Way to Pray, Part 2
April 11, 2020
I sat down for lunch with a few students, and across from me Michael did something quite strange while we all bowed our heads and privately said a short blessing for our food. Michael sat down, looked right at his sandwich, then pushed the sandwich out in front of him toward me. I thought, That’s a bit dangerous, putting your lunch in arm’s reach of me. He bowed his head, prayed for a few seconds, and then lifted his head, smiled, reached forward, recovered his sandwich, and began to eat. I didn’t say anything.
Each week I would jockey for position to sit in front of Michael to see if he did this regularly. Every time I ate with Michael and his friends he would repeat this little ritual without failure. I had to know what in the world he was doing. So I asked, “Michael, why do you push your food away from you while you pray before you eat?”
He hung his head down for a second and then replied, “My best friend committed suicide two years ago.”
“Oh, Michael, I’m sorry; I had no idea,” I replied.
Michael continued. “During the funeral I thought about how little I had prayed for him. As a matter of fact, the day he died I spent more time praying for my food to be blessed than for my best friend to be saved. So when I pray I push my food forward and pray for my friends. And I think God knows that I’m also thankful I have a sandwich to eat.”
Three times a day (maybe more, knowing how teenagers eat) Michael would lift up his friends, not out of guilt or fear, but because grace is more than blessing a sandwich.—Pastor Troy
Memory Text: “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers” (1 Peter 4:7, NKJV).
Our Beliefs, no. 24, Christ’s Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary: “The investigative judgement reveals to heavenly intelligences . . . who among the living are abiding in Christ, keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and in Him, therefore, are ready for translation into His everlasting kingdom.”
Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 107, 108.
Read James 5:16.
Justin prays regularly to God, and if you were to ask him, he would say that prayer is the most important part of his faith. But he feels really uncomfortable praying out loud in front of others because it is so personal. He doesn’t want to fake it, but he feels guilty when he is asked to pray and he refuses. What would you say to him to help encourage him? What do you think he should do, if anything?
Read Hebrews 4:14-16; Revelation 8:3, 4.
We are living in the last days. It is important that we pray that we will be found right with God. It is also important that we pray for those who have not given their lives to Him. We and those around us will either be found worthy of heaven or we won’t. The Holy Spirit will help us know how to pray, but it is up to us to come to God in prayer.
What does it mean to be alert and sober so we can pray?
Why is it important to pray for others?
Unscramble and write the Bible verse below to find out why we should pray for others.
“books the in written were which things the by works their to according judged were dead the And Life of Book the is which opened was book another And opened were books and God before standing great and small dead the saw I And” (Revelation 20:12, NKJV).
Read Romans 8:26, 27.
Even the most skeptical person in the world will have moments when they lift their eyes to heaven and say something to God, even if they are not sure anyone is listening. Most people sense that “Someone” is listening.
You have heard the saying “You can’t get there from here.” Well, it’s probably true that you can’t know God without praying. There are no shortcuts, back doors, or simple tricks to get to God without having an honest open conversation with Him. Whether it be a planned encounter or just some random conversation, young people who pray develop a peace and a presence of mind that cause them to stand out.
Using the New International Version of the Bible, look up the texts below and fill in the blanks. (If you don’t have the NIV version of the Bible, go to www.biblegateway.com and click on Passage Lookup.)
1. Matthew 6:9-13: “This, then, is how you should: ‘Our in heaven, be your, your come, your be done, on as it is in heaven. Give us today our bread. And forgive us our, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And us not into, but us from the evil one.’”
2. 1 Samuel 12:23: “As for me, far be it from me that I should against the by failing to for you. And I will you the that is and.”
3. Romans 8:26, 27: “In the same way, the helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we to for, but the himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who our knows the mind of the Spirit, because the intercedes for God’s people in with the of God.”
4. Colossians 4:2-4: “Devote yourselves to, being and. And for us, too, that God may a door for our, so that we may the of Christ, for which I am in chains. that I may it, as I should.”
5. 1 Peter 4:7: “The end of all is near. Therefore be and of so that you may.”
6. James 5:16: “Therefore your to each other and for each other so that you may be. The prayer of a person is and.”
7. Mark 11:24, 25: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you for in, that you have it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything anyone, them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your.”
Read Mark 11:24, 25.
Review the memory text.
Prayer is a vehicle for God’s grace. If you are going to receive it—you will have to talk to Him about it. And the moment you lift your attention toward heaven all heaven stops, and waits. In Mark 10 a blind man cries out to Jesus, and He stops. A woman makes a last-ditch attempt to find healing by touching His garment, and as soon as her fingers touch the cloth He stops. When Zacchaeus is keeping his distance in a tree, Jesus stops. When the Syrophoenician woman calls out at a distance for help, Jesus stops and heals her daughter at a distance.
At the well, in the house, on the mountains, in the boat, on the water, under the water—the result is always the same: When we lift our attention to God in prayer everything stops and you have His undivided attention. Incredible. So what keeps you from praying? Has it been a while? He’s not keeping score; talk to Him. Do you fumble around for things to say? Talk to Him on paper, in a song, in your mind, out loud, but don’t pass up a chance to literally stop the world and talk to its Maker. You will be different because of it.
Read Matthew 6:9-13.
Here are some different ways to pray this week:
Say as much as you want to God about these four things in order:
The Lord’s Other Prayer (John 17 prayer)
Pray With David
Scan through some of the psalms in which David prays and pray for the same things David prays for—in your own words.
Pray for the Big Picture
On one day, pray about all the big things that are happening and what needs to happen (examples: the gospel going to the ends of the earth, world leaders to be converted, relief from major disasters, cures for cancer, etc.).
Write Out a Prayer to God as a Letter
For a computer adventure in praying the Scriptures for your friends and letting them know, go to www.prayitsayit.net