven
- Give us this day our daily bread,
- and forgive us our trespasses
- as we forgive those who trespass against us,
- and lead us not into temptation
- but deliver us from evil
- For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever
OPENING GAME: DAILY BREAD STACK
Type and print (or write out) the Lord’s prayer on 12 strips of paper.
Make one set for each team.
Divide the students into two teams.
Give each team a loaf of sliced bread.
Scatter one set of the strips of paper on one side of the room and the 2nd set on the opposite side.
HOW TO PLAY THE GAME
Say: Today we are going to play a game called the “Daily Bread Stack.”
You will be divided into two teams tocompete against eachother.
The goal is to be the first team to create a giant sandwich with parts of the Lord’s prayer in between each piece of bread.
When I say “GO,” your team will collect the Lord’s Prayer strips.
Teams will use their plate, bread, and strips of paper to make the “Daily Bread Stack.”
Teams will stack the parts of the Lord’s Prayer in order from bottom to top.
The last strip before the top piece of bread should say “Amen!”
The first team to stack the prayer shouts “Amen!” and we will confirm that their stack is correct by reading their prayer with the strips from top to bottom.
Say: Today,we are talking about talking to God.
We are going topray about praying to God.
Our lesson is about “The Lord’s Prayer.”
This prayer (made popular by Jesus) is a prayer that many people pray corporately, meaning they pray it as a united group of people.
Ask: Have you ever prayed this prayer with others?
Allow a few responses from students.
Here’s the thing…
Jesus taught us to pray this way.
He wanted His disciples to use this as a model when they prayed.
This was the model prayer!
Let’s read this part of the Gospel of Matthew together and hear what Jesus was teaching.
Read Matthew 6:5-15. (NIV)
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others.
Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.
Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “This, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Say: Before Jesus shares with His disciples how they SHOULD pray, He also shares how NOT to pray.
Let’s start with the GREATEST SHOWMAN!
Now we’re not talking about the movie, but we are talking about someone who wants to put on a show.
Imagine a theatrical presentation of prayer for all to see and hear.
Can you guys help me come up with examples of what this would look and sound like?
Allow students to give their ideas and demonstrate… this can be silly and fun.
I think a lot of you have theatrical skills!
Jesus addresses this kind of theatrical prayer because there are religious people who want others to see how GREAT they are.
The next type of praying people that Jesus addresses are the BABBLERS.
When I think of babbling I think of babies.
Jesus said that the pagans prayed with babbling.
When you babble, you continue repeating yourself for a lengthy period of time.
Babies don’t have much to say so they repeat similar words or phrases.
Jesus is saying these pagan prayers have no focus.
Sometimes we use a lot of words to seem intelligent or important.
Sometimes we use a lot of words because we are terrible listeners and want so badly for others to hear what we’re saying.
But Jesus says that the Father already knows what we need and what we are trying to say.
Prayer isn’t about others seeing you, hearing you, or being impressed by you.
Prayer is about connecting with God.
Prayer is about being obedient.
Prayer is about listening to God’s will and doing what He requires.
And the good news is… Jesus shows us how to pray!
So, let’s dig in to The Lord’s Prayer.
The first thing we need to understand is that Jesus wasn’t expecting His disciples to pray this exact prayer.
He didn’t say “when you pray, pray these exact words.”
He said “this is HOW you should pray.”
In order to know how to pray, we have to understand the parts of the Lord’s Prayer.
I want everyone to keep their paper and pen/pencil close by because we are all going to write our own prayer modeled after the one Jesus shared.
PRAISE & ADORATION: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”
Galatians 4:6 says, “And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, "Abba, Father.”
We get to call God, OUR FATHER!
He is our Heavenly Father who is to be praised, respected, worshipped, and exalted.
In our prayers, it is important that we proclaim His name and recognize His greatness.
Take the time to tell Him about His characteristics that are helpful for you.
Let’s pause right now and each proclaim one of God’scharacteristics.
Say: “God is…”
Now take a few moments to pray this way and write praises to God for who He is to you.
SUBMISSION: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.”
This part of the prayer is our desire that God reigns over everything in our lives.
When we pray to God we recognize that He is in control.
Our desire should be for Him to reign over our world in addition to His reign in heaven.
When Jesus prayed, He recognized God’s will.
Just before going to the cross, Luke 22 tells us that Jesus went to the garden to pray.
Jesus is about to be arrested and he prays… “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
We will all face situations where we might not understand why things are happening.
We might not understand why someone is sick.
We might be angry that someone got hurt.
We might feel lonely.
We might be afraid.
But no matter our circumstances, we pray that God’s will be the most important thing to us.
We never know what God is trying to do through us, so we have to submit to Him.
Say: Now take a few moments to pray this way and submit to God and give yourself to Him.
THANKS: “Give us this day our daily bread.”
We know that all we have belongs to the Lord.
God gives us what we need for each day.
By asking for Him to provide what we need, we recognize that He is our provider.
Our basic needs come from God.
Requesting daily bread keeps a thankful heart within in us.
When we address who our daily bread comes from, we are also thankful for the source!
God will take care of you.
When you sit down for your meals or lie down in your bed at night, remember the one who provides and THANK HIM!
Say: Now take a few moments to pray this way and write thanks to God and ask Him for what you need in your life.
CONFESSION: “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
In other translations, this verse says forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
We are sinners.
Jesus took the punishment for our sin on the cross.
Even after we give our lives to Jesus, we still sin.
We will never be perfect as longaswe are humans on this earth.
Jesus is showing His disciples that it is important to ask for forgiveness.
God wants us to recognize our sin and confess it to Him.
He is in the business of forgiveness!
But this prayer also suggests that in order for us to receive forgiveness from God, we must be willing to forgive others.
When we truly understand God’s forgiveness, it is much easier to forgive people who have hurt us.
Say: Now take a few moments to pray this way and write to God, asking Him to forgive you for specific sins you have in your life.
Also take a few moments to pray this way and write to God, forgiving someone for something they did that hurt you.
REQUESTS: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
We can’t resist temptation without God’s power.
We need God’s help to keep us from our sin.
We serve a God who leads us OUT of temptation, not into it!
Say: Now take a few moments to pray this way and write requests, asking God to keep you from harm and help you armor up against the evil one!
DOXOLOGY: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.”
This part of the popularly recited Lord’s Prayer is a part of later manuscripts so many of your versions of the Bible may not have it listed.
Some people think it mirrors a prayer that David prayed in 1 Chronicles.
What do you think?
Read 1 Chronicles 29:11
“Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.”
I can definitely hear similarities in these prayers!
This is simply a closing of praise to the prayer.
How would you finish your prayer?
Say: Now take a few moments to pray this way and praise God with an ending to your prayer.
Now that we have created our own prayers modeled after the one that Jesus taught, let’s take some time to sit together and pray.
We’re just going to do what’s called “popcorn prayer”.
I’ll pick someone to start and someone to close, and if you feel led, you can pray any part of the prayer you’ve written to God today.
Allow time for prayer and then move to discussion.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- If you didn’t get to share earlier, tell us if there was a time you prayed “The Lord’s Prayer”with others.
- In “The Lord’s Prayer,”Jesus was modeling how to pray for His disciples.
Who has been a good example of how to pray in your life?
- What part of “The Lord’s Prayer”that we discussed today is difficult for you to pray?
- What part of “The Lord’s Prayer”is easiest for you to pray?
- Where do you find it easiest to talk to God?
Where do you like to pray?
- Does your family pray at meal times?
Why do you think it is common for families and friends to pray before meals?
- What kinds of things are tempting for you and cause you to sin?
Do any of you have an example of a time you prayed to God to help keep you from the things that were tempting you?
- Do you often use the term “Father” when you pray to God?
Why or why not?
- Early on we talked about the “Greatest Showman” prayers and the “Babbler.”
Do you struggle with either of these?
- Are you afraid to pray out loud or with others? Why?
Do you think that Jesus’ instructions on prayer can help you overcome this fear?
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