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JULY 2011

celloutlines | overview of theme

Introduction For the month of July we will be looking at prayer! If you don’t already have copies of the H2p4 (How to pray for) range of resources from ALOVE UK then please email alove@salvationarmy.org.uk or call 020 7367 4555 and let us know the amount of young people in your group so that we can send you out enough free copies for each of your young people. The H2p4 guides will be a good way of you continuing to encourage your young people in their prayer lives long after the July cell material has finished. We hope you and your group enjoying delving into the topic of prayer and realise for yourselves once again or for the first time the massive impact that prayer can have on your lives.

Additional resources Websites www.praywithoutceasing.org.uk www.prayforschools.org www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship Books How to pray: Alone, with others, at anytime in any place by Stephen Cottrell. Presbyterian Pub Corp (2010), paperback 176 pages ISBN 0715142224.

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How to Pray by John Pritchard. SPCK Publishing (2011) paperback ISBN 028106430X.

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JULY 2011

celloutlines | week one These Cell Outlines are written by ALOVE UK. They are available each week from our web site. For more information and other cell resources, visit www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove/resources

Why do we pray? Welcome Ask group members what they think is the fastest method of communication.

Chinese Whispers – out loud. Pass it on. Stand or sit in a circle. Choose one person to be the messenger; they must decide on a short message which they wish to give to the person on their left – the recipient. The messenger must, however, pass the message to the person on their right who will in turn pass it on to the person on their right until the message finally reaches the intended recipient (ie, like Chinese Whispers, but out loud). Time how long this takes. Now experiment to see if there are quicker ways of passing on the message. (For example, the messenger could write down the message on paper and pass the paper on, or the group could use their phones to text the message around the circle.) Lastly, say that the rule that the message must be passed on to each member to the right is no longer in place. What is now the quickest way for the messenger to get the message to the recipient? Obviously it will be to communicate directly with them.

Word

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Prayer is a way that God and people communicate with each other. We are often told how important it is to pray, but why is it important? Why should we pray? Below are some reasons, taken from www. startingwithGod.com/knowinggod. The site gives background notes on each reason. Print out each reason on a separate piece of card and display them for the group to see. Discuss each one in turn. You may also wish to display a blank piece of card and ask group members for further suggestions of why we should pray. Their suggestions could be written on the blank card and then discussed. Reasons to pray: • Prayer builds my relationship with Jesus. • Prayer helps me overcome temptation. • Prayer is crucial in determining God’s will. • Prayer accomplishes God’s work. • Prayer is a weapon of spiritual warfare. At the conclusion of the discussion ask members if they feel that one of the reasons (or some of them) is more important than the others. Are there reasons they had never thought of before? Do they pray because of these reasons or because they have felt it a duty or have been told to do so?

Worship Read the Lord’s Prayer together. continued over >>>

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JULY 2011

celloutlines | week one (continued...) The Lord’s Prayer Words (traditional – King James Bible) Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen. Invite members to read the prayer found in Ephesians 3:14-21. Give time to reflect on what they have read in silence. Invite members to read the prayer aloud, either to the whole group or choose someone they would like to read the prayer to and for.

Witness It can be easy to talk about prayer, read about prayer, spend a lot of time preparing creative prayer activities to encourage people to pray – and do all this without actually praying. This is the danger of this series on prayer.

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During this week ensure that prayer is part of your daily routine. Suggest that members read or recite the Lord’s Prayer or another suitable prayer at a set time each day. By doing this you will be helping to establish or cement a pattern of prayer into your daily routine, and you will be uniting with other members in thought and prayer as you each pray the same prayer at the same time.

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JULY 2011

celloutlines | week two These Cell Outlines are written by ALOVE UK. They are available each week from our web site. For more information and other cell resources, visit www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove/resources

How do we pray? Welcome Is there another way? Give the group a simple task, such as moving from one side of the room to the other, finding a page in a book or finding out the time. Now ask if they can do the same task again but they must do it in another way. So if they had walked from one side of the room to the other, then this time they can’t use their legs. If they used their hands to find the page in the book, then they must find it again without using their hands. If they found the time by looking at a clock, watch or phone, then they can’t use their eyes to find the time the second time. Make the point that there are many ways to pray. It doesn’t have to be ‘hands together, eyes closed’ as you may have been taught when you were young.

Word Many Christians find it hard to pray. Discuss what you think are the main reasons for this. Ask if any members are willing to share their own experience of why it is hard to pray. Is it a certain way of praying that members find hard? If we limit the way we pray to one particular model, does this make it more or less difficult?

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Ask members to suggest what they think you should do when you pray. Say that you are looking for stereotypical answers. Do members think that you must close your eyes when you pray? That you must be quiet, or that if you are praying in a meeting you must use a different tone of voice, a certain kind of language and lots of long words? Whilst we must be careful that prayer does not become a gimmick, it is good to be creative when we pray. Do members think that if they sing a beautiful song or paint a picture to express their feelings that this could be a prayer if it is offered to God? What do members think about reading poetry or written prayers? Do they think that using someone else’s words is a help or does it not feel genuine? What about dancing before God – is that a prayer? In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Paul says, ‘Pray continually.’ It is not possible to live the whole of life with your eyes closed sitting quietly. There must be more ways to pray than this and prayer must be part of everyday life. It has been said of St Francis that his whole life was a prayer. What do members think this means?

Worship Ask the group for suggestions of how they could pray creatively. Plan the worship section of the next cell meeting using the group’s suggestions. You may wish to allocate more time than usual to the worship in this next meeting to enable this. Read the Lord’s Prayer together (The Message) continued over >>>

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JULY 2011

celloutlines | week two (continued...) Our Father in heaven,    Reveal who you are.    Set the world right;    Do what’s best— as above, so below.    Keep us alive with three square meals.    Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.    Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.    You’re in charge!    You can do anything you want!    You’re ablaze in beauty!    Yes. Yes. Yes. Pray aloud to the members the prayer found in Philippians 1:3-11. Remind them that as their leader you pray for them and want to pray this prayer for them sincerely.

Witness

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During this week experiment with different ways of praying. Prepare a prayer or prayer activity for the worship time in the next meeting.

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JULY 2011

celloutlines | week three These Cell Outlines are written by ALOVE UK. They are available each week from our web site. For more information and other cell resources, visit www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove/resources

Praying People Welcome Provide every member of the group with 2 pieces of card and get them to draw a large tick on one and a large cross on the other. Then read out the following statements and ask them to hold up the card with the tick on if they agree or the card with the cross on if they disagree. • I admire people who appear good at praying. • I know people who will pray for me if I ask them to. • I know that there are people in the church/corps who pray for the young people. • I think people praying for me makes a difference to my life. • I would like to be able to pray better. • I know people who say God has answered their prayers.

Word Ask members to list people that they know pray for them, or people who they think are faithful pray-ers. There are some Christians who have the spiritual gift of intercession, described in the Wagner-Modified Houts Questionnaire as follows: ‘The gift of intercession is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to pray for extended periods of time on a regular basis and see frequent and specific answers to their prayers, to a degree much greater than that which is expected of the average Christian.’ Ask members if they can identify anyone they know who has this gift. Ask if there is anyone in the group who has this gift.

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Praying people from the Bible 1 Samuel 1 to 2:11 Hannah was childless. This was causing her deep distress and people were being unkind to her. Chapter 1:10 records that in her deep anguish she prayed, weeping bitterly. The chapter goes on to say how Hannah’s prayer was answered, and chapter 2 records a prayer of Hannah’s that thanks God for answering her prayer. (You might want to ask if anyone knows another biblical prayer that is very similar – Mary’s prayer (the Magnificat) in Luke 1:46-55, often used in some church services.) Hannah’s story demonstrates how we can pray about deeply personal matters and be honest with God about our feelings. It also demonstrates that God answers the prayers of his people. Acts 12:1-19 Peter was in prison because he was a Christian. The members of the church were earnestly praying for him. The outcome of their prayers is miraculous. It is interesting to note that when the church members continued over >>>

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who were together praying heard that Peter had escaped from prison, they did not believe it! Ask members if they can identify with this. Have they ever prayed to God believing that he can do miracles, and yet haven’t really expected them to happen, or are very surprised when they did?

Worship Refer back to the plans made last week for creative prayer in this session.

Witness Make a list of names of people that the group will agree to pray for this week. It is not necessary to know all the details of why someone is in need of prayer – members can just list names. However, if details can be shared without breaking confidentiality or courtesy, then it helps to make prayers more specific and directed.

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JULY 2011

celloutlines | week three (continued...)

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JULY 2011

celloutlines | week four These Cell Outlines are written by ALOVE UK. They are available each week from our web site. For more information and other cell resources, visit www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove/resources

Personal Prayer Welcome Three wishes. Ask the group if they have ever watched the Disney film Aladdin, and if so whether they can remember the part where the genie appears and grants Aladdin three wishes. (If there’s time the section of the DVD could be shown.) There are some conditions to the wishes the genie can grant – for example, he cannot bring anyone back from the dead or make anyone fall in love with anyone else. Ask members to share what their three wishes would be (perhaps with the same conditions!). Without asking members to share confidential matters, ask if anyone would like to share what they have been praying about recently. There is a danger that we can come to view prayer as a wish list and our prayer life as no more than us telling God what we want him to do. Refer back to Week One and the reasons for prayer. Discuss how or if learning about different styles of prayer has helped members develop their prayer life. Ask if anyone has experimented with different styles of prayer this week.

Word In Matthew 5:6-7 Jesus said three times, ‘When you pray’, and followed this up with advice about personal prayer.

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Ask the group to list things that Jesus was encouraging and discouraging. If the group are not forthcoming, here are some suggested answers: pray in a private place; don’t make a show of our prayers; don’t use prayer as a way of getting the praise/attention of other people. When you pray, what do you say? Give each member a paper circle and ask them to draw a pie chart of how their prayer life could be divided up. Suggest that they may like to include thanks, praise, intercession (praying for others), praying for ourselves, listening. Then compare each other’s charts and discuss. The following areas may form part of this discussion.

Praying for others Discuss whether group members spend more time praying about their own issues and concerns or praying for other people. Which do they find easier?

Praying for the world Ask if group members find it easy to pray for people they don’t know. Do they pray about issues like the environment, the economy?

Listening to God An important aspect of prayer that is often overlooked is that prayer can be a means of two-way continued over >>>

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JULY 2011

celloutlines | week four (continued...) communication between us and God. It is good to talk to him and express out feelings towards him in creative ways, but it is equally important to listen to him. But how does God speak to us? Ask members to share their experience.

Worship Have a time of listening. It may be hard, even embarrassing, for members to sit in silence in the group. Give members the option to go for a walk, listen to some suitable music, or read parts of the Bible. Stress that we are trying to listen to what God is saying. Some members may find it helpful to write down what they feel God is saying, or they may want to tell someone else what they think God has said to them. Again stress that this is optional. God may be speaking to them about personal matters and it can remain between them and God. Lastly, explain that it does not matter if you don’t feel that God is speaking to you. It is not a sign that you are a bad Christian or not spiritual enough.

Witness During this week ensure that a portion of your prayer life is given over to listening. If you have a particular concern or issue you are aware of, ask God to speak to you specifically about that issue. Reflect back on what you have learned about prayer in the last few weeks. Just because next week the group is moving on to a new topic doesn’t mean we can forget about prayer. It has to remain a natural part of our lives as Christians. Give members an opportunity to share one thing they have learned and one thing they will change.

Conclusion

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It is important that leaders model what they seek to teach to young people. It is also important for the members of your group to know that they are supported in prayer. This can help young people to feel valued; it can give them strength when they feel challenged by life. Remind the young people of the people in the corps who pray for them and conclude the series by praying with them and for them.

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July Cell 2011  

Cell material on the theme of prayer

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