This past week we continued in our “Investigation: Prayer” unit, answering the question, “Who should pray?” This is the second question we’ll be answering about prayer, based off of a series of lessons published on the Assemblies of God Prayer and Spiritual Care page. We had a blast with this lesson and I hope you do too!
Goal: Today we will learn that God will speak and listen to children.
Key Scripture: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” – 1 John 5:14
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- Glass jar
- Poster with key Scripture printed on it
- Plastic cups
- Styrofoam balls
- World Map
- Picture of a missionary your church supports & a recent prayer letter
Introduction: Gather the children around in a circle. Have each of them close their eyes and listen while you make the following noises, trying to guess the source of each after each sound is made.
- Shoes tapping on the table
- Shaking rice in a glass jar
- Rubbing sandpaper together
Ask: What sounds do you hear at night when you are in your bed? Today we’re going to hear about a boy who heard something very unusual when he was in his bed.
Lesson: Present the following story: Samuel was a young boy who lived in the temple, serving with the priest, named Eli. One night, Samuel yawned a big yawn and stretched his arms. It was bedtime and Samuel felt very sleepy. After he got himself ready for bed, he lay down and closed his eyes. Then something strange happened! Just as Samuel was going to sleep, he heard someone call, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel sat straight up in his bed! ”Eli must be calling me,” he said. Samuel jumped out of his bed. He ran to where Eli slept. ”Here I am. You called me?” Samuel asked. Eli looked surprised. ”I did not call you,” Eli said. ”Go back to bed, Samuel.”
Samuel went to his bed and lay down. Everything was quiet again. ”Samuel! Samuel!” Samuel heard the voice again. Samuel ran to Eli. ”Here I am. You called me?” Samuel asked. ”No,” Eli said. ”I did not call you. Now go back to bed.” So Samuel went back to his bed and lay down.
A third time Samuel heard the voice. ”Samuel! Samuel!” And once again he ran to Eli. ”Here I am. You called me?” Samuel asked. Then Eli knew God was calling Samuel. ”When you hear the voice again,” Eli told Samuel, say, “‘Speak to me, God. I am listening.’ ” Samuel went back to his bed and lay down.
Soon Samuel heard the voice again, “Samuel! Samuel!” Samuel said, “Speak to me, God. I am listening.” Then something wonderful happened. God spoke to Samuel. God told Samuel how to obey Him. And Samuel listened carefully to all God told him. Samuel was glad he obeyed Eli.
Explain that God will speak and listen to everyone, even children like Samuel. This means that everyone should pray.
Game: Play “Eli Says” (essentially “Simon Says”) with the kids. Explain that Eli helped Samuel to understand that God was speaking to Him. Tell the children that they will have to listen closely to your instructions, just as Samuel had to listen closely to Eli’s directions.
Bible Verse Memory: Ahead of time, write out the words/phrases of the memory verse on balloons (Divide the verse into chunks and have each chunk written on a specific color of balloon to help the non-readers to participate as well).
Scatter these balloons across the room and, after reading the verse aloud from the poster, have the children group the balloons according to color. Next, put the words in the correct order. Practice saying the verse aloud once the children have completed this task. Then, have the children stand in a circle and try to bat the balloons in the air and keep them in the air as they recite the verse together. If the children have trouble with this, work with one colored section at a time and build up to the entire verse. This was BY FAR one of the kids’ favorite activities!
Story Reenactment: Arrange two “beds” on the floor with a pillow and blanket for each. Select one child to play Samuel, another to play Eli, and a third to be the voice of God. Retell the story while the children act out their individual parts and fill in their lines as appropriate. We videoed our reenactment and it was absolutely hysterical! You won’t regret taking the time to film it!
Prayer Microphones: Give each child a plastic cup, a Styrofoam ball, and a piece of foil. Cover the Styrofoam ball with foil. Then, make a hole in the base of the cup and push a pipe cleaner through it and secure. This makes the microphone ‘lead’. Push the foil covered ball into the top of the cup, where is should become lodged. Decorate the cup with stickers. (Source)
Once the children are finished, encourage each of them to offer a sentence or two in prayer, while talking into their “microphone.” Remind the children that God listens and speaks to everyone, even children.
Missionary Prayer: During the Investigation: Prayer unit, we will be introducing one of the missionaries we support each week. I have a world map hanging up in the room and posted a picture of our second missionary couple. Then we were able to read a letter from the couple as well.
If time remains, you can prompt the children with prayers they can offer into their prayer microphones (i.e. What is something you are thankful for? Do you know someone who is sick who we can ask God to heal?)