What characterizes good Bible teaching for children? Number one on the list is obvious: teaching that acquaints children with the whole counsel of God through the faithful proclamation of the Scriptures, with the aim of making children wise for salvation in Christ. But over my years of teaching, I also have become more and more aware of a second item on the list: good Bible teaching needs to be undergirded and permeated — soaked — with earnest prayer.
Listen to these words from Charles Spurgeon for Sunday school teachers:
The Holy Scriptures must be made the means of your salvation through faith. Know the Bible, read the Bible, search the Bible, and yet that alone will not save you. What did our Lord Himself say? “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and they are they which testify of Me; and you will not come unto Me that you might have life.” If you come not to Jesus, you will miss eternal life. Searching the Scriptures is able to make you wise unto salvation “through faith which is in Christ Jesus,” but not without that faith. Pray, you Sunday school teachers, that you may see this faith worked in the children whom you teach. What a blessed groundwork for faith your teaching of the Holy Scriptures will be, but never mistake it for the building itself, which is of faith alone. (“The Sunday School and the Scriptures, No.1866,” www.spurgeongems.org)
Teach the Scriptures and pray for faith. This is the great call for teachers. Yes, there are many other factors involved in good teaching (you can find these here). Using Bible curriculum that is faithful to the Scriptures is a must. But don’t stop there. Soak your teaching in God-dependent prayer, pleading with our heavenly Father to bring about faith in Christ in your students. Pray for faith that would grow and flourish and stand firm. Intentionally incorporate these prayers …
- during the week as you prepare the lesson.
- as a ministry team before class begins.
- before you begin the lesson.
- when you end the lesson.
Here are two practical resources to spur you on in praying for your students:
The first part of Utter Dependency on God, Through Prayer is directed primarily to adults for their growth in the faith. Part two provides practical guidance to those who lead children in prayer — primarily in the classroom, but also in the living room. It offers eleven strategies for integrating prayer into your interactions with children and serves as a springboard for creative and visionary thought as you meditate upon Scripture, seeking God with all of your heart, through prayer.
What kind of legacy do you want to leave for your children? Sally Michael encourages you to consider the spiritual inheritance you can give to the next generation through your faithful prayers. In Praying for the Next Generation, she equips you to use Scripture to pray for your child, grandchild, or the children in your church.