Review with the students several occasions when Jesus prayer. Choose six readers to read aloud the specific Gospel references listed below when as you briefly provide background on each occasion.
When and How Jesus Prayed
1. Jesus prayed when preparing for something important. (Luke 6:12-13)
2. Jesus offered prayers of praise. (Luke 10:21)
3. Jesus prayed in thanksgiving. (John 11:41-43)
4. Jesus petitioned his Father for man things. (Luke 22:31-32)
5. Jesus prayed from Scripture. (Mark 15:34)
6. Jesus prayed at the time of his Death. (Luke 22:34; 41-42; 46)
Jesus Teaches about Prayer
Instruct the students to read each Gospel passage below and summarize Jesus' teaching on prayer in their own words. Also ask them to rate how difficult it is for them to follow this teaching using this scale: 1—very difficult; 2—difficult; 3—somewhat difficult; 4—no problem at all.
1. Read Matthew 6:6-8
2. Read Luke 11:9-13
3. Read Matthew 21:21-22
4. Read Luke 11:5-8
5. Read Mark 11:25
6. Read Matthew 11:18-20
The teaching of Jesus presented in Number 1 is to keep your prayers short. Some people thinking by heaping on a lot of words, their prayers will be more effective. But Jesus says it is better to keep your prayers short and to the point.
A second teaching is to pray with childlike simplicity. Jesus said to pray as if you were a child dependent on a parent for all your needs. He reminded us of the Father's great love which surpasses the love of any earthly parent.
Third, Jesus teaches us to pray with faith. God always answers each petition, giving an answer that is ultimately good for us. Sometimes, as with a young child begging for an unneeded toy, the answer is “no.”
Fourth, be persistent with your prayer. We are to keep petitioning God for all our needs, as illustrated in the story of the person who visits a friend at an ungodly hour of the night. The message is simple. God cannot resist the petitions of a persistent pray-er.
Besides private prayer, Jesus encourages us to pray with others, to the point that he promises to be present when “two or three are gathered in my name.” He also instructs the entire of faith to come together and celebrate Eucharist.
Finally, Jesus says to pray with a forgiving heart. He says that whatever we ask for in prayer will be given to us, provided that we forgive anyone with whom we have a grievance.