Summary: Remind the teacher of the necessity of prayerasapartof their preparation. Excellent for teacher training sessions.
Effective Teaching Begins on Your Knees
Someone once defined a “rut” as a grave with both ends knocked out. Most teachers, in the church setting, have been teaching for many years. As a pastor I am truly thankful to those who have served faithfully week after week. But there is a potential danger that we must be made aware, getting into the “rut” of preparation. I remember as a boy I would be riding my bike and at times the tire would get in a rut that was made by a car tire on soft ground. Getting out of the rut was a difficult challenge.
The danger that lurks in the obscure background is the familiarity and routine of teaching from week to week. How does one avoid this pitfall? How does one maintain a fresh anointing? How does one fan the flame passion for the students that God has placed in our care? There are many answers to these questions but I want to talk about the heart of teaching, our spiritual preparation.
We prepare our minds and even our attitude as we approach our class. Most teachers know the lesson and are mentally prepared to deliver the truth. But we must not fail in preparing our heart.
One teacher realized the danger of falling into the “rut” and made a commitment to pray for his class each day of the week, and specifically, one hour on Sunday afternoon. Each Sunday he would take his Bible, teacher’s manual, and his class attendance book into his place of prayer. He would begin by praying for each student whom he felt God had entrusted to him. He then thanked God for the privilege to teach and for the difference that God was making in his students lives. He then would talk to God about his own shortcomings, which would remind of the needs that were in the lives of the students. He would passionately intercede in their behalf. Last of all, he would look at the teacher’s guide and begin to ask God to give him understanding of the lesson and a fresh anointing for the next class the following Sunday. It was always the best hour of his week.
Elmer Towns made this statement concerning the teacher and prayer, “You are not prepared to teach until you have prepared yourself through prayer. Prayer preparation involves more than just leading your class in prayer.” I would like to share with you five very specific aspects of the spiritual preparation of the teacher.
1. Pray for a teachable spirit. The greatest teachers come from the best learners. Ask God as David did in Psalm119:18 for God to “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” A learner must assume the position of submission at the feet of our Lord. This is where great teachers are born.
2. Pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit in your class. I believe that the anointing of the Holy Spirit is available for classes of all ages. Yes, teaching the younger students is very practical as they coming bouncing into the class with everything on there mind from X-box to Barbee dolls. Yet, in His way, the Holy Spirit can minister to the heart of each one of our students, children to adults.
3. Pray for guidance during your lesson preparation. Unfortunately, many glance over their lesson and just “go with the flow” of the class. There is a vast difference between following the leading of the Holy Spirit and spouting off whatever comes to our mind because of our lack of preparation. It takes time in preparation of the heart and mind to share a lesson that will make an impact on a student’s life. Someone once said that preparation is the difference between winning and losing. In most cases the winning and losing is an athletic event or some type of competition. For us, winning and losing can be the difference of influencing someone’s eternal destiny.
4. Pray for each individual. The greatest act of love that you can do for someone is to pray for them. Think of the difference of the attitude between a teacher who has invested time in prayer for their students through the week and the one who has not mentioned their name since the last class time. One sees their time in the class as an opportunity, the other as a duty.
5. Pray for the student’s growth. The Apostle Paul begins many of his letters with a prayer or blessing. His prayer is not for a material blessing, healing or even for a special prayer request. Paul prays for their spiritual growth, for their love to abound and the list of spiritual blessings could continue.
The most effective ministry of a teacher is accomplished on his or her knees in prayer before God. How do we climb out of a “rut?” It begins on our knees.