Great, Free Sunday School Lesson on Prayer for Adults

Many people assume that others know how to pray. People who have grown up in church feel like praying is almost second nature to them, so they don’t teach others about prayer. They forget that prayer is something that isn’t just understood but it needs to be prepared. 

Sunday school is a great place to teach people how to pray. Although teaching praying during Sunday morning sermons is essential, there might be more return in teaching about prayer in a smaller group setting. Prayer can be a great topic for a Sunday school lesson because it is an important part of the Christian faith. 

In this article, we will cover the important topics about prayer that should be covered during a Sunday school class. You are welcome to take this content and use it, as well as add any additional content that you think would work well for your church’s Sunday school lesson. So here is a Sunday school Lesson on prayer for adults. 

The Importance of Prayer

Prayer while reading Bible

Praying is an important part of the Christian faith. It is your time to connect with God and to grow in your relationship with Him. Through prayer, you get a few things: access to the forgiveness of sin, power through the Holy Spirit, and the ability to make requests to God.

Those are some very important and powerful things that you probably want to have in your life. 

Prayer before Jesus 

Before we understand the gift of prayer, we should try to understand what prayer looked like before Jesus. Jesus opened a new gateway for a relationship with God, and because of that prayer looks different than it used to. The good news of the Gospel is that of new relationships and new communication with God. 

Before Jesus, it was difficult for people to draw near to God in prayer. Because people constantly were in need of a sacrifice to communicate with God, it became difficult to communicate with God. 

An example of this is shown in the book of Proverbs when it says, “God detests the prayers of a person who ignores the law (Provers 28:9 NLT)” It was only by good works that people were allowed to draw near to God. Either by living righteous enough or offering sacrifices could people actually interact with God in Prayer. 

Prayer Because of Jesus

But what we see through Jesus is that He changed that dynamic. In the Old Testament, God’s presence was behind a thick veil that only priests were allowed to enter, but during Jesus’ sacrifice, that veil was torn. 

Instead of having a relationship with God that was separated by a veil, people could now openly go to God. The final sacrifice of Jesus Christ allowed people individually to enter the presence of the Lord without the need for a priest. 

Praying should be viewed as a gift from God because Jesus’ sacrifice gave us access to intimate prayer with God. Without Jesus, connecting with God would be difficult, if not impossible. There are people in the Old Testament who were able to connect with God in prayer, but they only were able to do so by living good enough lives. Now anyone can go to God in prayer, regardless of their past. 

Another benefit of prayer is that we can get access to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is “God with us”. The Bible refers to Him as our comforter and helper through life. The Holy Spirit wasn’t always accessible to people, but through prayer, we can now experience the Holy Spirit. 

Examples of Prayer

The Bible tells us about an event in Acts 2:1-3 where a group of Christians are praying, and the Holy Spirit is sent upon them. It says this, “2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”

The believers in this story were praying as a group, which points to the importance of community prayer. Although there is evidence for praying alone, there is also evidence for praying with a group of believers. In this story, the believers were together in prayer, so something powerful happened, according to God’s will.

Through their prayers, they received the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was there to teach those people to discern right and wrong as well as to give them the power to do miracles. After this happened, they went and preached to people who didn’t even speak their language, but miraculously the Holy Spirit helped the believers to preach in languages even the believers didn’t know. 

The Power of the Holy Spirit in Prayer

That is a pretty crazy story, but that same Holy Spirit that helped them back then is still alive and active today. Although the Holy Spirit can come to people at any moment, it is most common that people get baptized in the Holy Spirit during times of prayer. 

Prayer opens us up to the power and the voice of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, prayer is a way for us to interact with the Holy Spirit. Whenever we go in prayer, we can pray with the Holy Spirit to empower us and uplift us to do good things. 

There are many different examples of prayer in the Bible. As we already discussed, the believers experienced the Holy Spirit when they prayed together, but there are other times when the power of prayer is displayed. We can look to those times and draw examples of how to pray. 

Examples of Prayer

One of those prayers that can serve as a model prayer is the Lord’s prayer. At one point towards the end of Jesus’ life, we see Him teaching his disciples. While he is doing this, He teaches them how to pray.

In Matthew 6:9-13 this is what Jesus said, “9 Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. 10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today the food we need, 12 and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. 13 And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.”

As I said, Jesus is giving them this prayer as a model prayer for how they can pray. Although you can just pray these words whenever you pray, the prayer can also serve as an outline for your prayer.

The prayer has different aspects in each line. As we go through each line, think about how you would put the prayer into your personal prayer time. 

“Our Father in Heaven”

Praying to the Heavenly Father

First Jesus starts out by saying, “Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.” It is important that this is the first thing that Jesus said because it is identifying who He is talking to. He is being reverent towards God.

Jesus is recognizing that God is His Heavenly Father. We should do the same by addressing God that way. More than specifically calling God your heavenly father, you can address God how you see him. If you see God as your healer or your comforter, call Him that, because this step is all about connecting with God. 

Then Jesus said that God’s name be kept holy. Again this is a moment of reverence for Jesus to God. He is being reverent by telling God that His name is Holy and that it should be kept that way. If someone told you that your name should be kept holy, that means that no one should use your name in a negative way. 

Jesus in this step is addressing God and glorifying God, so we should do the same. However, if we think that we want to address God or however we want to uplift God, we can do that. If you view God as the Good Father, then call him that. If you view God as your healer, then call him that. You can refer to any of the names of God in this part of the prayer to glorify him. 

The Kingdom of God

The next thing that Jesus says is, “May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”

Here Jesus is praying over the Kingdom and will of God. This is a moment of prayer over the world around us, but it is also a personal prayer moment. Jesus is praying that God’s authority would be evident and that the things that God wills, that they would be done. 

We have our own wills, desires, and plans, but at this moment we are laying that down. We are submitting to the will of God. Instead of relying on what we want, we turn to God and ask ourselves to align with His will.

God’s will isn’t always the most convenient or comfortable thing, but through this prayer, we can remember that His will is greater than anything that the world might have to offer us. We are reminded that there is a bigger plan for our lives that God wants us to fulfill. 

Praying for Daily Bread

Praying for daily Bread

After praying for God’s will to be done, Jesus then prays, “Give us the food we need.” By praying this Jesus is bringing up the idea of asking God for the things that we need. For Jesus, He prayed specifically for food, but for us, it can be something different. 

When Jesus prayed for His daily bread, he was teaching us to pray for God to provide for our needs. This can be food, but it could also be clothes, relationships, or any other physical or spiritual need that we might have. Praying for our daily bread simply means praying for the things that we need. 

This sentiment is echoed in Philippians 4:6 where it says, “6 Do not worry. Learn to pray about everything. Give thanks to God as you ask Him for what you need.” The Bible teaches us that prayer should be about praising God, but it should also be about relying on Him for the things that we need. 

Praying for Forgiveness and to Forgive

Following praying for their needs, Jesus prayed for forgiveness and for God to help them forgive. Jesus was perfect and did not need forgiveness for any sin, but He still taught people how to pray for the forgiveness of their sins. Not only that, but He also taught them to pray for God to help them forgive the people around them.

The Bible teaches in Romans 3:23 that, “23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and because of that, we need forgiveness for our sins. What Jesus is reminding them is that forgiveness is received and given through prayer. If we want to be forgiven, we should simply ask for it from God. 

Beyond that, Jesus knew that forgiving people is difficult, so we should pray to God to help us forgive people who hurt us. That is why Jesus makes it a point to pray that the disciples would be helped to forgive others. 

In our lives, we should have that same mindset when it comes to praying for forgiveness. We should ask God for forgiveness, and we can ask God to help us forgive others their sins. 

Forgiving can be difficult, but Jesus taught us that prayer can help us to forgive others for their mistakes. Let’s pray to be forgiven, and to forgive others.

Praying in Spiritual Warfare

Jesus then prayed, “13 And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.” He was praying in Spiritual warfare. 

Spiritual warfare is a real thing. The Bible teaches that we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, but instead against powers of the spiritual realm. Jesus is praying for God’s protection in this situation. 

Although it might not seem like we are in a spiritual battle, we are. We are constantly in the midst of a spiritual battle between good and evil, so we should use prayer as a tool to aid us in that fight. We can pray and ask God to help us to stand firm, and that He would fight on our behalf.

Whenever we pray, we should always pray that God would help us to stand firm. God’s protection is always something that we should be praying for.

Jesus’ prayer is a great outline for our prayers. It shows us the importance of glorifying God, asking for things that we need, asking for forgiveness, and engaging in Spiritual warfare. This can be a format for how we pray as Christians. 

A Few More Instructions on Prayer

There are a few more key elements that can be observed in God’s word about prayer. Having a quiet place and praying for others are both great practices for entering into prayer. 

Praying in a Quiet Place

In Matthew 6:6 Jesus said, “6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” Jesus told about the importance of praying in private. 

Earlier I addressed the importance of praying with others, but praying alone is another great practice for believers, as Jesus said. The problem was that people were praying in the open. They were trying to get people to think that they were wise and spiritual. Jesus realized that was hypocrisy because the people never prayed when they were alone. So, Jesus told them to practice praying in solitude. 

It is important for us to pray in groups of other believers, but we should also be praying alone. The problem in that story was not that people were praying in the open, but that they were not praying alone at times. We should pray with other believers, but only if we have practiced prayer individually first. So that, we won’t be accused of praying only for attention. 

God’s invitation 

God's invitation to prayer

Jesus coming to Earth and dying for our sins, was God’s invitation for us into prayer. God wants us to have a relationship with Him, so Jesus died for us. We can now be invited into prayer. 

Types of Prayer 

Jesus’ prayer encompassed many different types of prayer. He covered many topics that are important, and sometimes it might be good for us to just focus on one aspect of that prayer. 

We can have prayers of worship. You can listen and sing along to a Biblically accurate song and make it a prayer to God. This is a great option for people who are new to prayer. Many people don’t know what to say in prayer, so having a song as a guide is a great choice. 

Another form of praying is a prayer of repentance. Jesus individually prayed for the forgiveness of sins, but we can make that topic an entire prayer. If we open up to God in prayer, He can free us of our sins. 

Beyond that, you could do a prayer of provision. If you are in times of crisis, God wants to hear about it, and He wants you to cast those care on Him. An individual prayer about the things that you need is a great way to pray. 

The Importance of a Prayer Plan

When it comes to having a good prayer life and hearing God’s voice. We recommend following a prayer plan. A prayer plan is a schedule for your prayers. You can alternate the kinds of prayers you use or follow the Lord’s prayer every day. It is all about consistency. 

Whatever prayer you prefer, we recommend that you try to pray every day. Make it a habit. Make it consistent, so that you will always stay rooted in prayer. 

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “17 pray without ceasing.” Praying consistently is a huge key to having a healthy prayer life, so create a plan and stick to it. 

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that prayer is about connecting with God using our words. Jesus taught us how to pray, so we can use His format to guide us in our personal prayer time. 

We should pray with people, and we should pray individually. Both glorify God, but we should make a habit of doing both of them. 

Small group/discussion questions

Prayer Small Group

As we finish this Sunday School Lesson here are some discussion questions for a guided small group time. 

  1. What aspect of the Lord’s prayer do you find the easiest?
  2. What aspect of the Lord’s prayer for you find the most difficult?
  3. How could you implement a prayer plan?
  4. What’s been your biggest challenge in getting into prayer?

After these discussion questions, you can close out in prayer and finish the lesson. For even more detail, check out our commentary on James 5:13-20 which talks about the prayer of faith. 

1 thought on “Great, Free Sunday School Lesson on Prayer for Adults”

  1. Pingback: Valentine's Day Sermon About Love for Church

Comments are closed.