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If Prayer Were A Hamburger

This summer, my wife and I, along with our children’s director at Covenant Life Church, are leading a small gr

oup for families. Over ice cream each week (yeah, not a weight loss small group!), we are discussing one aspect of how to follow Christ together as a family. The first week, we looked at praying as a family. How do you get your kids involved in

prayer? I can claim no original credit for the hamburger prayer model (my mom taught this to kids at her church for years), but it really is a great visual technique for training your kids in prayer. Each part of the hamburger reminds us of a different aspect of prayer. These are my notes from that lesson…

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Phil 4:6).

The parts of a hamburger can remind us of the parts of a prayer!

What is prayer?

  • Prayer is talking with God
  • “Call to me and I will answer you and sow you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jer 33:3).
  • God promises that when we talk to him, he will answer us!

3 ways God answers prayer

  • Yes
  • No
  • Wait (not now)
  • So he will always answer us, but that doesn’t mean he will always give us what we want. Sometimes he wants something even better for us.

Hamburger Prayer Model

  • hamburgerTop bun: The address
    • How we start the prayer
    • How do you start your prayers?
    • Dear God, Dear Jesus, etc.
  • Meat: Praise and thanksgiving
    • The main piece of the prayer
    • Praise God for who he is and what he has done
      • Name aspects of God’s character (love, grace, etc.)
    • What are you thankful for?
      • Family, friends, food, etc.
  • Lettuce: Confession
    • What sin do you need to confess to Jesus?
    • Be specific – learn to name specific sins
    • And be thankful because he promises to always forgive you (see 1 John 1:9)
  • Cheese: Intercession
    • Praying for others
    • Who can you pray for?
    • Your parents, brothers and sisters, friends, etc.
  • Tomato: Petition
    • Praying for yourself
    • What do you want to ask God for?
    • It’s not wrong to ask God for things, we just don’t want that to be the only thing that prayer is about
  • Bottom bun: Closing of the prayer
    • How we end our prayer
    • How do you normally end your prayers?
    • In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Interact: Here’s a great family activity for the beginning of summer. Grill out hamburgers for dinner this week. As you eat, talk about how hamburgers teach us the various aspects of prayer… and then spend a few minutes prayer as a family.


On Hebrews 11: Joseph

By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones – Heb 11:22.

Read: Genesis 50:22-26 and Joshua 24:32

Interact: Why did it matter so much to Joseph to have his bones taken out of Egypt? What was Joseph anticipating to happen some time in the future?

Reflect: In his final words before he died, Joseph offered this last wish: When the Israelites leave Egypt one day, take my bones with you. It’s a strange request to us when we read it, but even more so when we consider that in Egypt he was royalty, second in command behind Pharaoh himself. He would have had the most elegant of burial surroundings. Maybe he would even have gotten his own pyramid to be buried in. Instead, he asks the Israelites to hold on to his remains and take them out of Egypt. As it happens, that is some 400 years later. The important question here: Why? Why would this matter so much to Joseph? Joseph knew that Egypt wasn’t the land God promised forever. He knew his future lied somewhere else… somewhere better. He knew that the Israelites would, one day, inherit that good land.

Faith in Christ doesn’t promise us avoidance of physical death. Joseph died. So will you and I one day. That is the penalty for our sin. But in Christ, death is not our final destiny. Just as Egypt wasn’t Joseph’s home, neither is this world our home. Egypt wasn’t Joseph’s inheritance and this world isn’t ours. Joseph’s inheritance… and our inheritance… is somewhere better. Our home and our inheritance is life eternal in the presence of God, in the real Promised Land.

Respond: In what are you placing your hope? What is your deepest longing for the future? Where do you find your destiny? Pray, asking God to give you, this week, a taste of our final destiny and our eternal inheritance that we have in Christ.

On Hebrews 11: Abel

This week, I am leading a team from Covenant Life Church on a missions project in New Orleans. As a missions team, we are studying Hebrews 11, the so-called “Hall of Faith” chapter. In addition to studying it corporately in our team time, each day we are going to study one of the characters named in Hebrews 11. To start with, on Sunday, we will be studying Abel. Each day I will post a devotional out of Hebrews 11 for your reflection.

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks – Heb 11:4.

Read: Genesis 4:1-7

Interact: Why did God accept Abel’s sacrifice and not Cain’s? Why did God accept Abel and not Cain?

Reflect: Accepted. A simple word that provides the hinge between Cain and Abel. Hebrews 11:4 twice says “acceptable” and then “accepting” with respect to Abel’s gifts to the Lord. Conversely, in Genesis 4:7, the Lord asks Cain, “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” Cain did what he was supposed to do. He made the sacrifice. In fact, the closest we get to a qualitative difference is that Cain’s sacrifice is described as “an offering,” whereas Abel’s is described as “firstborn” and “fat portions,” seemingly indicating that Abel gave his best, not just some. But even to get caught up there is, I believe, to miss the point. It was more than a qualitative difference. It was a difference in faith. As Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “without faith it is impossible to please” God. Cain and Abel both made sacrifices. They both did what they were supposed to do. Only Abel’s was accepted. The difference: Abel’s gift and his life were marked by faith. Cain’s gift and his life were not. The offer was before Cain to do well. He did not, as we find out in the rest of the story. And the difference: Abel walked in faith, the only way to please God.

Respond: Is your life marked by the faith that pleases God and makes your life acceptable to him? Pray, asking God to teach you to walk in faith, making your sacrifices, and your life, acceptable to God.

Lord, Silence the Noise

Lord, silence the noise
Let me please hear your voice
Lord quiet the crowd
And the sounds that surround
Lord, come near
So I can hear… your voice

Lord speak, for your servant is listening
Lord speak, for your servant is willing
Lord speak, for I will obey
Whatever you say
So Lord speak, for I long to hear… your voice

Lord, still me
Teach me to be quiet before you
Lord speak, your spirit to mine
All to you I offer
That I might hear your whisper
So Lord speak, for I long to hear… your voice

Book Review: RELATIONSHIPS by Ennis, et al.

Following is my second review as a member of NavPress’ blogger review program.

When I teach, I frequently use an illustration of a chest of drawers, suggesting that we often treat the different areas of our life – family, work, play, church, God, friends and more – as separate drawers. We open the work drawer from 9-5 and then close it when we leave the office and open the family drawer. The point being, we often treat our relationship with Christ in much the same way. We open the “God drawer” on Sunday mornings or at Bible study. The goal, then, would be to shift our paradigm from Jesus as another drawer to being the whole chest into which all the other drawers of our life fit.

It is to that goal of making Jesus central in our lives, specifically our relationships, that RELATIONSHIPS: Bringing Jesus into My World by Ennis et al call their readers. I have to admit, even from chapter 1, I was a little on the defensive as it required me to be introspective and honest with myself. The win is that when we are able to grasp how we perceive ourselves and the need to redefine our identity and self-worth in light of God’s tremendous love and grace, we will then be able to truly love ourselves. From that foundation, RELATIONSHIPS digs into the way that we love others, ranging from family and friends to “people different from me” and the pursuit of restoring broken relationships. Because it keeps pushing, you will find yourself continually challenged to peel off the next layer off your heart and lay it bear. The reward is that when you do so, you will experience God’s heart for your relationships.

The one reservation I had about the book was that I found myself continually wondering who the target audience is. At times, it seemed unbalanced. The design and some components felt like the book is targeting teens, but if so, it is much deeper and more challenging than any other study for teens I’ve ever read. Conversely, if the audience is adults, some of the language and design seem teenish. Knowing the audience up front would have helped this reviewer know the lens through which to approach the book.

Warning: To really get the most out of each chapter of RELATIONSHIPS, making sure that you set aside enough time. If you really want to benefit from all this book offers, you can’t skimp or skim.