Heavenly Father, I come to you again asking for your blessing upon our class. I pray especially now for those who were absent from class this past weekend.
I pray for (list each absentee student by name) who missed class this week because (list the reason each student missed, if known).
Father, some of these who missed class this past Sunday could not avoid it because of sickness. We pray for healing for them. Encourage them in their walk with you. Help them, even though they had to miss, to study their lesson and hear your Holy Spirit’s encouraging voice.
Some of our absentees are out of the area for various reasons — work, vacation, etc. Go with each one wherever they are. Keep them safe. Help them to worship you, even though they are out of their regular routine. Bring them back to us, encouraged in their faith, and on fire for God.
Some who missed did not come because the things of this world are more enticing to them than your Word. Father, speak to them about their spiritual condition. Help them to see how their love for you is cooling. Convict them of this sin and reignite in them a passion for you, we pray. Amen.
Read Psalm 37:34-40
“But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble” (v. 39).
We typically use salvation to refer to forgiveness of sins and, relatedly, to deliverance from eternal condemnation. So we talk about being saved, and we look forward to everlasting life. Clearly Psalm 37’s proclamation of God’s salvation of the righteous includes these wonderful benefits.
But the bulk of Psalm 37 focuses on this earthly life and salvation’s benefits for the “here and now.” Repeatedly the psalmist tells us to “fret not” about wicked people’s success, not to indulge anger at their prosperity. Why should this apparent cosmic injustice not rile us? Psalm 37 reminds us of coming judgment (vs. 2, 9, 10, 13, etc.), but it also teaches us that righteousness works!
Psalm 37 presents some of salvation’s present-tense aspects. God provides for physical needs (vs. 3, 19, 25, etc.) and frequently brings to reality our godly dreams and desires (vs. 4, 5). He causes us to live in peace and security (vs. 9-11). This does not mean no Christian will suffer hardship and deprivation but describes a general pattern of blessing and provision even in this fallen world. God’s salvation regularly includes abundant daily blessings.
We begin to taste the joys of God’s saving us now. And the best lies ahead when the Judge of all the earth welcomes the righteous into His presence forever, where there are pleasures forevermore. (Aaron D. Profitt)
God’s salvation of the righteous begins now and ends never!
Focus Text: Psalms 71:1-5; 130:1-8
Central Truth: God’s merciful nature extends help to those who seek Him.
Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to identify ways in which God shows His mercy to man.
I. Trusting in God (Ps. 71:1-5)
II. The Sinner's Cry (Ps. 130:1-3)
III. The Hope for Forgiveness (Ps. 130:4-6)
IV. The Mercy of God (Ps. 130:7, 8)
Heavenly Father, I pray today for those who visited our class this past Sunday, and those who will come this next weekend.
Some of our visitors are Christians from out of the area who have come here for different reasons. Encourage them in the faith. Help them to feel welcome in our church, even though their visit may be brief. Work through them to encourage our class, that we might see in a new way how you are working around the world to build your Church.
Other visitors are not Christians. We pray that their time in our Sunday school class will be enjoyable and profitable. We know that many of our traditions have become so ingrained in us that we do not even recognize how confusing they are to outsiders. Help us to know how best to ease new people into our religious patterns.
Help each visitor to our class to feel welcomed but not suffocated, accepted rather than isolated, and challenged instead of bored. Help our class to prepare ahead of time for guests so that we will welcome them appropriately when they come.
In Jesus’ name we ask all this. Amen.
Read Job 5:17-27
“He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee” (v. 19).
But wait, there’s more! The concept of claiming to offer an irresistible deal, then adding further incentives happens all the time in marketing campaigns. The Old Testament Hebrews often used the same ploy in their writings. When Job’s friend Eliphaz told him God would deliver him six — no, wait, seven! — times, he was really saying, “God will deliver you over and over and over again!
Can you imagine how that might have sounded to Job? “Look, Job, I know you’ve lost your oxen and donkeys and servants and sheep and more servants and camels and more servants and all your children, but God will deliver you again and again.” I don’t think I would have reacted as well as Job did.
Job’s first reaction to his tragedy was to worship the Lord, and his reaction to Eliphaz’s speech was a heartrending cry, “My grief cannot be measured!” It took what seemed to Job like an awfully long time, but when he rested on this promise, God did deliver him. (Michelle D. Avery)
Father, teach me to live standing on your promises.
Focus Text: 2 Kings 19:14-22, 32-35
Central Truth: There is no problem too great for God.
Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to list some difficulties in their lives from which God has power to deliver them.
I. A Prayer for Deliverance (2 Kings 19:14-19)
II. An Answer from God (2 Kings 19:20-31)
III. A Deliverance Realized (2 Kings 19:32-35)
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me the privilege of teaching such a wonderful class. Thank you for how you are working in each of my students’ lives. Thank you for (state specific ways you see God working in the lives of your students). May you continue to bless each one, increase their faith, and deepen their love for you and for one another.
Lord, I pray that you would enlighten my class’s understanding of your Word. Help each one to see that the Bible is not an ancient, out-of-touch document, but instead that you are speaking to us through Scripture and that in your words we find abundant life.
I also pray that you would encourage my students to care for one another. Help us not to be a group of strangers meeting weekly, but a family who cares for one another deeply. When one has a need, help us all to rally around in support. When one rejoices, may we join in the celebration, happy that you have poured blessings upon our fellow Christian.
Father, help our class to develop a passionate love and concern for lost people. May our passion move us to action, instead of allowing us to simply feel good while sitting on the sidelines. Use us to impact the world with your love.
Read 1 Kings 18:16-19
“And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim”
“Attitude is the mind’s paintbrush. It can color any situation.”
False accusations are a part of life, but that does not make them any easier to take. And often being falsely accused can bring out the worst in us.
If you were playing the role of Elijah in this little skit, what would be your tone of voice as you speak the words of our focus verse? Defensive? Vengeful? Matter-of-fact? Sorrowful? Or to say it differently, “What is your attitude when you are falsely accused?”
However he said it, Elijah was not intimidated by the presence of the king. But neither does he “lose his cool.” Instead, Elijah carefully proposes to resolve their differences in an objective encounter. Even the king could not refuse the objectivity of Elijah’s proposal.
Attitudes are the result of cultivation. The attitudes we display under adversity have been a long time in the making. And our attitude can so color a situation that even God has difficulty redeeming it. (Gordon L. Snider)
“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Prov. 15:1).
Focus Text: 1 Kings 18:25-39
Central Truth: Faith in God’s power can accomplish great things.
Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to identify qualities a person must possess in order to have power through prayer.
I. The Test (1 Kings 18:25-29)
II. The Challenge (1 Kings 18:30-35)
III. The Prayer (1 Kings 18:36, 37)
IV. The Answer (1 Kings 18:38, 39)
Heavenly Father, I come to you humbly asking for your grace and mercy so that I can be the Sunday school teacher you want me to be.
I need your wisdom. Help me to understand what you are teaching us in your Word. Help me to know how to relate it to the life experiences of my students. Help me to share your truth in a way that is real and practical to their lives. Holy Spirit, work through the lesson and the words that I say to encourage, challenge, and convict.
Father, I need your strength. Help me to immerse myself in your Word so that I do not become spiritually empty and dry. Fill me with a hunger and passion for your truth. Make the Bible come alive to me in fresh new ways each time I read it. Help me to express that love to my students in a way that creates in them a fresh desire for your Word.
Thank you for your loving care. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.