Prayer and Preparation: Three Ways Prayer is Vital to Lesson Preparation

Think for a second, Sunday school teacher, about what you do week in and week out.  You spend all week preparing to stand before the people of your class and teach God's word.  You are a voice of truth for your people.  The people of your class are expecting you to be prepared to open God's word and, along with the Holy Spirit, help them understand what it says.  It can be a daunting task.

I would pose a question to you.  What percentage of your time in preparing the lesson during the week do you devote to prayer?  We often immerse ourselves in reading the passage, consulting commentaries or concordances, or reading the latest blog or news articles that relate to the passage or topic.  We often ask for our people to pray for us as we teach, but how many of us are asking our people to pray for us during the week as we prepare.

It's an understatement to say prayer is important, but it is.  It should be a vital and regular part of our preparation during the week.  I offer at least three reasons why it should be.

First, prayer re-orients our focus.  Prayer makes us God-focused instead of self-focused.  The question every Sunday you teach is not "what can I teach the class today" but "what is God wanting to show them about Himself today". If we fail to begin our preparation with prayer, we miss a vital step in studying Scripture.  If God is the author of Scripture, why would we not consult Him first? How can we teach if we haven't first been instructed by the Holy Spirit?  Psalm 119:33 says "Teach me, Lord, the meaning of Your statutes, and I will always keep them". Right from the beginning set your sights on Him, seek Him, and rely on His wisdom to guide your preparation time.

Second, prayer destroys our self-reliance.  The ultimate goal of any Sunday school teacher should be to see it's people transformed by the word of God.  That is something that is not in your power to do. It is the power of the gospel that changes peoples' lives not your teaching style.  The power of God's word is what brings correction in people's lives.  Psalm 119:59 says "I thought about my ways and turned my steps back to Your decrees".  So don't beat yourself up.  It isn't up to you to change anyone.  Pray, study, and be faithful to teach the truth of God's word, and He will do the work in your people only He can do.

Third, prayer restores our confidence.  Many teachers beat themselves up because they feel so unfit and unworthy to teach God's word.  In truth, we are all unfit for that task.  Prayer doesn't restore our confidence in ourselves so much as relieves us of confidence in ourselves and pushes us to place our confidence in God.  Psalm 119: 138 says, "The decrees You issue are righteous and altogether trustworthy". You can trust God's word.  You can have confidence in His word.  So have confidence when you teach on Sundays.  Not confidence in your own ability but have confidence in the power of God's word.  Then sit back and watch God do amazing things in the hearts of your people

So trust in the power of prayer weekly as you prepare your lessons.  Pray for God to guide you.  Rely on His strength.  Be confident in the power of His word.  Lastly, be humble enough to ask your class "will you pray for me".

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