Meet the parents dinner prayer

Goal: Students will understand what Jesus taught regarding prayer in His Sermon on the Mount.

Before Your Meeting:

  1. Before your meeting, gather a white board and dry erase markers or flip chart w/bold pens. You will be making a Top 10 List on the chart. You may want to pre-write Reason #1, Reason #2, Reason #3, and so on, allowing space for you to write in student ideas.
  2. Create “Small Group Question Cards” (see sample below). Each student will need a question card and a pencil during Small Group.
  3. Make copies of Matthew 6:1-13 in two versions (printed below).


    Opening Statement:Tonight we’re going to talk a little bit about prayer. Christians often mention prayer or praying. You see people do it at church; some people pray at home; sometimes you even see people pray in restaurants. Prayer can be confusing. Even people who follow Jesus and are committed to obeying God struggle with the subject of prayer. I’m interested to know what students think about prayer and what struggles they may have with the topic of praying.

    Just for fun, let’s create our own “Top 10” list including the Top 10 reasons people might struggle with prayer. Think about it for a minute, what makes prayer difficult? Or, why might someone NOT want to pray? I’ll get us started:

    (Write on white board or flip chart)

    Reason #1 It’s hard to talk to someone who is invisible.

    What else? What can make prayer a struggle?

    Allow students silent thinking time, 10-15 seconds. If more than one student answers at a time just say, “Hold that idea, I’ll be right back to you…” and then return to students as you complete the Top 10 Chart. Don’t look to adult leaders for answers until you have at least seven student answers, this allows students the time to really think and perhaps dig a little deeper in their own opinions as they consider the topic of prayer.

    HINT: You may re-ask the question occasionally to keep students on topic. Simply re-phrase: “What makes prayer hard?” or “Why don’t some people pray?” or “When is it difficult to pray?” or “How do people know what to pray?” You may include a few of your own answers. Be honest, setting an example for students which allows them the freedom and safety of being transparent or vulnerable.

    When your list is complete, or even if you only get FIVE answers, wrap up the Top 10 List by saying something like this…

    Introduction to Video Clip:
    Prayer has been a part of my life for a lot of years. I have read books about prayer and I’ve been in Bible Studies about prayer, but sometimes praying is just hard. I feel like it’s something that I’m supposed to do, but I don’t always know HOW or WHY. Here’s a silly movie clip that I can relate to. It’s from a movie called Meet the Parents with Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro. Ben Stiller’s character is in love with Robert DeNiro’s daughter and they’ve been dating for about ten months. She finally brings him home to “Meet the Parents.” Ben plays Greg; the nervous, in-love house guest who wants to impress the parents of Pam (DeNiro’s daughter) and DeNiro plays a quirky dad who doesn’t automatically like Greg just because his daughter does. In this scene, the four are sitting down to their first family dinner together. Watch this.

    If you are going by Scene Selection, chose Scene #5, “Dinner with the Folks.” This scene begins at 24:00. Or this clip is available to download and purchase from WingClips (as seen in the embedded video clip above).

    Scene Script:

      End the scene at 26.16 on the DVD counter.

      Transitional Statement:
      Ever heard anyone pray kind of like that? Have you ever felt like that? It can be tricky business praying out loud; especially in front of people who you are just getting to know, or if you feel a little bit intimidated by the people around you. Maybe they seem to know more about prayer than you, or perhaps they’ve been Christians for a long time. I can really identify with Greg at that moment. He wanted to pull it off and impress Pam’s parents.

      Divide into Small Groups:
      We’re going to take some time in our small groups now to look a little bit closer at this topic of prayer. (NOTE: You will need the pre-printed Small Group Question Cards and pencils for each student.)

      CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.

      Small Group Opener Questions:

      1. AROUND THE CIRCLE: What is your first memory of hearing someone pray?
      2. AROUND THE CIRCLE: Who is someone that you think does a good job with praying? Why?
      • I know lots of people who pray well.
      • Praying is important.
      • People can and should pray however they want.
      • I feel good about how I pray.
      • I could use some help with the topic of prayer.

      A FEW OF YOU: Who do you know who prays well, and what do you like about their style?SOMEBODY: Would someone share their response to the third statement?A FEW OF YOU: Two or three of you tell us how you feel about your own prayer styles.AROUND THE CIRCLE: If someone could offered you help on the subject of prayer, what might you ask them?Transitional Statement:The Bible talks about prayer a lot. There are over 400 references to prayer throughout the Old and New Testaments, but today we are going to look at just one of them. It’s in Matthew chapter 6 and I have printed out copies of verses 1-13 (optional) in two different Bible versions. Reading out of two versions of the Bible can give us a broader understanding of what the writer was trying to say when he wrote to his original audience.

      (Optional- you can use just one translation if you like.) Two translations are printed below. Print them on separate sheets of paper making enough copies for each student to have their own. Pass out the NIV version first, spend time studying it (directions follow) and then follow the same pattern with The Message.

        Matthew 6:1-13 (The Message)
        1 “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding. 2-4″When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—’playactors’ I call them— treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out. 5″And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat? 6″Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. 7-13″The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:
        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.
        Let’s look at the first version in “NIV”.

        • Read it through and as you find “main ideas” just write them down in the margins of your paper.
        • Circle key words.
        • Circle any words that pop out at you or that don’t make sense.

        After a few minutes, I will ask a few of you to share what you think Jesus is saying in these verses.

        Small Group Questions:

        1. SOMEBODY: To whom do you think Jesus is talking? (At the beginning of chapter 5 we read that Jesus is addressing crowds of people while he sits up on a mountain side.)
        2. A FEW OF YOU: What are some of the “key” words you found?
        3. A FEW OF YOU: What seem to be his main points? (Give to the needy but don’t make a show of it. Pray, but when you do, go some place quiet, and don’t babble.)
        • Read it through and as you find “main ideas” just write them down in the margins of your paper.
        • Circle key words.
        • Circle any words that pop out at you or that don’t make sense.

        (Small Group Questions Continued)

        A FEW OF YOU: What words pop out at you from this version?
        A FEW OF YOU: What do you think Jesus was trying to say?
        A FEW OF YOU: How might the people have responded or what would they have been thinking as Jesus taught them these things?
        AROUND THE CIRCLE: Name one person who has taught you something about prayer and tell us what you learned from them.

        AROUND THE CIRCLE: If you could change something about your prayer life, what would it be? Why would you change it?SOMEBODY: If Jesus were teaching us here today, what do you think He would want us to know about prayer? If it’s the same as He taught these people, how might He say it to us?

        Wrap Up:Jesus obviously wanted people to pray. In the same way that it was important for people to take care of the needy, it was also important to connect with God through prayer. The Bible talks about many occasions where Jesus went off to quiet places to pray. Even though He was fully God, He was also fully man and He was totally dependant on His intimate relationship with His father. We are meant to be totally connected to our Heavenly Father as well. In fact, Jesus even demonstrates a way to pray to the Father in verses 9-13. He shows us that we should:

        • Thank God for His mighty power.
        • Ask for His help to obey and demonstrate His kind of perfect love here on earth.
        • Ask Him to meet our needs (note, that doesn’t mean give us everything we want!)
        • Ask for His protection and strength to fight against sin and the grace to help us forgive people who hurt us.

        People call this “The Lord’s Prayer” because the Lord Jesus prayed it to give us an example. Jesus was teaching us the basics so that we would know how to approach the Holy God. The awesome point in all of this is that the Holy God WANTS us to come to Him with the details of our lives. He wants to have intimate relationships with us and show us that we can depend on Him in every aspect of our lives. It’s not about making it sound good or impressing the people around you like we saw in the movie clip. It’s about a deeply connected loving relationship between you and your Father in Heaven.

        Let’s take a minute to close by talking to Him now.

        • Who will start out by thanking God for His awesome character?
        • And will someone else ask for help as we try to love others the way God loves us?
        • Let’s have three different people pray for specific prayer needs that we know of.
        • And then we’ll spend a minute being silent. You can use this time to get right with God, confess if there’s stuff blocking your relationship and ask for help in fighting temptation.
        • I will close when we’re done.

        Written by Teddi Pettee. Original video clip idea by Nate Swanson and Brad Jones

        Here is a collection of Prayers for Meetings of any kind: Business meetings, Sunday school meetings, church or family meetings, and prayer meetings.

        Opening Prayer for Meeting

        Lord, we are meeting today to conduct matters
        of business. Guide our hearts and our minds in the
        spirit of fairness, right thought and speech. Impart your
        supreme wisdom upon our activities so that our affairs
        may reach a successful conclusion. Thank you for being
        our source of guidance today. Amen!

        Read our full collection of Opening and Closing Prayers

        Prayer to Come to an Agreement

        Dear God, we seek your help with our affairs today.
        Bless this meeting with your divine intelligence, and
        help us to make the best use of our own. We are
        of diverse opinion here. Yet we wish to mend our
        differences and reach agreement satisfactory to all.

        Please share a little of your wisdom with us to help
        us do right by all concerned. Thank you for your
        Heavenly blessing. Amen!

        Sunday School Meeting

        O God, we thank You for this privilege of meeting
        today in Your house. Help us worship You
        acceptably. Bless Your word to us all.

        Bless our pastor and people, in the name
        of Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.!

        School Board Meeting Prayer

        Loving and Gracious God, you are indeed the giver of all good gifts
        and we thank you today for all your blessings, for the successful outcomes
        of our school events and for all our staff members, both the teaching and
        support members.

        We ask that you bless them abundantly and we continue to seek your wisdom,
        guidance, courage and strength. Be with us in our deliberations and help us
        to be wise in the decisions we make for the good of all those who have placed
        their trust and confidence in our leadership.

        Give us insight to lead with integrity that our decisions may reflect what is
        right and good. Keep us from short-sightedness and pettiness. Help us to make
        decisions that are for the good of all and guard us from blind self interest.
        Dear Lord, grant us the humility to always seek your will in all that we do and say.

        All Glory be to you, loving God, now and always through Christ and the Holy Spirit
        forever and ever. Amen.

        Hosting a prayer meeting? Check out these great Prayer Meeting Ideas.

        Family Meeting Prayer

        Our family gathers today in joyous occasion,
        thanks to our Lord who looks after us all.
        Bless this happy meeting and may we all
        be praised in Your gracious name!

        Prayer Request: Post Your Own “Prayers for Meetings”


        If you’d like, you can post your prayer below so the PrayWithMe community can help pray with you.

        Rules for Posting: All prayers are posted publicly through to this site. Don’t use full names or any other identifying information that you wouldn’t want out on the web.

        Don’t post with ALL CAPS, and try to use proper spelling and grammar.

        If you can, help pray for others and post comments of support.

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        More prayers posted in: Meetings

        Mealtime prayers are essential conversations with God. Paul tells us to: “Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

        Poverty and starvation are an everyday reality for some, while others of us quench their thirst and put hunger at bay at our leisure. No matter which side of the pendulum we find ourselves on, praying God’s will over our lives and our meals is important. “… for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18b NLT)

        Praying God’s blessing over our meals is a simple way to make a big difference on the daily alignment of our hearts. Use dinner time and all other times of eating to recall God’s goodness in your life. It helps us remember that our blessings come from our Creator… who deserves credit for all.

        Here are 10 prayers that will fit any mealtime situation, from formal family dinners, to meals on the go at the neighborhood drive-thru:

        1. A Prayer That This Food May Fuel Us to Do Your Work

        Father, Praise You for the nourishment the You provide. Thank You for meeting our physical needs of hunger and thirst. Forgive us for taking that simple joy for granted, and bless this food to fuel our bodies forward into Your will for our lives. We pray that we will be energized and be able to work for the glory of Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

        2. A Prayer in Remembrance of the Hungry

        Father, You are mighty and strong to sustain our bodies. Thank You for the meal we are about to enjoy. Forgive us for forgetting how many pray for food to relieve their starvation. Bless and relieve the starvation of those who hunger, Lord, and inspire our hearts to seek out ways that we can help from our abundance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

        3. A Prayer of Confession

        Father, This meal is the work of Your hands. You have provided for me, again, and I am grateful. I confess my tendency to forget to ask Your blessing upon my life, through the comforts that You have given me to enjoy. So many people lack these daily comforts and it is selfish of me to forget about them in their need. Show me how to make the most of Your blessing in my life, for everything I have is a gift from You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

        4. A Prayer for Family Mealtime

        Father, We have gathered to share a meal in Your honor. Thank You for putting us together as family, and thank You for this food. Bless it to our bodies, Lord. We thank you for all of the gifts you’ve given to those around this table. Help each member of our family use these gifts to your glory. Guide our mealtime conversations and steer our hearts to Your purpose for our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

        meet the parents dinner prayer

        5. A Prayer for Mealtime Fellowship

        Father, Praise You for friendship and family! Thank You for bringing us together today to share a meal. The people in our lives bring us such joy, and we are grateful for time spent in fellowship together. Help us use this time to bond closer as a group, and learn to love each other more. Bless our appetites, both physical and spiritual, to honor You in all we do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

        6. A Prayer for When Someone is Missed at the Table

        Father, We are coping with an empty seat at our table. Be with the one we are without, today, and help us to trust in Your timing, purpose, and great love for us all. As we miss ____________ today, we pray Your blessing over him/her/them, and us, and the space in between now and when we see them next. Until then, may this food bless our bodies, and give us strength to endure the day ahead. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

        7. A Prayer for Dining Out

        Father, Bless this establishment and employees as they prepare and serve our food. Thank You for the opportunity to have our meal brought to us, and the ability to relax and enjoy this time with one another. We understand our privilege to be here, and we pray to be a blessing to those we encounter in this place. Bless our conversation, and may we honor You in all we do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

        8. A Prayer in Remembrance of the Last Supper

        Father, As we sit here today preparing to eat this food, we remember Your Son. How He came here as a human being, and ate with His family and friends just like we do. Thank You for the gift of Jesus, and that we can look to Him knowing He understands our hunger. Bless us, Lord Jesus, and stir our hearts to remember You in all we do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

        9. A Prayer for When Food is Scarce

        Father, We come to You hungry, today. It’s hard to understand why we don’t have enough to eat, but we come to You for strength, knowing that You are our provider. Help us to trust that You will sustain us through times of abundance and times of scarcity. Bless us and help us get back up on our feet again. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

        10. A Prayer for the Drive-Thru

        Father, Thank You for the drive-thru, that saves our time on busy days. We pray for those who prepared our food, and we ask that we would be a blessing to them during our brief encounter today. We remember that they are your children, and that they should be treated with kindness and respect, so that they will be able to see You in our actions. Bless this food to our bodies and keep us safe on the road today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

        Photo credit: Thinkstock

        This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can’t find the words to pray.

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        meet the parents dinner prayer

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