Our story for the night was in Acts 12....Peter gets out of jail, so we decorated the basement like a jail....with torches and candles and then left it pitch black. Here is our lesson outline.
God Hears and Answers Prayer
1. Met outside for Bible story.
- We sat outside in the grass while I read them the story from Acts 12. It's quite a dramatic story in any version, so pretty easy to just read it straight from the Bible. After reading it through once, with voices for Peter, the praying Christians, and the angel, I summarized it again, asking the kids to participate as we told the story. We "snored" for Peter, "clinked" for chains falling off, "knocked" (incessently) for Peter at Rhoda's door, and "exclaimed" as the Christians saw Peter for real. We emphasized that God heard and answered the prayers of the Christians.
2. We re-enacted the Bible story in our pre-made "jail."
- We have a back door to the basement of the church, that leads through a pretty dark and spidery hallway till you get to the classrooms. We had all the light turned off, and Aaron and I were the jailers (everyone else was Peter). I had made a torch out of my large flashlight and some orange tissue paper. Looked pretty cool.
- We took "Peter" down into the jail, where we had some candles set along our path to light as we passed. Everything was dark.
- We acted out the story....I was the jailer....then handed the torch to Aaron and slipped away to be the angel....then "dissapeared" and played Rhoda while narrarating.
- We had set up Rhoda's house in the kitchen, since it had a door to close.
3. Ate snack and read the Bible.
- On Rhoda's table we found crackers and water and tunafish. We celebrated Peter's return by eating and sharing stories.
- Keren had prepared a list of neat Bible verses talking about prayer. We helped each kid look up the verses in their Bibles, and Mara read them out loud. This was a pretty neat activity....but maybe the kids are too young, they lost interest pretty fast in that. Wanted to play with the torch instead.
- We had made a prayer chart for the wall......"God does answer prayer!" and then 3 columns....Yes, No, and Wait. We talked about how God can answer our prayers, and then added some prayer requests to the list. Next week we'll see which category to put them in.
- Note: I was a little hesitant to teach using this illustration, since I have, in my experience, run across some anti-Christian ridicule of this system. I was unsure how best to present that God really does answer prayer and it isn't just co-incidence. While preparing the lesson and praying about it, I couldn't find another way to tell it, and so am trusting God that He'll help us believe the truth. Have you any successful teaching ideas for prayer?
- We asked if the kids wanted to pray. Two did...about our two things. But, after actually sitting down to pray, we realized that A. really was a bit shy about praying out loud. We tried encouraging him, and also explained he could "pray in his head" and then say Amen so we could finish. He wasn't sure about that. So, I showed the kids how to pray in your head (by bowing my head and silently praying and then saying Amen.) They all burst out laughing! After both Keren and I tried to explain it again, A. stopped and stared at me and said, "You really think God heard you?!" That was a great opportunity to teach about God knowing our thoughts and prayers, even when they're silent. Hopefully they understood.