Week 3 objectives: to learn that someone is made righteous when everything is put right between them and God, and to begin to understand that even when the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives we still need to do our part - with God's help we learn and grow to make good and right choices.
Game - 7 mins
Aim: to play a game about choices.
You will need: ‘Footprints and instructions’ sheets (see Printables), newspaper, glue, scissors, ‘How to set up your room’ diagram (see Printables) and masking tape.
Before the session print the footprints and instructions. You will need at least five sets of footprints. Fold the sheets in half and stick the two halves together. On one side of your folded sheet you should have a footprint and on the other an instruction. If you are using thin paper stick a piece of newspaper between the two halves so that the instructions cannot be read through the paper. Set up your room as shown in the diagram.
Ask a volunteer to stand at the start line and choose a footprint from the first row. They should then follow the instructions on the reverse of the footprint. If the instructions say that they should take two steps forward they should miss out the next row and choose a footprint from the third row. If the instructions say they should stay where they are they should choose a second footprint from the first row.
The volunteer should keep making choices until they step over the finish line. Count the number of choices the volunteer makes i.e. how many instructions they follow to reach the finish line. Before allowing another child to take a turn, rearrange the footsteps in each row. Explain that the child who completed the challenge in the fewest steps is the winner.
Talk about - 6 mins
You will need: a large sheet of paper or a whiteboard, Bibles, marker pens and a teaspoon.
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. Remind the children that this verse can be found in the New Testament part of the Bible, in the letter written by James. Explain that James’ letter is about how to live as a Christian.
Underline the word ‘prayer’. Remind the children that talking with God is called ‘prayer’. Explain that Christians believe people can talk with God anytime and anywhere. Talk briefly about the different ways people pray: people say prayers, whisper prayers, sing prayers, shout prayers or even say ‘thought prayers’ in their heads.
Remind the children that last month we learnt three wonderful things 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.
Quickly show the children a teaspoon and write the letters ‘t’, ‘s’, ‘p’ next to the verse. Briefly remind the children that sometimes people write ‘tsp’ instead of teaspoon in a recipe. Quickly 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 word ‘righteous’. Explain that the Bible tells us that when a person becomes a Christian and says ‘Yes’ to God’s love and forgiveness everything is put right between them and God – they are made righteous.
However the Bible teaches that it takes time for a Christian to learn and grow to live God’s way. Quickly draw a stick person next to the verse. In fact the Bible teaches that there is only one person who always lived God's way - that person is Jesus. When Jesus lived on earth he never did anything wrong; he always lived in a way that pleased God. Jesus always loved God and others. Draw two hearts next to the stick person. The Bible teaches that Jesus showed people the perfect way to live. Draw a second stick person next to the first.Today instead of trying hard to follow God's rules, Christians long to be like Jesus; to think, feel and live like him. Christians understand that by learning and growing to be like Jesus they will learn and grow to live God's way.
However Christians also believe they cannot make themselves like Jesus, only the Holy Spirit can make them more loving, more peaceful and more patient, like him. Draw a wiggly arrow pointing to the second stick person. The Bible teaches that it is only with the powerful help of the Holy Spirit that Christians can learn and grow to be more and more like Jesus and learn and grow to live God’s way. Draw a second arrow pointing from the second stick person to the first.
If you have time talk about how Christians believe they can invite the Holy Spirit to do more and more work in their lives. The Bible teaches that as a Christian spends time with God – praying, reading their Bible, worshipping, serving others, meeting together and giving, the Holy Spirit is able to do more and more work in their lives; more and more he is able to change them from the inside-out to be like Jesus. Repeatedly draw over the arrows pointing to the stick people making the arrows bolder and more prominent as you talk about the work of the Holy Spirit.
In James’ letter he talks about the part each person plays in being more like Jesus. People are not robots; they think for themselves and make their own decisions. Even when the Holy Spirit is at work in the lives of Christians they still need to make good choices, they still need to choose whether they will do something God’s way or not. Talk about the game the children have just played. Talk about times when people need to think about making good choices. Ask the children if they can think of any examples. Discuss the children’s answers and suggest situations where the children can make good choices about being patient, peaceful and kind.
The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit helps, guides , changes and equips people so that they can live more and more like Jesus. The part a Christian plays is to invite the Holy Spirit to work in their lives and then, with his love, help and guidance, make good choices – choose to do things God’s way; the way he created people to live.
Point to the verse again and explain that another way to say the verse is: The prayers of a person who is right with God are powerful and effective.
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.