What do you know about prayer?
You need: A pieces of paper, a pen
Task: Time yourself for 2 minutes and write down or draw a picture about everything you know about prayer. You might want to think about who we pray tp, what we should pray about, when we should pray, where we should pray, why we should pray and how we should pray.
Reflect: You may already know a lot about prayer, or you may be unsure what it is all about. We are going to find out today about how a group of Christians prayed about a very important prayer need and what happened. Why don’t you keep your piece of paper and look at it again at the end: is there anything else you can add to the paper that you have learnt today?
What does the Bible say?
After Herod arrested Peter, he put him in jail and handed him over to be guarded by 16 soldiers. Herod planned to bring Peter before the people for trial after the Passover Feast. So Peter was kept in jail. But the church kept on praying to God for him.
The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping. He was between two soldiers, bound with two chains. Other soldiers were guarding the door of the jail. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord stood there. A light shined in the room. The angel touched Peter on the side and woke him up. The angel said, “Hurry! Get up!” And the chains fell off Peter’s hands. The angel said to him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.” And so Peter did this. Then the angel said, “Put on your coat and follow me.” So the angel went out, and Peter followed him. Peter did not know if what the angel was doing was real. He thought he might be seeing a vision. They went past the first and the second guard. They came to the iron gate that separated them from the city. The gate opened itself for them. They went through the gate and walked down a street. And the angel suddenly left him.
Then Peter realized what had happened. He thought, “Now I know that the Lord really sent his angel to me. He rescued me from Herod and from all the things the Jewish people thought would happen.”
When he realized this, he went to the home of Mary. She was the mother of John. (John was also called Mark.) Many people were gathered there, praying. Peter knocked on the outside door. A servant girl named Rhoda came to answer it. She recognized Peter’s voice, and she was very happy. She even forgot to open the door. She ran inside and told the group, “Peter is at the door!”
They said to her, “You are crazy!” But she kept on saying that it was true. So they said, “It must be Peter’s angel.”
Peter continued to knock. When they opened the door, they saw him and were amazed. Peter made a sign with his hand to tell them to be quiet. He explained how the Lord led him out of the jail. And he said, “Tell James and the other believers what happened.” Then he left to go to another place.
The next day the soldiers were very upset. They wondered what had happened to Peter. Herod looked everywhere for Peter but could not find him. So he questioned the guards and ordered that they be killed.
Answer the following multiple choice questions. There may be more than one right answer for each question. The answers are at the end.
- What did Herod do to some of the followers of Jesus?
A. He threw them a party
B. He arrested some.
C. He put them to death
- Why was the church praying for Peter?
A. Peter was in prison
B. They knew Herod wanted to kill Peter
C. They knew God could rescue Peter
- What happened when God sent an angel to Peter?
A. Peter’s chains fell off
B. The angel led Peter out of prison
C. Peter went back to sleep
- What happened when Peter went to Mary’s home?
A. No one was there
B. Rhonda told everyone Peter was at the door
C. The people were astonished to see Peter
Check your answers at the bottom of the page!
Herod intended to kill Peter just because Peter followed and taught about Jesus. But the church, the people who followed Jesus, prayed for Peter. They were serious about praying. They prayed with their whole hearts. God heard their heartfelt prater and answered with a miracle.
Why do you think the followers of Jesus risked their lives to pray for Jesus?
What does this story tell us about how we should pray?
The church knew that it was important to pray for Peter. As followers of Jesus we should pray earnestly for important prayer needs too.
What things do you pray about?
Let’s find out what some of the important prayer needs the bible says we should pray about.
What does the bible tell us to pray for?
Look up the bible verse and fill in the gap in the sentences below.
- We should pray for those who _______ us. (Luke 6:28)
- We should pray for _______ in telling others about Jesus. (Acts 4:29. 31)
- We should pray and ask God to _______ our sins. (Matthew 6:12)
- We should pray and ask God to help us not give into _______. (Matthew 26:41)
- We should pray for those who are _______. (James 5:14,15)
- We should pray that the ________ of the Lord would spread quickly. (2 Thessalonians 3:1)
- We should pray that we _________ people more and more. (Philippians 1:9)
These aren’t the only needs we can talk to God about, but they are important ones we should pray earnestly for. How do these prayer needs compare to the things you pray about that you thought of earlier?
Check your answers at the bottom of the page!
What you need: a notebook or pieces of paper and stapler, some pens
Task: Find a notebook, or make one by stapling some pieces of paper together. Decorate the front and write ‘prayer diary’ on it. You can use this to write down the things you want to pray about. Remember to put a date next to each prayer request.
You can then look back at your prayer diary each month and see when your prayers have been answered. Perhaps you can write in a different colour pen when and how your prayers are answered. This can encourage you to continue to pray to God.
What you need: 3 strips of paper, a pen, cellotape or glue or a stapler
Task: Write on each paper one of the following words:
- RIGHT AWAY
- ALONG THE WAY
This is to remind us that God answers prayers in different ways. He might answer your prayer:
- RIGHT AWAY: A sudden miracle that all can see.
- ALONG THE WAY: An answer that comes slowly over a long time.
- SOMEDAY: An answer we will finally see when we get to heaven and can celebrate with Jesus in person!
Bend one of the strips round to form a loop and stick the loop together using cellotape, glue or a stapler. Then thread the second piece of paper through the loop, bend it round to make another loop and secure it. Do the same for the third strip of paper until you have a short paper chain.
Reflect: Peter was in chains and God answered Peter’s friends prayer right way in a miraculous way. Sometimes answers prayers rights way, sometimes he answers prayers along the way and sometimes he will answer our prayers someday. However we know that if we pray earnestly, God will – one day – answer our prayers.
Pray: Hold your paper chain as a reminder of how God answers our earnest prayers. Then pray the following prayer:
Thank you God that you heard the earnest prayers of Peter’s friends and freed him from prison. Please hear us as we pray. Thank you for answering our earnest prayers. Please help me to pray for those around this week. Amen.
- B He arrested some C He put them to death
- A Peter was in prison B They knew Herod wanted to kill Peter C They knew God could rescue Peter
- A Peter’s chains fell off B The angel led Peter out of prison
- B Rhonda told everyone Peter was at the door C The people were astonished to see Peter