Week 1 objective: to learn that this verse was written by James and his letter is about living as a Christian.
Game - 7 mins
Aim: to play a game that involves a ring.
You will need: a long piece of string, a dress ring (something not precious), lively music and the means to play it.
Encourage the children to stand in a circle with a volunteer in the centre. You will need a length of string that allows approximately 50 cm per person. Slip the ring onto the string then tie a knot in it to form a giant loop. Encourage everyone in the circle to hold the string loosely in front of them using both hands.
Explain that the children need to carefully pass the ring along the string from person to person (in either direction) in such as way that the volunteer doesn’t see it. The children can even pretend to pass the ring to confuse the volunteer. When the music stops the children must keep their hands still while the volunteer tries to guess who is holding the ring. If they guess correctly the volunteer joins the circle and the person holding the ring stands in the centre, if they guess incorrectly everyone stays where they are for the next turn. If you have time play the game two or three times.
If you have a small number of children you may want to play a different game. Give two volunteers the ring and ask them to step outside the room. (Make sure this complies with your safeguarding policy.) The volunteers need to decide which of them is going to wear the ring.
When they have decided, they should come back into the room with their hands behind their back. The other children need to guess who is wearing the ring – some children will make it really obvious, others might be able pretend that they are wearing the ring even if they aren’t.
Talk about - 6 mins
You will need: a large sheet of paper or a whiteboard, Bibles and marker pens.
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.
Underline the reference. Explain that this verse can be found in the New Testament part of the Bible, in the letter written by James. Help one of the children to find ‘James’ in a Bible. Explain that people don’t really know which James wrote this letter. Some people think it might have been Jesus’ brother, others think it was one of Jesus’ disciples.
James’ letter is about how to live as a Christian.
Briefly remind the children that a Christian is someone who has said ‘Yes’ to God’s love and forgiveness. Christians are followers of Jesus. They are Jesus’ disciples. Draw two smiley faces next to the verse. Under the first face write the word ‘Jesus’. With the powerful help of the Holy Spirit Christians learn and grow to be more like Jesus; more peaceful, patient and kind. They learn and grow to live God’s way, the way he created people to live. Being just like Jesus doesn’t happen straight away; all their lives Christians are learning and growing to be more and more like Jesus. Draw an arrow from the first face to the second face.
However, James says that if someone says they are a Christian other people should be able to see them living in a Christian way. People should see Christians living more and more like Jesus; learning and growing to live God’s way. Here are some things that James says in his letter about living as a Christian:
1. Christians should be careful what they say – Christians praise God, they should be careful not to say wrong and unkind words too.
2. Christians should pray for people who are unwell.
3. Christians should treat people fairly.
Hold up the ring that you used in the game. Tell the children that James said that however rich or poor a person is we should treat them the same. If two people walk into your church, one wearing a big fancy ring and smart clothes and the other dressed in a shabby outfit, don’t rush up to the person wearing the fine clothes and show them to the comfortable chairs, then tell the person wearing the shabby clothes to stand at the back. You must treat everybody the same. Show everybody to the comfy seats… you should love everybody around you in the way you love yourself. (James 2: 2 - 4.)
Explain to the children that next week we are going to think a little bit more about what James says in his letter about prayer.
Song - 2 mins
To the tune ‘Yankie Doodle went to town’
Powerful and effective are,
The prayers of righteous people,
Powerful and effective are,
The prayers of righteous people.