I taught on the Dos and Don'ts of praying today. I had the children read different Scriptures and then I told them Dos and Don'ts from each.
Proverbs 15:8 - The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him.
Don't: Be wicked
Do: whatever pleases the Lord
James 5:16 - Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Do: confess your sins and pray for each other
1 Thessalonians 5:17 - pray continually
Do: pray continually
Don't: stop praying
Romans 12:12 - Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer
Do: be happy while waiting (even if bored, find something to be happy about)
Wait while bad things happen
Don't: complain, try to repay evil, stop praying
1 John 5:14 - This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
Do: have confidence (you can talk to God about anything)
Find out God's will. How? Read the Bible. Yes, you have time.
James 5:15 - And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.
Do: Pray for the sick.
Pray for forgiveness for people, especially ones you are mad at.
Colossians 4:2 - Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Do: continue praying
Philippians 4:6 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Do: Thank God and ask him.
2 Chronicles 7:14 - If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Do: humble yourself, call on God's name, live as if God is always watching (he is), turn from sin and disobedience
Lastly, I read from Matthew 6:5-8 and asked what two things does this text say not to do when praying. Some said turn from sin and not be hating anyone. That's not what the text says, but that is true.
I told them even if you have hate, take that to God. Say, "I feel like I hate this person right now, Lord, and I know it's not what you want, so can you heal me of this?"
But the first thing it says it to not be a hypocrite. Do not say you believe one thing but then live your life as if you did not. So, the kids were right, stop sinning and hating.
The second thing is to not pray loudly for all to hear. If I took one of the kids and wanted to talk to her but then went out to the atrium and shouted for all to hear, who am I really talking to? Her or everyone else? It's the same with God. Talk just to God and don't care what others thing.
Part two of the second thing is to not babble like the pagans. It's like if I went to my dad and asked, "Dad, can I have a cookie? Dad, can I have a cookie? Dad, can I have a cookie?..." Just have a normal conversation with God. Tell him what you want once and then just let him work. And continue talking to God. Pray without ceasing.