Teaching Students How to Pray

Prayer can be beautiful and raw yet also daunting. It reminds me of my vulnerability. It shatters my illusion of control. It runs completely against my instincts.

Instead of hurry, I am told to wait.

Instead of work, I am told to rest.

Instead of worry, I am told to believe.

The vulnerability of prayer, however, ushers me into an intimacy with God that can be found no other way. It is a key spiritual discipline that leads to spiritual maturity.

3 Resources to Help You Teach Students How to Pray

  1. PRAY Method

With my senior girls, I built a three-week series with two weeks focusing on Matthew 6 with my testimony sandwiched in between. On the third week, I introduced my girls to the PRAY method.

When teaching this method, I had the girls identify where in the Lord’s Prayer they found each component. Then I added a couple thoughts and discussion questions of my own.

  • P – PRAISE
    • “hallowed be your name”
    • In different seasons, different attributes of God often stand out to us. What attribute of God are you most thankful for right now?
    • Reminding ourselves who God is and reflecting on His attributes helps us fix our eyes on the right things. In light of your circumstances, what do you presently need to remember and praise God for?
  • R – REPENT
    • “forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors”
    • What are some typical sins senior girls are struggling with?
    • (for reflection) What sin in your life have you not asked forgiveness for?
  • A – ASK
    • “give us this day our daily bread”
    • What do you need?
    • Who are you praying for to come to know Jesus?
  • Y – YIELD
    • “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”
    • Is there a situation in your life that you are trying to control? How can this verse be comforting?
    • Sometimes I want an explanation from God in deep loss – my question of “why?” echoes off the walls of pain. How can the following quote be comforting while in painful circumstances? – “The greatest gift God can give me is HIMSELF. Getting to know HIM is a greater gift than the answer of why.”

2. Icebreaker Videos to Introduce Prayer

Meet the Parents

I used this the first week as a funny way to introduce motives behind prayer. In the movie Greg is wanting to impress his girlfriend’s parents.

Molly Bruno – Prayer Warrior

Discussion Questions

What is something she said that stood out to you?

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your prayer life right now?

War Room

I used this video to introduce the prayer activity.

 

“Prayer does not change God, but it changes Him who prays.” –Soren Kierkegaard


3. Prayer Activity

Instead of teaching the whole time on prayer, I deeply enjoyed the last week where we set aside group time to actually pray. Instead of simply setting a timer, however, I created a 15-minute interactive prayer activity incorporating the PRAY method (with suggested verses that they could pray). You can find it here in the members’ suite!

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Conclusion –

As I teach, I am often reminded how much I have yet to learn. Yet I often find that my greatest challenge is not typically what I have yet to learn, but what I have yet to believe. For example, I know a lot about prayer but struggle to value a discipline that requires less activity and more stillness in the craziness of life.

Yet I find myself halted by the power of stories. Hearing stories about prayer in the midst heartache, tight deadlines and the unknown moves a spiritual idea to real life application. It reminds my heart that He is listening and responding. It prompts me not to give up. It stirs in my heart a desire to pray.

So as you teach methods, show videos or do activities – don’t forget the power of story. It can go a long way!

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