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Concluding Benedictions

Focus Text: Romans 11:33-36; Hebrews 13:20, 21; 2 Peter 3:14-18; Jude 1:24, 25

Central Truth: God provides grace for our every need.

Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to list several evidences of God’s blessing in their lives.

Lesson Outline:

I.   A Benediction for Wisdom (Rom. 11:33-36)

II.  A Benediction to Completion (Heb. 13:20, 21)

III. A Benediction to Diligence (2 Peter 3:14-18)

IV. A Benediction for Perseverance (Jude 1:24, 25)

The Quality of Hope

Read Romans 15:1-4
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (v. 4).
Visiting a children’s program in Indonesia, Wess Stafford was asked to say a few words. Wanting to communicate their value to God, he told the children they were special. He then picked up a little girl on the front row named Jessica. Using her as an example, he spoke tenderly of her uniqueness and that Christ loved her. Noticing tears around the room, he found out that, weeks earlier, she had been brutally raped. If anyone needed to hear that message, it was Jessica. Her healing began that day.
Some aren’t as receptive, however. Danny Velazquez was one. To many, he seemed to be on top of the world. He went about his work day wearing cashmere and sipping martinis. Living in a loft apartment, he was highly regarded by his clients. One was a Christian who frequently told him, “The day you call on the name of the Lord, He will set you free.” He politely ignored her advice. But Danny’s relationship with alcohol and drugs spiraled out of control eventually leaving him homeless.
One day, hallucinating and hearing voices, he remembered those hope-filled words. At that moment Danny cried out to God. When he later awoke in a hospital, he was a changed man. God had set him free. (Cyretha C. Horton)
You too can find new life through the hope found in God and His Word. 

A Prayer for Spiritual Growth

Focus Text: Colossians 1:3-17

Central Truth: Spiritual growth results from complete obedience to God’s Word.

Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to list some evidences of spiritual growth in the life of a Christian.

Lesson Outline:

I.   Testimony of Faith (Col. 1:3-8)

II.  Prayer for Christian Growth (Col. 1:9-12)

III. God's Power to Deliver (Col. 1:13-17)

A Prayer for the Church

Father, I pray for my local church. I thank you for my brothers and sisters in Christ. I praise you for the blessings you have bestowed upon us and ask for continued grace.
You know the needs of our congregation. (List specific needs here.) I pray that, according to your will, you would give healing to those who are suffering with physical needs. Encourage them, despite their pain, to live for you. I pray for those with financial needs. Supply what they lack. Provide for them, as a sign of your love and grace. I ask you also to remember those who are under heavy burdens of stress, etc. Lighten their load. Let them know that you are with them, to help them through these trials and to give grace for every hour.
Father, help our church to be a light of love and holiness to this community. May we be known as a people who love God and one another. Increase our influence for Christ in our world. Thank you for all this. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

The Joy of Right Relationships

Read Psalm 51:10-13

“Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit” (v. 12).
For many years I did not notice the right relationship of the pronouns in this scripture verse. I exchanged “thy” with “my.” I wanted my joy to be based on owning my salvation and my free spirit. That’s definitely a self-centered attitude regarding relationships, especially my most precious one with God. He has greatly invested in our desire for Him by sending His only Son to the cross for my sins and for the sins of the whole world (John 3:16, 17).
I relate the joy of salvation with what Paul wrote in Romans: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (5:8). As a peer-counselor at a crisis pregnancy center, I would tell a client that she did not have to clean up her act before accepting Christ as Savior. God acted first on her behalf.
How did God demonstrate His love? He “sent his Son to be the propitiation [sacrifice, atonement, satisfaction] for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Thus, “We love him because he first loved us” (v. 19). What joy! What freedom! And it’s all provided by our great and good God. (Ann L. Coker)
God’s best wish for us is an intimate relationship with Him.

A Prayer for God’s Family

Focus Text: Ephesians 3:7-21

Central Truth: God’s empowerment is available for all who seek it.

Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to identify several ways the Spirit strengthens Christians.

Lesson Outline:

I.   Appointed by God's Grace (Eph. 3:7-13)

II. Prayer for Strength (Eph. 3:14-19)

III. Prayer for Power (Eph. 3:20, 21)

A Prayer for the Community

Heavenly Father, I pray today for our community. All around our church live many people who do not know you as their Lord and Savior. Some may know much about you, but they have not surrendered their lives to your control. Others may actually not know much about God and the gospel. Some may hate you. But I know that you love them and want each one to trust in you as Lord and Savior.
Therefore, Lord, I pray for the good of my community. Lord, break into the routine of this community to demonstrate your love and grace. Through tragedies that may come, I ask for your abiding peace to overshadow us. Create a hunger for yourself that will not be satisfied by worldly success and pleasure.
Help our local church to provide the witness necessary to attract lost people to you. Draw them by the power of the Holy Spirit, and change them by your grace. This I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

A Prayer at Midnight

Read Acts 16:25-34

“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them” (v. 25).
“We must learn from Jesus what our attitude should be when life becomes painful — one of earnest prayer to our Father who is in heaven,” wrote Dennis Kinlaw in his devotional book, This Day with the Master That is just what Paul and Silas did when they were cast into prison.
The dramatic result, of course, was that God answered via an earthquake that opened the prison doors and shook off the chains that bound the two missionaries and other inmates. The quake also awakened the jailer, who feared for his life until Paul spoke encouraging words to him. And best of all, the jailkeeper gave his heart to God!
But these weren’t the only results of that midnight prayer. One that we almost always overlook is mentioned at the end of today’s verse: “and the prisoners heard them.” Scottish preacher George MacDonald picked up on that phrase and preached and wrote a wonderful sermon about it. Think of the prisoners lying in dark, cold, damp cells, perhaps bound with chains, losing hope of freedom with each day that went by. What did Paul’s singing mean to them? How did Silas’s praying affect them? How could it be that someone could sing in the dark night of suffering?
The missionaries’ worship not only brought deliverance — it ministered to others! (Steven E. Hight)
In our darkness do we encourage others?

The Power of Believers’ Prayers

Focus Text: Acts 4:23-35

Central Truth: Great things can be accomplished when believers unite in prayer.

Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to list evidences of power in a believer’s prayer life.

Lesson Outline:

I.   An Earnest Prayer (Acts 4:23-30)

II.  An Answered Prayer (Acts 4:31)

III. A Willing Response (Acts 4:32-35)

A Prayer for the Pastor

Heavenly Father, I pray for my pastor as the senior leader and shepherd of this congregation. Give him the wisdom and insight he needs to direct our church according to your will. May we follow his lead, instead of arguing, complaining, or revolting against his leadership. Instead, help us to join hearts, hands, and minds in one accord as we seek your Spirit’s leading.
Bless our pastor with understanding of how best to teach and equip our church for service. Give him fresh insight each week as he studies your Word to deliver to our congregation. Help him to demonstrate how the truths of your Word are extremely practical to our lives.
Encourage our pastor as he seeks to train volunteer workers, such as myself, how to better serve the church. Help him to see areas in which we can improve and be able to equip us for greater ministry. Help us to be humble enough to receive the training we need, even though we may have served in our volunteer ministries for many years. Amen.