Editor’s note: What better way to start a new school year than by encouraging children to pray? The Ministry Message below is followed by a FREE five-day kids’ prayer journal you can duplicate and distribute. If your students like this approach, check out Faith Heroes, CTA’s new prayer journal for children.  

Introduction

What’s the most powerful thing you know? The most powerful tornadoes have winds that blow over 300 miles per hour. Wind like that can drive a piece of straw through a tree trunk! Water that freezes and thaws again and again has the power to break boulders to bits! Astronomers tell us that the gravity of black holes in space is so powerful that not even light can escape!

Power can capture and destroy. But power can also help and heal. Electric power lights homes and computers. Muscle power hits the home runs that win baseball games. Doctors use the power of lasers to improve sight or prevent blindness.

Getting to the Heart

All power comes from the Lord Jesus. His Word and the love he tells us about in his Word is the most powerful power of all:

  • Remember, Jesus knows you and loves you, so there’s no reason to try to hide your mistakes or your sins. Instead, you can ask him to forgive you, and he will!
  • Remember, Jesus is God. He has the power to help you, no matter how big your troubles seem. Jesus not only has the power to help, he wants to do that. So don’t be afraid to ask him anything!

Do you know how to P.R.A.Y.? The meaning behind each letter will help you when you talk to God. P stands for praise. R stands for repent. A stands for ask. Y stands for yield.

Praise

Sometimes when we pray, we remember how great God is. We tell him about that in words of praise. Praise and thanks go together so closely, you may not be able to tell them apart. Here’s one example of a prayer of praise:

Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask your aid. (Psalm 86:5)

Repent

When we start to praise God for how good he is, we remember that we are NOT always good. We remember the times we have disobeyed God by failing to show love for him or for others around us. We feel ashamed and guilty. We may even be afraid that God will punish us. But we also remember that Jesus took our punishment for us. He let himself be nailed onto a wooden cross to suffer the punishment we deserve. Now God forgives every one of our sins. We are pure and clean in God’s sight. Here’s a Bible verse about that:

I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. (Psalm 32:5)

Ask

When we’re in trouble, Jesus wants us to come to him. He will always hear and help us. Sometimes when we ask for something, he says yes right away. Sometimes he says, “I have something even better in mind.” Even if we don’t see his answers, even if something bad happens, we can trust Jesus to do what’s best for us. After all, he died for us. Here is a Bible verse about that:

Since God did not spare even his own Son, but gave him up for us all, won’t God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything else? (Romans 8:32)

Yield

Yield means to let someone else have his way. When we yield to Jesus we trust he will answer our prayers in the way that is best for us. We know he is taking good care of us, no matter what happens. More and more, we want to love, trust, and obey him. Here is a Bible verse about that:

May [God’s] will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)

Taking It Home

I am going to give you some pages you can use as you P.R.A.Y. There are verses from the Bible on them and questions to get you started as you think about what to say to Jesus. When you finish these, you can use your own Bible and a small notebook to keep going! Find verses you especially like and write about them. God will talk to you in his Book and you can talk to God in yours!

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that you always listen whenever we want to talk to you. Teach us to pray in confidence because of all Jesus did for us. Amen.

*          *          *

Day 1

I will answer them before they even call to me. . . . I will go ahead and answer their prayers! Isaiah 65:24

Even before you pray, Jesus has answered your prayers. So why do we pray? We pray for lots of reasons. Here’s one: Just like you run to tell your mom or dad or friends about important things that happen, you can run to tell Jesus everything that’s on your heart. Below, write to tell him about something exciting that happened today. Be sure to include a big P from the P.R.A.Y. kind of prayer—Praise!

Day 2

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6

Even though Jesus knows what we need, he wants us to tell him what worries us and to let him take care of our problems. Telling Jesus about our worries is good for us because it remind us that he knows what we need and will take care of us. Write to tell Jesus what worries you today. Ask him to help you stop worrying. As you write, try using the Y from the P.R.A.Y. kind of prayer-‑Yield!

Day 3

LORD! You have made the heavens and earth by your great power. Nothing is too hard for you! Jeremiah 32:17

God is powerful! He created everything you see—and many things you can’t see. He made the stars in the skies and the bugs on the ground. Some people think God is too busy to bother with our little problems. But our God is mighty and loving. No problem is too small or too hard for him. Write about a problem that you thought was too big for God to fix. Or write about a problem you thought was too small. Think about the A from the P.R.A.Y. kind of prayer—Ask.

Day 4

I wait quietly before God, for my salvation comes from him. Psalm 62:1

We sin every day. We know what’s right, but we do what’s wrong. God gives us many chances to show love, but we act selfishly instead. What then? The Bible says, “God’s kindness leads us to repentance” (Romans 2:4). God helps us see our sins. He helps us to feel sorry for them and to want to stop doing them. He forgives us—washing away our sin because of what Jesus did for us. On the lines below, confess your sins; tell God what you’ve done wrong. Ask him to forgive you and help you obey him.

 Day 5

Afterward [Jesus] went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. Matthew 14:23

No one has ever been closer to God than Jesus, but Jesus still took time to be alone with God, his heavenly Father. God wants to talk with you every day. Do you have a special place where you like to be alone with him? a place where you like to pray? Describe that place. Then write to praise God for letting you get close to him and talk to him. Use the P from the P.R.A.Y. kind of prayer—Praise.

All Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
You are welcome to copy this article for one-time use in your organization as long as you will receive no monetary benefit from it. Please include this copyright line and submit an actual copy of use to CTA, attention Editorial Manager.
Used with permission grant #082311 © 2011 CTA, Inc. No duplication of this devotion is allowed without the express written consent of CTA, PO Box 1205, Fenton, MO 63026. www.CTAinc.com.

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