Sunday, October 24, 2010

Prayer, Boys and Women

For the last few Sundays, I've found myself teaching 10- and 11-year-old boys during Sunday School. It's an interim situation, and I've just been asking them a lot of questions about prayer.  I'm trying to get them to move beyond merely approaching God with their wish list--consisting largely of Lego sets, it seems, with a few sick people thrown in--and thinking more about "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."  I'm trying to help them see that prayer is not really about making suggestions to God or drawing His attention to things; it's joining with Him in what He already is doing or wants to do, like help them grow in the fruits of the Spirit or introduce others to Christ.

I've borrowed some excellent illustrations from Jennifer Kennedy Dean that have helped.  We can imagine prayer as laying the train tracks for the locomotive engine to run on, or as the magnifying glass that intensifies the already-present power of the sun.  I took them through her discussion of the stories in the Bible where God seemingly changes his mind, and the story where God looked, and there was no man to stand in the gap on behalf of Judah, so He had to destroy it.  Yet God knew there would be no one, and factored it in to His master plan.

The boys loved saying "the master plan" with their best evil-genius smirk.  (Go ahead; try it. It's fun.) But I think they were getting it.

 So this morning we were talking about prayer as agreeing with God, and I explained, "That's why we say "Amen" at the end of a prayer. It means 'So Be It.' "

"I know how to say 'So NOT Be It,' " Bantam11 announced.

Surprised, I asked, "Oh?"

"A-women!" he pronounced.

Heh, heh, heh.

The boys all thought it was funny.  But they had no idea.

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