In previous posts, I have stated that Christians would change the world if they simply spent time doing two things: study the Bible and pray. Sunday School should be a community of Christians that cares about the spiritual development of each other and holds one another accountable to live out of a daily relationship with God.
Sunday School should do more than teach group Bible study and group prayer. Group experiences are great, but every believer needs to understand how to do both privately. Unfortunately, many Christians feel satisfied after the group experience and then seek no other encounter with God in Bible study and prayer through the week. That leads to weak, less powerful, less God-directed believers.
What can Sunday School do to reinforce these two spiritual disciplines? I have written other posts about this issue. Check out the two series beginning with Sunday School Supporting Spiritual Disciplines, Part 1, Leading Attenders to Meet God in Bible Study, Part 1, and Don’t Just ASK Your Sunday School Class to Pray, TEACH Them to DO It, Part 1. Also check out Contract Prayer as a Sunday School Class, Is Your Class a Praying Class?, Teaching Sunday School Members to Pray Through Scripture, and Sunday School, One of the Ways to Get People Involved in Studying the Bible.
I read a recent article by Roger Barrier about his book, Listening to the Voice of God. In the article and book, he shares six principles which have helped him to discern more accurately the voice of God. In Part 1, I will share his first three principles in all capitals followed by my commentary:
GOD TENDS TO SPEAK GENTLY. Teach them to listen to God’s still, small voice. Allow time in class for them to listen to Him. Set aside special time in class and away from class as a group to listen. Encourage believers to listen to God’s voice between Sundays and report on their experiences. Too often we fill every moment of awake time with sound: music, television, talking, etc. Sunday School should help believers practice silence.
GOD’S VOICE PRODUCES FREEDOM. Because of Jesus, believers have freedom from the law. As Barrier reminded us, Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” God sent Jesus to set us free from sin and its consequences. So many need release from their burdens. God’s voice offers hope and help. Sunday School can be a great community of believers to remind each other to listen to His voice, trust Him, and release our burdens.
GOD TENDS TO SPEAK WHILE WE ARE CONSCIOUSLY SEEKING HIM. Sometimes God speaks in dreams. Sometimes he interrupts life to speak to us. But I agree with Barrier that I have more often heard God’s voice when I have been intentionally seeking Him, expecting Him to speak to me. God is speaking. What can you do to help c lass members be expectant? What can you do to lead th em to seek Him and His voice? How can you help them raise their antennas, to be more intentional about listening?
Have you been listening to God’s voice? What do you need to do to practice these principles in your life? What can you do to teach them to the believers in your class? In Part 2 I will share the final three principles. Listen. Listen in Bible study. Listen in prayer. Teach others to do the same. Be revolutionary!