In case anyone is interested this is my talk from this morning, for our all-age service. Sorry about the notes, various instructions to myself - we used bubbles as a prop and even had a bubble machine during the worship - worked well with the kids!
Turning to The Lord’. Acts 9:32-43
Turning to The Lord’. Acts 9:32-43
Just to give you a bit of an intro, this morning we are going to look at PRAYER. Do you know in the old or traditional church they use something special to symbolise prayer, to make the prayers visible, help us to picture them.. .. – does anyone know what it is?
Incense.... bit like smoke - was used to symbolise prayers rising up to heaven – as they go up like smoke, going up into the air.
TODAY: So today we are going to use something to symbolise our prayers too.Can you guess what it is? We have been using them already...
We are going to hand some out... Now need a bit of adult supervision here!! Don’t worry if they get spilt...
Whilst we go through the rest of the service I want you to help us to think about prayer so whenever we pray or when I talk about prayer I want you to blow your bubbles to help us all imagine our prayers rising up to God.
So shall we have a little practice – everyone has a blow and I will say a little prayer...
So if we look at today’s passage, it we see 2 pretty awesome miracles don’t we? These are not just healings, they are the ultimate aren’t they? I mean one guy has been paralyzed (do you know what that means kids..) for 8 years, bedridden.. can’t move... and the other is dead! What more do you need when you see healings like that?
WANT TO SEE THAT HERE.. I don’t know about you but I long to see that kind of miracle here, in our church, in Mid Sussex, to see God moving in such an amazing way right here. And I believe he is going to...
NOT MIRACLES BUT SIMPLE...
But although they are amazing, it’s not the miracles themselves that stood out to me, it’s the really simple way they happen. What does Peter do? In the first he just says to Aeneas, ‘Jesus Christ heals you’ (Get up and tidy up your mat) . A simple prayer, in Jesus’ name. And in the case of Tabitha (or Dorcas), the dead woman, the word says that he sent every one from the room and got on his knees and prayed. then he says ‘Tabitha get up!’. 3 words!! Simple... No special words, no stream of endless prayer. He just asks of God and they receive.
Will we see that happen here in our church? I guess that not many people here will have seen anything like that happen... but there is no reason why we can’t.
BIBLE ON PRAYER: The bible tells us we have Jesus living inside of us, the bible tells us to pray in His name. It tells us to pray about all things (Philippians 4:6), it tells us to never stop praying (1 Thess 5:17), it tells us to pray in faith. (Mark 11:24)
But it’s hard, right? Sometimes prayer is not easy. Sometimes we struggle. Particularly if we have something really troublesome going on in our lives, something hard to deal with, prayer can be the furthest thing from our minds, it should be the first port of call, but sometimes it’s the last resort. I mean some prayers are not the little bubble prayers are they? – like this – kids...
Praying for someone to be healed from being paralyzed or being raised from the dead, that’s like a really BIG BUBBLE PRAYER , (BUBBLE WAND DEMO...)
In fact in the passage we looked at it looks like the disciples might find it hard sometimes too... v 32. says that Peter goes to visit the Saints – or the believers, Christians. But yet they ask him to pray. The word says: v 38: Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!”
These are believers, Christians... and yet they send for Peter to pray. We don’t need to send for someone else to pray – we all have Jesus within us.
So why do you think Peter could just pray such a simple (but huge) prayer and see people healed in such amazing ways? Ask kids...
I think it’s because he knew Jesus. He was a friend of Jesus, he spent time with Jesus, and not just actually with him, which he did do, he spent time after Jesus had died, seeking him in prayer (in the passage it says, he got down on his knees and prayed) – what do you think he was saying then?
What would we say if I asked you today to pray for someone who had just died? To pray for them to be raised from the dead, to be alive again
What would we do? we be like, yeah ok, come on let’s pray..?
In Peter’s position, I think I’d want to spend a week on my knees! Crying out ‘help Lord!’ what do I do! What do I say? I would undoubtedly be stressing out.
But Peter doesn’t do that does he? Remember he had seen people raised from the dead before when he was with Jesus (Jairus daughter Mark 5). Perhaps it wasn’t a huge big deal for him. He knew the power of Christ. And what did he do? He made some time for God. He sent the people out, got down on his knees and prayed. We don’t know how long it was for, might have been 5 mins. Might have been an hour... (I imagine he just said to God, I’m here, I am your servant, please use me to see this wonderful woman who has helped so many people, raised to life). And so after spending time with God in prayer, he could just say ‘get up...’
The bible tells us to pray about all things (that’s the little stuff and the really big HUGE stuff!) . It tells us to Trust in the Lord (Prov 3:5). ‘Trust in the Lord will all your heart...’ How can we trust him if we don’t really know him? If we don’t even spend time with him.
Prayer is our way of being with God, of spending time with him, getting to know him. Because we should remember, prayer is not just about asking Him for stuff . It is not a one way conversation as we sometimes treat it. I am sure you have heard it said before, but: How many of us, rattle of a list of people or things we are praying for then get up and go. (stream of bubbles). We don’t even allow God the courtesy of answering us do we?! Let’s listen to God! Listen to what he might be saying to us, what he might be asking us to do? How can we know God or know his will for our lives if we don’t spend time with him, in his presence. And I am preaching to myself here too! Even those of us who call ourselves Christians are guilty of this I am sure! Our lives are busy, finding time is not easy... But every one of us can do that, we can spend time with him, even if its just a few minutes. Even you (kids...).
And in those quiet prayer times, its where we get to know God, if we allow him in.
And then, when we really know Jesus, when we take time to know him, like Peter did, then, maybe then, we will have the confidence, the faith, to pray for these things, absolutely believing that God can and will act on our prayers.
Kids: what do you do when you make friends with someone? You talk to them, play with them. YOU just spend time with them, you get to know each other, get to know each others likes and dislikes. And we can have Jesus as a friend like that – only he already knows us, knows our likes and dislikes – he made us after all!
Not enough faith?
Please don’t hear I am saying we don’t have enough faith, that’s not what I’m saying. The bible says we all have a diff measure of faith, but all we need is a mustard seed. This is about knowing Gods will for us and for our lives, knowing what to do in a difficult situation, knowing how to pray in faith.
So this morning I would love us to lift some of our really tough prayers to God. Let’s come together and lift some of the problems we have been struggling with, the people that have been on our heart but we just don’t know what to do, the sick needing a miracle to be well, let’s lift them this morning to Jesus, asking in faith for him to answer our prayers.
Welcome: hand out pens and cards...
So we’re going to ask you to spend a few minutes thinking about what you are struggling with in prayer, or the things you find hard to pray for. In groups, too many for me to split up so can you try and group yourself into 4 or 5 if possible, and please come sit with the kids, I am always learning from my kids, so let’s learn from them too and lets encourage them too...
Lets write down those prayers – bubble cards –
And we can all do this, kids too – what would you like to pray for? My daughters fave prayer at the mo is for it to be sunny – we pray that every night don’t we ? But perhaps you have something that is worrying you – new school, a friend in need, let’s lift it to God right now! If you can’t write it, draw a picture of it, or you can ask an adult to help. 5 mins, so let’s not spend too long!