|Story Passage:||Acts 12|
|Other Passages:||Ephesians 6:17-18, James 5:13-19|
|Objective:||Teens should learn that they should be praying, and that prayer is effective.|
|Memory Verse:||1st Thessalonians 5:16-18,
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
[Read Ephesians 6:17-18]So what's the last thing that goes with the armor? Once we put on our armor, we should pray. In a way, prayer is the last piece of the armor.
What kinds of things do you say when you talk to God? Do you ever tell God that you love him? Do you thank God for the things he has done for you? Do you ever ask God for anything? Today's lesson is about a church that asked God for something – and God answered their prayer.
Story: Peter in Prison
King Herod wanted the Jewish leaders to like him. It would make him a stronger king. Now, the Jewish leaders didn't accept Jesus, so they were upset with the Christians, who were following Jesus. So Herod decided he could make them happy if he wasn't very nice to some Christians. In fact he was outright mean. He had the apostle James killed, and that made the Jewish leaders happy, so then he had Simon Peter arrested and put in prison. What do you suppose he was going to do to Peter? Maybe he was going to kill him too. Or maybe he'd have him beaten with whips. Whatever he had planned, it wasn't going to be very fun for Peter.
Herod assigned four squads of four soldiers each to guard Peter. Do you think Peter could get away from sixteen soldiers? Herod was serious about keeping Peter from getting away. The night before Peter was to stand trial, he was sleeping between two soldiers, and he was chained to them, and there were sentries guarding the door. Peter was stuck! But the church was praying earnestly to God for Peter. They were gathered at the house of a woman named Mary, the mother of John-Mark. Many people were there, and they were praying.
While Peter was sleeping, suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in his prison cell. The angel woke Peter up, and his chains fell off. The angel lead Peter out of the prison. Peter followed him out past the guards, and the guards didn't try to stop him — they didn't even notice. They walked right past them, and the iron gate opened by itself, and they went out. Peter didn't know it was really happening. He thought he was having a dream or a vision. But when Peter and the angel had walked a block away from the prison, the angel disappeared, and Peter realized that it was really happening, that God had actually sent an angel and rescued him.
So he went to Mary's house, and knocked on the outer door. A girl named Rhoda came to answer the door, but when she recognized Peter's voice, she was so excited that she forgot to even open the door, she ran to tell the others that Peter was at the door, but they didn't believe her.
You're crazy. Peter's in jail.But Peter kept on knocking, and finally they let him in. Boy, were they surprised to see him! God had answered their prayers before they even expected it, and in a way they did not anticipate.
Why were the people in the Jerusalem church gathered at Mary's house to pray for Peter? They were worried about Peter, afraid of what Herod might do to him. So what did they do? They prayed. They asked God to do something about their problem. They asked God to help Peter. Do you suppose they thought praying would really help? They were surprised when Peter actually showed up at the door, weren't they? When we pray, even if we know prayer is effective, we don't always expect results right away. But sometimes God gives us faster results that we expect. Sometimes it takes longer. But God wants us put on our spiritual armor, to be alert, and to pray to him. We can be prayer warriors for God.
Invitation: Prayer Warrior
Give an invitation for teens who want to commit to pray more.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.