162 & 163 - A contest on the mountain & God sends the fire


15 minute Story planner

1 Kings 18
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, pages 186 to 188

At the time of this story Ahab was the King of Israel. Jezebel was Queen. There was a drought in the land. Elijah was a prophet; he listened to God and passed God’s messages on to the people. The nations around Israel did not worship the One true God, they worshipped Baal. The Israelites disobeyed God and began to worship Baal too.     

Extra notes
After telling the story, briefly talk about where the children might see flames. Use this opportunity to remind the children that they must not play near fires and never touch matches or lit candles.

1. Setting the scene  - 2 mins 
Find the Old Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about 'The Old Testament FlashCards' cards one to seven

2. Starter question - 1 min  
Have you ever entered a competition?… what did you do to take part? People often take part in sports competitions; we might call them races, tournaments or contests. A competition or contest is a way of finding out who is the best at doing something; who is the fastest, strongest etc. One day God's prophet Elijah held a contest on top of a mountain. People gathered to watch. But it wasn’t a sports tournament or a competition that you or I may have seen before. The contest was to show who was the One true God – the God of Israel or the god the other nations worshipped.

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

  • A dressing-up crown
  • Pieces of wood – garden twigs would be suitable
  • A jug of water
  • ‘Elijah’s prayer’ speech bubble (see Printables)
  • Strips of red, orange and yellow tissue paper

Click on the images at the beginning of this post for more resources from the web

4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy the puzzles in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Build a model altar
You will need: a tray (a baking tray would be fine), some soil, some large stones and some cups of water

1. Explain to the children that today we don’t build altars to God in the way people did in Old Testament times. We no longer need them to worship God or to ask for his forgiveness; instead we can worship God whenever or wherever we are. We can however imagine what the altar looked like where Elijah worshipped God.
2. Place some soil in the tray and cover it with some large stones. Encourage the children to pour two or three cups of water over the stones.
3.  Remind the children that there was a drought in Israel at that time and water was scarce.
4. Ask the children why Elijah poured water onto the altar. Talk about how some people think it was to show that God could make even the wet wood and stones burn. Explain that others think Elijah was showing people how special God was - even though there was a drought Elijah poured water on God’s altar as a sign of God’s importance.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God we think about the story. We picture Elijah, building an altar out of the twelve heavy stones. When we remember that the stones represented the families of Israel, we realise that Elijah wanted every part of the altar to be about you and your people. Father help us to think carefully about you in every part of our lives; help us to put you right at the centre of everything we do. 

Father we imagine Elijah pouring water on the wood. We remember that water was very precious at that time and that Elijah wanted people to see how special you are. Father we imagine the onlookers faces as the wood on the altar began to crackle and burn. We imagine their surprise as the flames covered the damp wood and dried up the water in the trench. Thank you Father God that you are powerful and that you long for people to know more about your mighty power. 

Father we think of Elijah's simple prayer. Thank you that our prayers do not need to be complicated or clever but can be simple like Elijah's. Amen

With younger children, or during a shorter session you may wish to select just one or two phrases from the reflective prayer.

Alongside this story, make the craft...

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