David C Cook COVID-19 Response

Upper Elementary

Taught to Pray

Lesson 5 


Summer 2022


By: RLD Editorial Team 


July 03, 2022

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Lesson Focus:

Jesus taught us how to pray.

Bible Basis:

Matthew 6:5-13

Materials Needed:

Step 1:

  • Internet access

Summary & Links:

Students will recognize the importance of prayer and discover that Jesus is the best teacher on prayer.

Memory Verse:

Pray continually.
—1 Thessalonians 5:17

Step 1:

Students will recognize the importance of prayer and discover that Jesus is the best teacher on prayer.

Materials Needed:

  • Internet access

Once all students have arrived, divide students into pairs or small groups. If possible, ensure at least one person in each pair or group has a pair of shoes that tie with laces.

Once students are in their small groups or pairs, instruct the students with laced shoes to untie their laces.

Today, we will pretend that the people with laced shoes have never learned how to tie them. It’s the job of their teammates to teach them to tie their shoes using only their words or hand motions. Give as many detailed instructions as possible, seeing if your teammate can tie their shoes in less than two minutes using only your instructions (and not their prior knowledge on how to do this task!)

If possible, model with another leader how this exercise will go. Then, give teams or small groups about two minutes to instruct their teammates on how to tie their shoes.

Ask the “teacher” of the group:

  • What teaching tactics did you use to teach your teammate how to tie their shoes? (Answers will vary, but may include: I told them what to do. I showed them a part of the recipe. I modeled it for them.)

Ask the large group:

  • Do you prefer to be a teacher or a learner? (Answers will vary.)
  • What is your favorite way to learn something new? (Answers will vary.) 
  • What are some things we need to be taught to do—things that don’t just come naturally? (Answers will vary, but after some discussion, students will find that almost everything requires a teaching/learning process of some kind.)

Just as we learn practical life skills like how to tie our shoes, we can also learn spiritual skills, such as how to pray. In the movie The War Room, the character Miss Clara teaches the character Elizabeth how to pray, by comparing prayer life to a cup of coffee—it can be hot, cold, or lukewarm.

  • If a person has a “hot” prayer life, how would he/she pray? What would that look like in a real life? (Miss Clara implies that a “hot” prayer life involves attending church regularly and knowing the Lord. Someone who has a “hot” prayer life probably prays often. They may pray using Scripture, pray by themselves, pray with others, sing their prayers, write out their prayers, ask for pray requests, pray for other people’s prayer requests, etc.)
  • What do you think a “cold” prayer life looks like? (A person with a “cold” prayer life probably doesn’t pray at all.)
  • What do you think a “lukewarm” prayer life looks like? (Someone with a lukewarm prayer life might only pray occasionally such as at church or mealtimes.)

The Bible tells us to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). But many of us just don’t think much about prayer. Good prayer habits are like anything else—they need to be taught. Today we are going to find out how to pray from the greatest Prayer Coach of all time! Let’s hear what He has to say.

Looking for Steps 2, 3 & 4?

You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide. To purchase a teacher’s guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes.

Step 4:

Materials Needed:

  • Prayer board printouts on cardstock (1 per student; template here)
  • Markers (extra-fine tip)
  • Optional: Invited guest speaker with a strong prayer life; additional copies of prayer board

Before class, print out enough copies of the prayer board on cardstock so that each student has a copy (template here). You may want to have extra copies of the prayer board on hand (see below). If your class is meeting online, email the template for families to print ahead of time. Invite students to bring printouts and markers with them to class.

One of the best ways to teach prayer would be to share with your preteens about your own prayer life. If you feel comfortable doing so, be open even if you feel your prayer life is “cold” or “lukewarm.” It’s OK to share how you want to improve. If you consider your prayer life to be “hot,” tell your students that it wasn’t always that way; describe the process you went through to get to that point.

  • Would you say your prayer life is hot, cold, or lukewarm? (Let students share if they are comfortable or let them pass.)

Today we heard Jesus’ instructions on prayer. Isn’t it convenient that Jesus gave us an outline for prayer? He did that because He wants us to talk to Him. He doesn’t want our fears to stand in the way! The best way to learn how to pray is to watch how people in the Bible prayed. Strong relationships are built on good communication. It takes time to learn to communicate well with another person. It’s no different with God. He is a Person in heaven who would love to talk with you!

  • How can a person increase the temperature of their prayer life? (Accept all reasonable answers.)

If you invited someone you know with a strong prayer life to come and share, give them an opportunity to talk about their favorite ways to pray. If time allows, let students ask questions.

There are lots of ways to pray. One way is to use visual prayer prompts to remind you of someone and their prayer needs or for needs of your own. Hand out the cardstock prayer boards and fine-tip markers to your students (or invite them to have those items ready at home). Remind students to write small if they want to use each prayer prompt for more than one person.

Demonstrate for your preteens how to fill in the name of someone who needs healing on the adhesive bandage, someone who needs encouragement or courage on the heart graphic, someone who needs forgiveness on the crying eyes, someone who is praying about something on the person kneeling, someone who needs to know Jesus on the ichthys (fish), someone who needs wisdom on the lightbulb, and a prayer for your church and/or pastor on the church.

Give your students a few minutes of quiet time to fill in their prayer prompts and say a sentence prayer for each person they write down. Encourage them to take their prayer boards home and add names to each prompt as the need arises during the week. You might want to keep extra copies of the prayer board on hand and let your students know they can come to you for a new one when they run out of room.

You may want to sing this song together as your closing prayer [2:13]:
The Lord’s Prayer song for kids – The Our Father

Spread the word

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