Jesus used many prayer parables to explain the spiritual reality of prayer:
- The Vine and the Branches (John 15:1-7)
- Asking, Seeking, and Knocking (Matthew 7:7-8)
- A Father Not Giving a Stone or a Snake (Matthew 7:9-11)
- The Pharisee and the Sinner (Luke 18:9-14)
- Prayer to be Seen by Men vs. Private Prayer (Matthew 6:5-6)
- The Widow and the Judge (Luke 18:1-8)
- The Man who Didn’t Want to Get up from Bed (Luke 11:5-8)
I spent a whole summer staring at a vine in my backyard while reading Andrew Murray’s Abiding in the Vine. I saw the juices of the vine representing the Holy Spirit, and if we are not connected to God in prayer, we are useless. I wrote a whole article about it here: Abiding in the Vine.
We are also to ask, seek God’s will, and knock for doors to be opened. You can illustrate this to children by having them ask for something, then give it to them. They can search for something and find it. They can knock on a door, and it should open. In the same way, God wants us to go to Him in prayer so that He can grant our requests.
God knows good gifts to give us, and He will not give a stone or a snake. Neither will an earthly father. You can dramatize this with children by handing them a stone or a rubber snake. God’s best gift is His Holy Spirit, which enables us to walk by His Spirit.
We are told to ask persistently without growing weary, as in the story of the widow who asked for justice from a judge. She was so persistent in asking that she received what she wanted.
In the same way, a man was sleeping in the middle of the night, and his friend knocked on the door to borrow some bread for his guests. The man would not get up at first, but after persistent knocking, the man finally relented and opened the door.
There have been some requests (like my husband’s insomnia) that I have prayed for years with seemingly no answer, but God doesn’t want me to give up, especially if it’s a true need. The timing might be perfect in the future, or God might be doing something greater than what we’re asking.
A Pharisee stands on a street corner and wants to be seen by men, while a sinner cries out to God, truly repentant of sin. The sinner is forgiven rather than the arrogant Pharisee. In the same way, don’t pray just to be seen by men. Cultivate a private prayer life where you connect to the Lord in desperation, and you will see God meet you where you are.
My children dramatized the parables, to bring them to life. Teach your own children how to pray, and feel free to use these ideas to teach prayer to children in Sunday Schools at your church:
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