Charles Spurgeon was a famous preacher in England many years ago. He had a wonderful eloquence with the English language. He once described prayer as “the slender nerve that moves the muscle of omnipotence.” What a thought! Imagine the almighty muscle of our great God, being put into action by the slender nerve of a common prayer from people like us.
We all desire that God would work through and bless the Bible Study lessons we prepare and present to our class each week. God’s blessing on our presentation is not by accident. He will always bless His Word as it is taught since He does not allow His Word to return to Him void and empty. But another determining factor to the effectiveness of our teaching has got to be prayer.
Prayer is obviously part of the entire preparation process. As you study and look for good illustrations and read commentaries, it is important to be praying. Ask the Lord to show you what will meet the needs and capture the attention of your class the best. It is always an amazing thing when you feel God leading you to make a certain point in a lesson and later have a person come to you, sharing a specific way God used that point to speak to her life. Let’s give praise and glory to His name, as He responds to the simple prayers of His teachers.
Prayer is vital for the teacher’s personal life. Establishing a daily quiet time with the Lord is the most important thing any teacher can do to be an effective teacher of the Word. A quiet time has at least two parts to it—time in the Bible, allowing God to speak to you, and time in prayer, allowing you to speak to God. It is the most important discipline to establish in the life of a growing disciple.
There was a time when I felt it was self-centered to pray for myself, but I have grown to realize that other people depend on my walk with God. The people we minister to anticipate that we have gotten something in our study that they need to hear. If we are not praying for insight and guidance from God, we are really letting our people down! I guess we could say that praying for one’s self is quite unselfish in the bigger picture of things.
Prayer also has the ability to connect your heart to the hearts of your pupils. Effective teachers have learned the great value in praying for the people they teach. A great tool is to make up a prayer list that includes the names of each of your students and the prospects for your class. The list can become quite lengthy; so, many teachers divide the names by five and pray for a part of the list each day, Monday through Friday. Some teachers even put a photo next to the person’s name with room to write out prayer concerns.
Prayer is also needed for the lessen presentation. During your Sunday morning quiet time, be sure to pray for God’s blessing and presence upon the lesson as well as other teachers and ministers in your church. Prayerfully review your lesson, being open to any last-minute changes the Lord may want to give you. Pray before you begin to teach and pray afterwards that God would apply these truths to everyone’s heart.
As you teach the Bible, you are involved in a very spiritual process. You are literally handling the things of God. You are shaping lives for God’s glory and honor. Such an awesome task must be bathed in prayer to achieve the spiritual results we desire.
Dave Frasure is CABA's Disciple-making Catalyst and pastors First Baptist South Lebanon, Oh. .