July 26, 2020 – Romans 8:26-39
Note to the Teacher
The goal of this series is to remind everyone that the community is bigger than what you can see in the sanctuary. Connection is more than the faces around them; it is the presence of the virtual community, live or delayed that represents the ever-present God who calls us together as one. Nothing shall separate us.
Today’s passage will focus on prayer. It is important to offer a correction to the popular understanding of prayer. Prayer is bigger than all the words that come between “Dear God” and “Amen.” Prayer is not just a time to offer “requests” from a divine vending machine. Prayer is about having a deep, relational conversation with God in which we both speak and listen and in which we are genuinely transformed.
1. Icebreaker: Superlative Conversation Stories (10 minutes)
This icebreaker will invite students to tell stories about conversations they have had in their life that have been the most of something (most funny, most insightful, etc.). The goal is to help them see that conversations take on many forms as should their prayers.
Tell students that you are going to talk about talking! Ask each of them to choose one superlative from the following list and share the story with the class.
- What is the funniest thing anyone has ever said to you?
- What is the wisest piece of advice anyone has ever offered you?
- What is the kindest thing anyone has ever said to you?
- What is the hardest true thing anyone has ever had to say to you?
- What is thing that someone has said to you made you feel the best about yourself?
- What is did someone say to you that inspired you to take an important action?
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
This scripture has a bunch of visual metaphors. If you have a silly or dramatically creative group, invite someone to interpret the scripture with their body as another person reads.
READ: Romans 8:26-39
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
This scripture begins with a conversation about the way the Spirit helps us in weak times through prayer.
- This scripture talks about the spirit helping us in our weakness through prayer. Before we get started, let’s talk about what we mean by prayer. If you had to create a prayer definition, what would it be?
- How does that definition need to change based on the description of the Spirit helping us in our weakness through prayer?
- It says that God works for the good of those who are called according to God’s purpose, yet, bad things still happen. How can the statement here be true even though bad things still happen to Christians?
This passage moves into a new metaphor of being “more than conquerors.” Let’s explore that and then connect the two ideas.
- Take a moment to re-read verses 31-37. Try to sum it up in two sentences.
- What does it mean to be “more than conquerors” according to these verses?
- How do these verses connect to the previous passage about the Spirit interceding for us?
The passage ends with a connection.
- Have you ever felt alone or separated from God? If you are willing, will you share that story?
- What are some of the ways we experience God’s presence? How can that reassure us that we are not ever actually alone?
4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)
Sometimes the circumstances of our life can make us feel alone even though God promises that we are never alone. In order to help us combat that sense of loneliness, we are going to make a piece of art that will be a reminder of all the ways we can experience God’s presence.
The first step is to spend time thinking about all the ways we experience God’s presence. Take a moment to think about all the ways you experience God in these categories:
- Your Mind
- Your Body
Now, take a moment to think about all the people in your life that are godly examples and/or help you feel known and loved.
After that reflection time, it’s time to make the reminder. Give each student a piece of paper and a pencil. Ask them to write down all the things that came to mind in their reflection and any others they think of using the pencil. After they are done give them a highlighter and ask them to write on top of all those words in large block letters “I’m not alone.”
Once they have completed the project invite them to share some of the things and think of a place they can hang their reminder.