None of us would deny that there is power in prayer. We would also agree that prayer is an essential spiritual discipline for the Christian. And yet where in the church is this spiritual discipline taught? Where do we learn more than how to do corporate prayer? Where is prayer modeled? Where are we held accountable to keep our promises to pray? Where do we learn the importance of taking every detail of life to the Lord in prayer?
Sunday School is a great community in which prayer can be taught, modeled, encouraged, practiced, and checked on. For some people, ideas are needed to get started. Lessons on prayer can help, but the best lessons are ones in which prayer is actually practiced. Group experiences help some to reinforce the value of private prayer.
Chuck Lawless has written a great article entitled 10 Ideas to Power-up Your Church to Pray. I like his statement that “a praying church becomes a praying church only by praying together.” That is also true for a praying class and a praying disciple! I want to share his ten ideas and focus them on the Sunday School class. In Part 1, I will share the first five of Chuck’s ideas which are listed in all capitals followed by my commentary:
- FOCUS ON THE FAMILY PRAYING. There are several ways to approach this method. Pray for one class family every week; repeat multiple times during the year for smaller classes. Divide the church membership into 52 sections and pray for different church families every week. I like Chuck’s comment: “This method helps the congregation get to know one another, particularly in a growing church” Another idea is to rotate praying for age groups each week during the month: Week 1-preschoolers; Week 2-children; Week 3-youth; and Week 4-adults.
- CHURCH CALENDAR PRAYING. As a class, stop to pray for the activities of the church and their impact on the Kingdom. This could be done once a week for all activities of the week or daily for the church calendar events of the day. Pray for God’s leadership as activities are planned. Pray for people to come to Christ. Pray for people to grow as disciples and leaders. Pray for relationships to be developed.
- TARGETED PRAYING. Pray for people in the community who are the age group of the class. Ask God to prepare their hearts. Pray for opportunities to love them to Jesus. Pray for opportunities to invite them to class, to class fellowships, to homes, and to church. Chuck suggests praying for specific groups within the community “like teachers, police officers, and government officials” and make sure to “inform the groups that you are praying for them and invite them to submit concerns.”
- DRIVE-BY PRAYING. There are so many directions to go with this prayer opportunity. Ask class members to pray for the people who live around them as they drive home each day. Pray for their needs. Another option is to assign streets to class members and ask them to drive by and pray beginning on a certain day for a number of weeks.
- PROGRESSIVE DINNER PRAYING. Why not plan a fun fellowship around food and prayer? Plan various courses of the meal at the homes of class members: appetizer, salad, main course, and dessert with a special prayer emphasis or focus at each home. Consider praying for friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors of class members or of the host home.
In Part 2, I will share the second five of Chuck’s ideas: birthday celebration, prayer survey, prayer points, spotlight the children, and neighborhood walk praying. There are hundreds of ways that prayer can be practiced. Don’t just ask your class to pray; teach them! Even better: stop talking about it and begin doing it! Lead your class to practice prayer. Watch as they grow as disciples! Be revolutionary!