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Doctrine in dialogue format
Penelope Potter Ss.T
"GOOD MORNING MISS POTTER!"
"Is everyone ready to begin their Sunday School lesson for today?"
"YES MISS POTTER!"
"Very good. Then we will begin. Today's lesson is about prayer. First, can anyone tell me what prayer is? Yes Martha? Do you know what prayer is?"
"I think so Miss Potter. But what I was going to say is Billy doesn't pray right. He doesn't close his eyes real tight like he's supposed to."
"Yes I do! You don't close your eyes at all Martha. I saw you."
"Miss Potter? Why do we have to close our eyes when we pray? It's all dark-like then and I get kind of scared like the devil is in my room."
"That's a good question Willy. Can anyone tell us why we close our eyes when we pray?"
"I know Miss Potter. It's so nobody can see what we're thinking when we pray. I think of funny things when I pray."
"Why do we pray Miss Potter? Big people say it's to talk to God. Why does God want us to talk to Him? Doesn't He have anybody to talk to in heaven?"
"That's silly Danny. Sure God's got lots of people to talk to. He has Jesus and a whole bunch of angels He can talk to. Doesn't He Miss Potter?"
"Yes, God has others He can talk to. But we are God's creation. He cares for us like children. And He wants us to talk to Him like a parent wants their children to talk to them. Can anyone tell me what we pray about when we pray? Yes Teddy?"
"My mother says we pray so God will like us and not be mad at us and kill us. Is that why we pray Miss Potter? So God won't be mad?"
"That's not why Teddy. My mommy says we pray to ask for things, like on Christmas when we ask Santa Clause for things. That's why we pray, isn't it Miss Potter?"
"Unh-unh Lucy. We pray 'cause we're supposed to pray, don't we Miss Potter?"
"Children, sometimes things we take for granted, like prayer, is not all it appears to be on the surface. We think we know what we're doing, and why, because we never stopped to think about it. We just do what we're told. Prayer is very important, like eating. But like eating, if we eat wrong, or too fast, or we eat the wrong things, it can do us more harm than good. Prayer is not a ritual or a courtesy like saying 'hello' or 'thank you.' But that is how we treat prayer. Prayer is talking to God. And God is our Father. So we talk to God the same way we talk to our parents, and for the same reason. Can anyone tell me why we talk to our parents? Yes Laurie?"
"Miss Potter? What does God look like? I mean, when I talk to my mommy I can see her when I talk to her. Even when I talk to her on the telephone I can see her in my brain. But I don't know what God looks like. I don't even know if He's real because I never saw Him before. I saw Santa Clause, but he's not real. How do I know God is really there to hear me talk to Him?"
"That's a very good question Laurie, and one I think most people have, but never ask. How do we know God is real? Can anyone tell me?"
"I know why God is real Miss Potter. It's because our Pastor says He's real. And he wouldn't lie to us, would he Miss Potter?"
"That's why most people believe in God Charlie, and they don't bother to question it. Can anyone tell me if China is a real place? Yes Peter?"
"China is real Miss Potter. I saw it on a map."
"Oh! Me! Miss Potter. I know God is real because I saw a picture of Him in a magazine and in a movie one time. That means He's real, doesn't it?"
"I saw pictures of people from mars, but that doesn't make them real Mary Jane."
"Yes it does too Billy! How can they take pictures of something that isn't real? Huh Miss Potter?"
"Pictures don't make something real Mary Jane, although at your age most of you would naturally believe what you see and hear. As we mature those beliefs we form remain with us and we're unaware of it, and don't realize that we are still being effected by those childish beliefs. In the olden days it was different. Everything a person saw was real unless it was a simple drawing or painting. Now movies and paintings are so real that it's hard not to believe even some cartoons aren't really happening before our eyes. These are hard things to set aside. When you see aliens on the movie screen and you're told they're not real, it's hard for you to believe that God is real, and that He made you and that He cares for you, when at school and on TV your teachers are telling you that He's not real. I can see why it would be very hard to really believe in God. So if it's hard to believe in God, why do we pray?"
"So we can get what we want, huh Miss Potter?"
"Uh-uh Charlie. It's so we'll look good for the pastor and not look funny when everybody else is praying. I just close my eyes and think of playing a video game. That's the way I pray."
"Children, is there anyone here who really talks to God when they pray? Nobody? Yes Steven?"
"I do Miss Potter. I talk to God like He's real. Am I doing something wrong? Maybe I should be thinking of something else when I have my eyes closed?"
"No Steven. You should do just as you are. God is real. But He's not real to very many people because not many people have ever met God. And the reason they haven't met God is because they don't believe in Him, and because they like to do things God says not to do, so God won't talk to them. Yes Steven?"
"I don't know if I met God or not Miss Potter. But one time I think God talked to me. I was scared. And I talk to Him now and I feel better when I talk to Him. But I don't always close my eyes when I talk to God because I talk to God all the time. Am I doing it wrong Miss Potter? Maybe I should close my eyes or God won't hear me. I do that at bed time and when we eat. Is that enough?"
5And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. 6The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:)
16Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:)
8The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.
9The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness. (Prov 15:)
44How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? . . . 46For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 47But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? (John 5:)
35I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 36But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. (John 6:)
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