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[PYCL: Send knee-mail to God. God answers humble prayer and fervent desire!]
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

for January 13, 2019

by Kerry Jenkins, CS of House Springs, MO (314) 406-0041

Pycl #1: Prayer is such an awesome thing to consistently come back to when working with Sunday School students. What is prayer? How do we pray? Why bother praying? Can we find some examples of prayer—in the Bible, S&H, in our lives? We can never visit this too often!!

So with this week's focus on prayer (You might ask why? Why the focus on prayer and worship when we are studying Sacrament?), we can really dig into this subject! I think this week I might want to put up a big sheet of paper or a whiteboard and keep a semi-permanent list of things that we find "prayer is….". For some reason, I think young people find it hard to get a grip on just how simple prayer is—how much it is a matter of recognizing it when we are praying and acknowledging that it is prayer!

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are some of the "definitions" of prayer in this week's Bible Lesson: We have the Lord's Prayer, the prayer that "hungers and thirsts after righteousness", (many iterations of righteous prayer), prayer of spirit and understanding, of purity, the prayer of "poor in spirit", humility, "fervent desire for growth in…", the closeted prayer that shuts out sin/material sense/distraction, the prayer of God's allness, sincerity, practice/demonstration, the "kingdom within"/in our heart/sanctuary prayer (Section 3), "devout obedience" (a kind of demonstration), desire/unspoken prayer, self-forgetful, purity, affection, watchfulness, willingness to do the will of God/Good, the "habitual struggle to be always good", 6th tenet, following Jesus, the "desire to do right", "highest prayer=demonstration", rejoicing and thanksgiving, casting net on right side (listening/obeying), working with true motives, faith…

I know that many of these overlap, but still it's cool to look through and think about how they are portrayed in the life of Christ Jesus! Try viewing this project from the point of view of "how did Jesus pray?"

Pycl #2: I can't help going back to what we have learned about our "closet" in the Bible. The closet was a storehouse, full of all the household things, including food that was needed in a home. So rather than viewing the closet as an empty place that we are going into, why not see it, as Jesus might have intended, as full of all that we need? We have all the inspiration, comfort, ideas, safety, and so on that we need.

Here are some "closet" ideas to think about: Mary Baker Eddy tell us that the closet has a door which "shuts out sinful sense"—but "…lets in Truth, Life and Love." (S3) Name the things that we want to shut out (fear, anger, hatred, sadness, pain)…How do Truth, Life, Love eliminate those thoughts? Could we think of those "sinful thoughts" as bugs or rats that might try to "eat" our "stores", our inspiration, joy, affection and so on? With little ones you could bring plastic or rubber insects or rats to use as props. Talk about how we have to allow the good thoughts, the angel ideas to help us shut the door on that which would try to steal our good/joy/health and so on.

Pycl #3: In citation B4 we are told, in passing, that Jesus went all over Galilee teaching and preaching the "gospel of the kingdom". Have you ever talked with the students about what that means? The gospel means literally "good news". The kingdom is, I assume, the kingdom within that Jesus tells us about. So that good news has to do with the fact that the kingdom of God is here and now and within each of us!! Wow, good news indeed! Then he tells us (B5) that it is the "poor in spirit" who get to have that kingdom, the "pure in heart" see God (presumably in that kingdom). And he further tells us that the closet is where we can most effectively pray (to see/enter into that kingdom).

In citation B7 the Psalmist tells us that he communes with God in his "own heart"—in the "sanctuary"—where God is. This looking inside, reminds me again of the kingdom within. We don't need to look "outside", to others, to creeds or "religion", friends and so on, but look straight within us where God dwells in His kingdom. It isn't that no one else helps us—we share great inspiration and ideas with one another. But ultimately, prayer is communion with God and that's a "closet" activity! It's cool here that the Psalmist is saying this—maybe this is one source for Jesus' statement about the kingdom of God being within!

Pycl #4: Why was Hannah's prayer "answered"? Does God listen to our prayers and decide which ones are good, which are not? Does He decide that if your prayer is the right kind, He will grant you your wish? Is He like a genie? NO! So why does Hannah's prayer "yield" a son? Maybe think of it as God always opening the "holy purpose" (S9). We get to see these manifestations, whatever their form, when our prayer is "holy". When we are doing God's will, right, what is unselfed, kind, etc. with only pure motives (not in order to "get" something), then these prayers open our eyes and other senses to the ever-present abundance that God is always raining down on us.

We can ask ourselves, for example, are we really "hungering and thirsting" after what is right? Or are we praying for something to stop hurting? There is nothing wrong with wanting pain to stop! But in order to see that harmony, we may want to lean into a deeper understanding of God/Love, rather than focus on the pain. Demonstrate, to the best of our ability, the things we are learning about prayer. Watch what happens!

Pycl #5: What kind of worship did Jesus establish for us today? Look at citation S11. Does it necessarily include ritual? He certainly did feed his disciples bread and wine at the Passover before his crucifixion. But he also spent his career preaching sincere worship through demonstration rather than observance of creed for the sake of church "law" or popular regard. Jesus emphasized love, care, healing, tenderness and so on. How can we worship like Jesus did? Can we think of some specific ways we can do this in the coming week? Ways that we have done it before?

Pycl #6: If you have never touched on it before, it is always a good idea to talk about how our Sacrament service in church is different. Why do we kneel? What does it represent? What is the difference (stated in the Church Manual announcement about our kneeling in church) between "silent communion" and "prayer"? There is certainly overlap! But can they share some thoughts on what communion is?

When we are "communing" are we asking for anything? Are we "telling" God things? Have some fun, look up the words, see how they are used in the Bible and Science and Health, or Mary Baker Eddy's other writings. With the youngest classes, after we think about communing with God, have them try kneeling and thinking about this "position", what does it do?

Have fun in Sunday School this week!

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