Meet the Parents (Praying… in Plain Language)
Main Point: When we pray, we don’t have to use fancy church words. Jesus just wants us to talk to Him from our hearts.
The Movie Clip:
Meet The Parents is a movie about the first time Greg (Ben Stiller) meets his girlfriend’s parents. What should be an easy, fun weekend turns into one mishap after another leaving, Greg looking like a horrible match in the eyes of his girlfriend’s family.
The clip we are using for this particular discussion features the family sitting down for dinner, and Greg being asked to say the prayer before they eat. He is completely caught off guard by the request and fumbles to conjure up a suitable prayer so not to embarrass himself in front of his girlfriend’s family.
Introducing the Clip:
Today I want to show you a clip from the movie Meet The Parents. Many of you have already seen this movie, but for those who haven’t, this scene begins as Greg, his girlfriend, Pam, and her parents are sitting down for dinner for the first time. Pam’s dad asks Greg to pray for dinner…and that’s where the train jumps the tracks. Let’s take a look at what happens next.
The video can be found and purchased on WingClips at the following link: http://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/meet-the-parents/saying-grace
(The key dialogue is the following prayer by Greg.)
- Greg: Ok…. O Dear God, thank you. You are such a good God to us. A kind, and gentle, and accommodating God. And we thank you, O sweet, sweet Lord of Hosts for the smorgasbord you have so apply lain at our table this day and each day by day… day by day by day, O dear Lord three things we pray. To love Thee more dearly, to see Thee more clearly, to follow Thee more nearly day by day by day. Amen.
Wow, it was obvious that Greg could not wait for that prayer to be over with. I think everyone at the table was feeling the same way! Lots of people are intimidated by prayer. We often think the best prayers are the ones that last a long time and include a bunch of churchy words. But are those the kinds of prayers that impress God, or is He looking for something more real from us?
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
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.
- AROUND THE CIRLCE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and a time when something funny happened during a prayer.
- ASK A FEW: What were some signs that Greg was not used to praying?
- ASK A FEW: When you are called on to pray for dinner, how do you do it?
- ASK A FEW: Is prayer something that comes easy to you, or do you feel more like Greg?
- ASK A FEW: Why do you think prayer seams easy for some people, and for others it’s a challenge?
- ASK A FEW: For you personally, what about prayer is the biggest struggle?
- ASK A FEW: In your opinion, what are a few things that make up a good prayer?
- ASK A FEW: Where do you think we got the idea that long prayers full of big words were what Jesus preferred to hear from us?
Read the following passage:
Matthew 6:5-8 (NIV)
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
The New Testament is filled with verses telling us to never stop praying. We should be saying prayers of thanks for the good stuff in our lives, as well as praying about the stuff we need God’s help with. Prayer was never intended to be something we do just before dinner, or before we go to bed at night. Jesus wants us to be talking with Him all day long about everything.
But Jesus wants us to be real when we pray. In the clip we watched, we saw Greg, a regular guy from the city, turn into the King James Version prayer dude. He was throwing in “thees” and “thous” like they were going out of style. He had one voice and one set of vocabulary words for his friends…and a whole different voice and vocabulary with God. Why was that?
Think about your best friend for a moment. What kind of relationship would you have with them if you only spoke for one minute, one time a day? Or, what kind of relationship would you have if you used a bunch of fake words with them?
Jesus wants to do life with us.
Talk to Him in the shower, while you’re eating breakfast, on the bus, walking to class, in the car, while you’re doing chores, anytime.
He doesn’t care where you are, He just wants YOU…the real YOU!!
In the book of Psalms, King David is constantly talking about going to God for everything. He talks to Him about his fears and worries, his disappointments, his times of happiness, and most importantly, he tells God about how much he trusts Him and knows that He is listening to him. King David talked to God in real and raw terms. My encouragement to you is to take some time this week and read some of King David’s prayers in the Book of Psalms. It just might inspire you to be as real and open with God as David was.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.