Week 4 objective: to think about why praying helps us not to worry.
Game - 7 mins
Aim: to play a game introducing the principle that God wants us to pray through our problems.
You will need: a newspaper, sticky tape, pieces of A4 paper, felt-tip pens, ‘prayer’ textbox (see Printables) and masking tape.
Before the session, put a strip of masking tape on the floor towards the edge of your teaching space – this will be your ‘start line’. At a distance of approximately one meter put a second strip, parallel to the first. At a distance of one meter from your second strip stick a third strip. Repeat this until you have at least four strips – each one meter apart. On the strip nearest the start line write the number ‘10’, on the second strip write the number ‘20’ and so on until all the strips have a number written on them.
Stick the textbox to the front of the newspaper. Roll up the paper with the textbox inside to make a baton. Secure it with two or three pieces of sticky tape. Place the baton next to the start line.
During the session give each child three pieces of paper. Ask them to write the word ‘worry’ or a ‘W’ on each piece. While they are writing encourage them to think of one or two things that they might worry about or something they know other people worry about. When they have finished ask them to screw up their pieces of paper.
Ask for two volunteers. The first volunteer will be the ‘thrower’. The second will be the ‘batsman’. Ask the batsman to give their screwed-up paper to the thrower. The batsman should then stand at the start line and hold the baton like a baseball bat. Encourage the thrower to stand one or two meters from the start line and throw the screwed-up pieces of paper. The batsman should bat the paper towards the strips of tape. Use the numbers on the strips to score each hit. Write down the scores or encourage each volunteer to remember their total. The child with the highest score is the winner. When all the children have taken part, unroll the newspaper to reveal the ‘prayer’ textbox. Briefly tell the children that during the game they were hitting their ‘worries’ away with the prayer baton. Reassure the children that we will talk a little more about this later.
Talk about - 6 mins
You will need: a large sheet of paper or a whiteboard, Bibles, marker pens, a teaspoon and ‘God is good’, ‘God is powerful’ and ‘God is wise’ signs (see Printables).
Before the session write the verse on the sheet of paper or whiteboard.
Read the verse aloud and explain that this verse will help us learn more about prayer. Quickly underline the reference and explain that this verse can be found in the New Testament part of the Bible, in a letter written by Paul to the church in Philippi. Help one of the children to find the book of Philippians in a Bible.
Draw a stick person next to the verse and write the name ‘Paul’ underneath. Remind the children that Paul wrote this letter while he was in prison. Draw some chains around ‘Paul’s’ wrist (a simple string of circles would be sufficient). Explain that in his letter Paul tells the Philippians that being in chains has not stopped him talking about Jesus – in fact it has helped him spread the news that through Jesus everybody everywhere can become close friends with God.
Underline the word ‘pray’. Remind the children that prayer is talking with God. Explain that Christians believe that people can talk with God anytime and anywhere. Talk briefly about the different ways people can pray: people can say prayers, whisper prayers, sing prayers, shout prayers or even say ‘thought prayers’ in their heads.
Remind the children that the Bible teaches that people can talk to God about absolutely anything, however because of who God is and what he is like, there are some things that people say to him time and time again. Last month we learnt three wonderful things that the Bible teaches about God – God is good, God is powerful and God is wise. Because of these three things, when people talk with God they often say ‘Thank you’ for something he has done, ‘Sorry’ for something they have done and ‘Please’ as they ask him for the things they need to live his way and live lives full of peace and joy.
Show the children a teaspoon. Write the letters ‘t’, ‘s’, ‘p’ next to the verse. Explain that sometimes people write ‘tsp’ instead of teaspoon in a recipe - they might write ‘you need a tsp of sugar’. Write ‘thank you’, ‘sorry’ and ‘please’ next to the verse and circle the first letter of each word. Explain that a teaspoon is a good way to remember that, because of who God is and what he is like, people often say ‘Thank you’, ‘Sorry’ and ‘Please’ when they are talking with him.
Underline the phrase ‘ask God for everything you need’. Explain that the Bible teaches that God wants to give people all that they need to live his way and live lives full of peace and joy. Remind the children that living God’s way is about two main things – loving God and loving others (draw two hearts on the board). So what does God give people that helps them live his way? There are so many things God gives people it is difficult to list them, but here are a few (you may want to quickly write down some of the things as you list them): God gives people his love, forgiveness and eternal life (which means one day they will live in Heaven with him). God gives people the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit gives people guidance, comfort, help, peace, patience and joy. Encourage the children to think about some other things God gives people to help them live his way. Summarise by saying that Christians believe that they need all of these gifts from God and many more to live his way and live lives full of peace and joy.
Underline the word ‘worry’. Explain that a worry is a problem or trouble that we think about over and over again. It might be a small problem but as we think about it, it begins to feel like a really, really big problem. Remind the children that the word ‘prayer’ was written inside the newspaper baton. Explain that during the game they were batting their ‘worries’ away with the ‘prayer baton’. Tell the children that they played this game today to help us all remember that praying helps us keep worries away; talking with God helps us not to worry.
Read the verse again and ask the children why they think talking with God helps people not to worry. Respond positively to the children’s answers. Remind the children that over the last few weeks we have learnt that God wants people to ask him for everything they need to live his way and live lives full of peace and joy. Remind the children that because God is good, powerful and wise Christians believe he can and will give people what they need.
Talk with the children a little more about how knowing that God cares for us and that he will give us what we need, will help us not to worry. Remind the children that the Bible teaches that God loves us more than we can imagine and he has promised that by his Holy Spirit he will come alongside and never leave us on our own. Christians believe that God wants to give people his peace. He wants to help people through their troubles. He doesn’t want people to worry; he wants people to pray and trust him instead.
Christians believe God wants us to pray about our problems and trust him in our troubles.
As this is the last week, cover up the Bible verse and ask the children if anyone can say it from memory. Help the children if they get stuck. If you have rubber stampers and tickets stamp the tickets belonging to children who can say the Bible verse. Include those who needed some help.
Song - 2 mins
To the tune ‘Auld Lang Syne’
Don’t worry about a thing my friend,
But pray and ask God,
For everything you need my friend,
And when you pray give thanks.
Philippians chapter 4 verse 6,
Says pray and ask God,
For everything you need my friend,
And when you pray give thanks.