Jesus Prayed for Me
TEXT: John 17:1-26
- supplemental scriptures
The students will be able to relate that they were included in the prayer Jesus prayed to His Father. They will know that He prayed for unity among them, for God's will to be done in their lives, and that they would be kept from evil.
- memory verse
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word. — John 17:20
- bible lesson outline
Introduction: Open your class session by showing your class a small, beautifully-wrapped package. Have a tag attached to the gift which says "To: All Who Love Me. From: Jesus." Let one of the students open the gift. Inside have pasted a small cutout figure of Jesus in a praying position. (See pattern for In-Class Activity.) Underneath the figure print the words, "I prayed for YOU."
- Ask your students if they have ever asked a parent, friend, or minister to pray for them. Bring out that praying for someone is a very special gift to them.
- Just before Jesus' crucifixion, He met with His friends and helpers. He prayed a very special prayer for them and for those who would later believe on Him.
- He asked His Father to keep the disciples as He would no longer be in the world.
- He prayed that God would help all those who loved Him to be in unity, that they would know God's will in their lives, and that they would be kept from evil.
Climax: Jesus prayed and made provision that all those who love Him will be with Him in Glory, and that includes us if we have asked Jesus into our hearts.
Conclusion: The Lord loves His people, and wants them to be one with Him, in this life and in eternity.
Response: The students will be able to explain the aspects of Jesus' prayer for His followers.
- background information
God had a plan for a Redeemer from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). Various prophets and wise men seemed to catch a glimpse of God's plan, but none seemed to completely understand it. They seemed to understand that there was a King coming, the Messiah, of the line of David, but few realized that before Christ was to be King, the prophecies concerning His suffering and death must be fulfilled. Even His disciples questioned whether or not He was at that time going to restore the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6).
No, this was not the time the Lord was to become the ruler of Israel and of the world. When Jesus began His ministry, His forerunner, John, said "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Jesus came as the "carpenter's son" and from the lowly town of Nazareth. There seemed to be no way in which the priests, scribes, and elders could reconcile this Man with their idea of the Messiah who was to come. Yet, the prophet Isaiah stated that "he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:12). In today's memory verse we read that Jesus included us in His prayer and in Romans 8:34 we read that even now Jesus is at the right hand of God making intercession for us.
- in-class activities
- Show pictures of people from many different countries. Let the children try to guess what country the people represent. Discuss how Jesus loves us and prayed for all who love Him. He wants us to be ready to do what He wants us to do.
- Use puppets and conduct an interview of a disciple who heard Jesus' prayer for His followers. Include questions that will lead the children to understand that if they love Jesus, they were included in the prayer. Some suggestions: Why did Jesus pray for people who already loved Him? Why did He pray for people who were not yet born? Do you think the devil still bothers people today?
- Write the memory verse in large lettering so it can be easily seen by all in your class. Highlight the words, I, BELIEVE, and THEIR. Discuss these words in each section of the verse. Be sure the children know these were the words of Jesus as He prayed for everyone who would believe He was God's Son and love Him.
- Jesus loves everyone in the whole world but He said a special prayer in this lesson for all the people who loved Him and for all who would love Him in the future. These would be people in His Church. Draw a large outline of a church. On a separate sheet of paper draw lots and lots of happy faces and cut them out. Divide the faces between your students and talk quickly about each one. Example: This face is John. He loves Jesus. He is a member of God's Church (put him inside the church). This is Susie. She likes to go to Sunday school but doesn't want to obey her parents (put her outside the church). Have something to say about each one. Then describe what unity is. Tell the children that in today's lesson Jesus prayed for everyone inside the church—God's Church—to love each other. They should want the people who are outside the church to love Jesus too.
Special Instructions for Unit 30: Give your students the Prayer Power Project for this week: Plant a Prayer
- Was Jesus' prayer for everybody or for a select group?
- Who is included in that group?
- Why did Jesus include us in His prayer even though we weren't born yet?
- What did Jesus mean when He prayed, "They are not of the world"?
- What do you think the word unity means?
- If Jesus prayed for us, do you think we can stay saved? How?
- How did Jesus know the devil would tempt us to do evil?
- Why was it God's will for Jesus to die on the cross?
- What example in prayer did Jesus set for us?
- pre-school suggestions
- Make a copy of the figure of Jesus in a praying position (see Patterns) and mount it in the center of a board. From magazines and catalogs cut out pictures of current-day people (many ages, sizes, colors, etc.) and back them with different colored paper. Attach a small white heart or heart with Jesus sticker to each picture. Put these at different places around the figure of Jesus as you talk about how Jesus prayed a special prayer for those who love Him. You might want to include photos of the children in your class.
- For each of your students, make a copy of the fold-up church with Jesus' prayer inside (see Patterns). Be sure to line up the front and reverse of the paper so the church will be even when you cut it out. Explain to the children that Jesus prayed this special prayer for all who love Him.
- Give each child a copy of the picture of Jesus as He is praying for His disciples and those who love Him (see Patterns). Let them color the picture as you tell the story.
- review ideas
If possible, have someone come and bring a newborn baby. Interview the parents, asking questions about the things the baby does. Why do the parents love the baby? Will they still love him when he is 10, 20, 60? Did they love him before he was born, before they really knew him and how cute he would be? Jesus loved us so much more than that, that hundreds of years before we were born He prayed for us—His children.
Write the letters JESUS PRAYED FOR ME at the top of a large posterboard. Write the names of several teachers inside white paper hearts and place them, one at a time, on the posterboard. Comment on each heart: Jesus prayed for teacher Brad, Jesus prayed for teacher Carol, etc. Explain that each of these teachers love Jesus and work for Him. They are happy that Jesus prayed for them so they can love each other and do good things for everyone. Then show the children a large white heart. Tell them that any of them who believe Jesus is God's Son and love Him were included in this special prayer. Jesus prayed many prayers for everyone, but the prayer in today's lesson was especially for those who love Him.
Bring some simple objects for use in your review that illustrate the three aspects of Christ's prayer for us that are listed in the objective. Take a spool of thread to illustrate unity. Break off one long piece. Demonstrate that this one piece can be broken. But if you put a number of pieces together there is much greater strength—now it cannot be broken. For the second part of your illustration put out an egg, a large heavy frying pan, and a hammer. Ask your group if you could break the egg with the hammer. Of course you could. But if the egg is protected by the pan (cover it) then you can strike the pan but you cannot break the egg. (Demonstrate.) Jesus prayed that we would be protected from evil in the world that would try to destroy our Christian lives and testimony. Finally, show your Bible. Jesus prayed that we would know God's will in our lives, and this is found by reading the Word of God.