Share this video with your students [2:31]:
“Students Use Data Analytics to Crack Top College Admissions Codes”
When you finish watching the video, discuss the following questions:
- What are your thoughts about using data analytics to determine one’s future? (Some students might find it fascinating; others might find the whole approach rather obsessive. Answers will vary.)
- Why do so many seniors stress about the college admissions process? What kind of control do students have when it comes to their futures? (The college admissions process often feels “fatalistic.” The unknowns about their future can incite fear and worry.)
- What wisdom or advice have you heard about “seeking God’s will”? How should we approach our future, especially when we have dreams of what we hope for? (Some families teach a “just pray and hope for the best” attitude. Others might stress hard work and common sense. Some Christian groups stress prophecy, signs, or impressions. Let students share their ideas without validation or judgment.)
- Is it hard for you to trust God with your future? Why or why not? (Students’ answers will vary, but most people struggle to have faith in God’s sovereignty over their lives. Americans are famously independent, relying more on personal free will and autonomy.)
When Jesus lived on earth, He battled with many of the same emotions that we do. We will discover today that in the face of fear, even Jesus struggled as He surrendered to the will of His Father.
Looking for Steps 2, 3 & 4?
You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide. For upper elementary, middle school, and high school your Step 4 appears below. For adult, use the Step 4 in your teacher’s guide. To purchase a teacher’s guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes.
In this step, you will be challenging your students to think about how they pray for God’s guidance—and the motivation behind it.
Studying Jesus’ attitude toward the future helps us navigate our own fears about the unknown. Let’s partner up and discuss some of the ways people tend to pray for God’s will.
Either assign partners or let students choose someone with whom they are comfortable sharing; hand out writing supplies. One at a time, read each “prayer” and tell students to discuss whether it shows a sound biblical approach to God’s will or whether it shows an unhealthy attitude toward God’s sovereignty.
Prayer #1: “Jesus, I am so thankful for the talent You’ve given me. Please give me a spot on the varsity team this year. If you do, I promise I’ll be a good example to my team members.”
Prayer #2: “Dear God, having a girlfriend is really important to me. I’m asking You to bring someone into my life this semester. I’ve been so patient for a long time, and I’ve been praying for six months now. Please, God, help me out!”
Prayer #3: “I know that You’ve been faithful to me in the past. Thank You for always sending encouragement my way, even in the hard times. You know my deepest desires for college, so wherever You send me, I will trust You.”
Prayer #4: “Jesus, I’m pretty scared about my future. Can you help me to be strong and faithful in the little things? I will work hard and do all that I can. I give the outcome to You in faith.”
When you finish, let each partnership write down an example of two prayers: one will be grounded in the character of God, and the other will show evidence of selfish motivation. Allow students to share their prayers with the entire class. Afterward, discuss these questions together:
- Do these selfish prayers sound familiar? How can we shift our attitudes toward a God-centered approach? (Answers will vary. Students might mention recognizing that God has a plan for them and they don’t know all of the details as He does or that acknowledging that “He is God and I am not” is a good and humble place to be.)
- How does God use wise and mature mentors to also shape our decisions? Who do you have in your life that can help you navigate the future? (Answers will vary; godly mentors who are experienced in listening to God and know how to seek His face during a time of decision making will be invaluable.)
- Does trusting in God mean we have no role in planning our lives? Explain the paradox of “act-yet-trust.” (At one extreme there is trusting in God to the exclusion of action [except prayer]. The other extreme is based on the “God helps those who help themselves” view—trusting in the sense that we have faith that God will bless our efforts. The “act-yet-trust” position is basically one-part listening, one part trusting, and one part taking action. Finding a college, for instance, might look this way in an “act-yet-trust” posture: pray about where to go, listen for God’s input on options, fill out the application forms, wait for His will, and don’t fret.)
- Why is it still important to pour out our fears and desires to Him? Can we be honest with God in all things?
Before you close your lesson, encourage your students to write down THREE ACTION STEPS that can help them refine their attitudes toward seeking the will of God:
- How can I pray?
- Who can mentor me?
- How can I be obedient in my life’s choices?
You have three specific questions that will help you trust in God’s ability to direct your future. Spend some time this week praying over these questions and writing down your answers. When you feel fear, revisit your answers and know that the character of God is stronger than the instability of your life.
To close: Students may want to share some of their fears with their partner before praying together for the outcome.
(For our adult customers: we are not affiliated with and do not endorse any website or any other media listed on these pages. At the time of writing, our editors carefully review the referenced material and non-references web page content. However, due to the nature of the Internet, non-cited content on the website [including pop-ups, links, and ads] changes frequently and is beyond our control. Please review carefully before showing links in the classroom.)
(For our upper elementary, middle school, and high school customers: David C Cook is not affiliated with and does not endorse any website or any other media listed on these pages. At the time of writing, David C Cook editors carefully review the referenced material and non-referenced web page content. However, due to the nature of the Internet, non-cited content on the website [including pop-ups, links, and ads] changes frequently and is beyond our control. Please review carefully before shoeing links in the classroom.)