This simple lesson plan will help introduce children to the concept of “spiritual disciplines” with a particular focus on the importance of prayer. It’s designed for a smaller group of children, but could be adapted for any Sunday School or Children’s Church setting.
Bible Topic: Spiritual Disciplines
Scripture: 1 Timothy 4:7-8
Target Age Group: Elementary (1st -5th grade)
Learning Context: Any small group setting like Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 30 minutes
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Lesson Objective: Children will learn what spiritual disciplines are, and focus on the discipline of prayer.
Introduction: Begin the lesson by reading the key verse to the children. For older elementary, encourage a volunteer to read this verse to the group.
- 1 Timothy 4:7 “Train yourself for godliness.” ESV
- or in another translation … “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.” NASB
Explain: This verse means we have to work at being more like Christ. There are things we must do in order to be like Jesus. These are called Spiritual Disciplines. There are many Spiritual disciplines, but we will focus on:
- Reading your Bible
- Telling Others
Why do we need them?
- The Bible tells us to do these things
- Promotes spiritual growth & helps us to become more Christlike
- These are like physical exercises for the body – exercising helps our bodies to be healthy and strong. Spiritual disciplines help our minds and spirits to become strong in Christ. They are like exercises for our minds and hearts.
Spiritual Disciplines are an important part of our relationship with Christ. Each week we will focus on a different discipline as we try to understand how to live better lives for Christ.
Tonight we will focus on prayer.
Illustration: newspaper, telephone, notebook paper/pen, radio
Ask children what those things have in common. Answer: They are different ways to communicate with each other.
Who can tell me what prayer is? Answer: Prayer is a way that we communicate with God. The simple definition of prayer is talking to God.
Ask the children the following questions: (give them time to answer before telling the appropriate answer)
- Who can talk to God? Is it only adults that can talk to God? Answer: No. Everyone can talk to God.
- When can we talk to God? Answer: Anytime
- Why should we talk with God? Answer: because it makes our relationship with him stronger & because the Bible tells us we should pray. We should also pray because God wants to hear from us.
Read (or have a student read) James 5:13-16
From these verses, we can see the different times to pray. List the times we can pray, based on what the scripture said.
Times to Pray:
- When we are sick
- When we are in trouble
- To confess sin
- To show faith
- For others
- When we are happy
- At all times
The Way to Pray: (references can be found at http://www.blueletterbible.org/search/Dictionary/viewTopic.cfm?type=getTopic&topic=Prayer)
- With sincerity (with honesty) – Hebrews 10:22
- With reverence (with respect and love)
- In faith – Matthew 21:22
Not only is important to understand when we can pray, it is important to understand that our hearts must be pure before God in order to pray. We should always pray in faith, with the utmost reverence and sincerity to God.
Now, let’s review all that we have talked about today.
Review: Why should we pray? How should we pray? When can we pray? – Allow children time to answer the questions.
Craft: Prayer chains
- strips of colored construction paper
- markers, crayons, pencils
Kids will write prayer requests on strips of paper and staple them together to form chains. They tear one off each day and pray for the request.
More Ideas: If you want to plan extra activities, you could use our Lord’s Prayer coloring pages or teach the children about the 5 finger prayer model. We also have several articles to help you teach children about prayer.