Tag Archives: spiritual disciplines

ACTS Prayers for Kids


Time

15-20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches the ACTS model for praying (Adoration – Confession – Thanksgiving – Supplication), but since kids won’t likely recognize these terms, this lesson uses more familiar language.

Materials

  • Printed PowerPoint slides (in download file, “ACTS Prayers for Kids – PowerPoint” on the Lesson and Material Downloads page) or your own signs that say, “I Love You!” “I’m Sorry!” “Thank You!” “Please!”

Preparation

· Print or make signs (the bigger you can get them, the better)

· Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “You may know this already, but there are many, many ways to pray. There are long prayers and short prayers, prayers for things and prayers for people, prayers of praise and prayers of thanks.”
  • “If you’ve got a way of praying that works well for you, keeping using it. God just wants you to talk to Him, and prayer of any kind is the way we do it.”
  • “For those of you who might be struggling to know how to talk to God, I want to share four simple things that you can say to Him every day.”
  • “I’m going to need four volunteers to help me.” (Select four volunteers, and give each one of them a different sign.)
  • “These four signs represent four things that it’s good to say to God every time you pray.” (As you introduce each type of prayer, put your hand over the head of the child with the appropriate sign. Ask that child to hold up the sign.)
  • “I love you!”
  • “I’m sorry!”
  • “Thank you!”
  • “Please!”
  • “Everyone, say these with me.” (Go through them several times.)
  • “First, let’s talk about ‘I Love You!’” (Point to child holding this sign.)
  • “God loves for us to tell Him that we love Him. That’s why He created us.”
  • “I understand how He feels, because I love to hear my kids tell me that they love me.”
  • “Sometimes, if they haven’t said it in awhile, I’ll say it just to see if they will respond.”
  • “They could say, ‘Dad, I told you last week that I loved you. If anything changes, I’ll let you know,” but that wouldn’t make me feel very good.”
  • “Of course I know they love me, but I want to hear it!…..a lot! They can’t say it too many times for me!”
  • “That’s how God feels. He knows what’s in your heart, but He wants to hear it, and He wants to hear it a lot!”
  • “There are lots of ways to tell God you love Him. Can anyone help me with a few?” (Listen for “sing worship songs,” “tell God how great He is,” “just say ‘I love you, Lord.’ and other ideas.)
  • “Those are all terrific, and if you want to REALLY let God know how much you love Him, you should tell Him WHY you love Him.”
  • “For example, I tell God sometimes, ‘I love you, God, because You gave me my wonderful wife and because You helped me get out of a tough situation last week and because You helped me get well when I was sick.’” (Supply your own examples.)
  • “But don’t just tell Him you love Him because of what He DOES…tell Him you love Him because of WHO He is!”
  • “Can anyone give me an example of WHO God is?” (Listen for the use of the names of God, ex. Creator, the Great Physician, Jehovah, Jehovah-Jireh, Jesus, Lamb of God…)
  • “Great! That’s exactly what I mean! Telling God who He is to you is a great way to tell Him that you love Him.”
  • “I always try to say, ‘I love you!’ to God in my prayers. Sometimes I do it with His names. Sometimes I do it with the things He does for me, and sometimes I do it by singing a song to Him. But I always try to tell Him I love Him, because I know He wants to hear it from me.”
  • “Another part of my prayers is, ‘I’m Sorry!’” (Point to child holding this sign.)
  • “All of us mess up at some time. I mess up almost every day in some way.”
  • “When I do, it’s important for me to tell God that I’m sorry.”
  • “Now, I want to be clear about something.”
  • “When Jesus died on the cross, He forgave us for all the sins that we will ever do.”
  • “That’s a crazy thought, but He knew way back then that I was going to be irritable with my kids next week. He knew that I was going to forget to spend time with Him for several days next month. (Supply your own examples.) He knew about all our sins, and He forgave us forever.”
  • “But, if we sin, and we don’t tell God we are sorry, it starts to make our spirit sick.”
  • “We start to grow farther and farther away from God.”
  • “It’s like if you got into a fight with your best friend, and you knew you were wrong. If you didn’t tell your friend that you were sorry, what you did would start to hurt your friendship with him or her.”
  • “So, tell God you’re sorry every time you do something you know you’re not supposed to do.”
  • “He loves to hear it, and He will fix your relationship with Him right away.”
  • “The third part of my prayers is, ‘Thank You!’” (Point to child holding this sign.)
  • “Have you ever done something nice for someone, and they didn’t even say thank you?”
  • “How did that make you feel?” (Take responses.)
  • “Right, it’s frustrating, isn’t it?”
  • “Well, God does great things for us all the time, and many times, we forget to even tell Him thank you.”
  • “If you’re praying, and you can’t think of anything to be thankful for, remember that He allowed you to take that breath that you just took. He gave you an incredible brain to think with. He gave you friends to hang out with and clothes to wear. There is always something to be thankful for.”
  • “The last part of my prayers is, ‘Please!’” (Point to child holding this sign.)
  • “Sometimes, I ask God ‘please’ for me, and sometimes I ask God ‘please’ for someone else.”
  • “He says to us in the Bible, pray for whatever your heart wants. If it will be good for you, I’ll give it to you.”
  • “How many of you know that God doesn’t give us everything we ask for?”
  • “Can anyone think of why God might sometimes say, ‘no,’ to us?” (Take responses.)
  • “God wants the best for us, so He always gives us what we need and He often even gives us what we want, but sometimes He says, ‘no,’ to protect us from some of the silly things we ask for.”
  • “So, there you have it! Four little prayers that you can pray every day!”
  • “Let’s do something!”
  • “When I put my hand over the head of one of these volunteers, I want you to say the prayer that he/she is holding out loud.”
  • “Ready?” (Hold you hand above the volunteers’ heads in succession. Go down the line several times. The kids enjoy participating in this type of activity.)
  • “Some days, my prayers are a little different.” (Hold you hand above the volunteers’ heads again in succession, but when you get to ‘Please!’ keep putting your hand over that volunteer’s head. It should sound like this: “I love you! I’m sorry! Thank you! Please! Please! Please! Please!….)
  • “And some days, my prayers are like this: (Go down the line again, but linger on ‘Thank You!’ this time.)
  • “And some days, they are like this: (Go down the line and linger on ‘I’m Sorry!’)
  • “We all have days like that, right?” (Go through a few more time, playing with the sequence and the repetition. This is an excellent reinforcer for your lesson content, and it’s high energy for the kids, too.)
  • “Excellent! You guys are terrific!” (Thank and dismiss your volunteers.)
  • “I’m wondering if there is anyone who would like to practice one of these prayers by praying for us as a group.” (Encourage someone to volunteer. They can pray any one of the four prayers out loud. Then encourage someone else to do one. They can choose the same type of prayer or a different one. It’s possible that the children may not want to do an ‘I’m Sorry!’ prayer in a public setting.)
Advertisements

6 Comments

Filed under Adoration, Christianity, Confession, Intercession, Object Lesson, Praise, prayer, Repentance, spiritual disciplines, Supplication, Thanksgiving

Feed Your Spirit


Time

15-20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches that you need to take care of your spirit each day, just like you need to take care of your body. Some assembly is required.

Materials

  • Two fans that can pivot to blow towards the ceiling
  • 3-4 wind socks or plastic table cloth (Windbags from Steve Spangler Science also work great. You can order them online at www.stevespanglerscience.com.)
  • Packaging tape or duct tape
  • Permanent marker
  • Electric power strip or extension cord
  • A few sheets of paper

Preparation

· You are going to create two mini-air dancers (like what were used at the Olympics in Atlanta or commonly in front of retail establishments).

Wind Sock or Windbag

· If you are using a wind sock or a Windbag, cut the cylinder down so that it is no more than three feet tall.

· You will need to tape up the hole at one end and cut two slits about 2/3rd of the way along the windsock for the arms.

· Do this with two of the wind socks. These are your “body” pieces.

· With the remaining two wind socks, cut them each in half to make the arms.

· Tape one end of the “arms” so that air can’t escape.

· Tape the open end over one of the slits in the “body” piece.

· Use the permanent marker to draw a smiling face near the top of the “body” piece.

· Tape the open end of the “body” piece over one of the fans so that air will blow directly into the body.

· Label one air dancer, “Body,” and one, “Spirit.”

· Practice the script, and test your air dancers for leaks and proper inflation.

Table Cloth

· If you are using a table cloth, you will follow all the same instructions as above with a few exceptions.

· Cut out your air dancer – 3 feet long by 18 inches wide.

· Roll it into a cylinder (the 18-inch wide part) and tape up the seam.

· Follow all the other instructions.


Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • (Start with your air dancers on a table next to each other – with a little elbow room for their soon-to-be-inflated arms. The fans should be off (but plugged in!), and the dancers should be deflated. Invite two volunteers up to the table.)
  • “Hi, guys! I’m wondering if you can help me with an object lesson.”
  • “Do you see these two balloon-like bags taped to these fans?”
  • “Well they are actually balloon people, and they represent the two major parts of each one of us.” (Ask volunteers to each read out loud the label on the front of the air dancer in front of them – one is “Body” and the other is “Spirit.”)
  • “Right! This one represents our Body, and this one represents our Spirit.”
  • “Would you say that those are two pretty important parts of each one of us?”
  • “Me, too!”
  • “We’ve got a problem, though. Neither one of these guys is doing so good right now. They are really low on energy.”
  • (Turn to the volunteer in front of the “Body” air dancer.)
  • “What do you think the balloon person representing our Body needs in order to feel better?” (Take ideas, and fill in any that are missed.)
  • “Right! It needs food, rest and exercise to feel good.”
  • “If you don’t get enough food, how do you feel?” (Encourage response.)
  • “How about if you don’t get enough rest?” (Encourage response.)
  • “You feel kinda like this balloon, don’t you?”
  • “Well, let’s say that this fan underneath the balloon person represents those things – food, rest and exercise.”
  • “Could you turn that fan on for me?” (Allow volunteer to turn on fan. Air dancer should inflate.)
  • “Wow! That’s better! When our Body gets food, rest and exercise, it feels good. It has energy.”
  • “But what would happen if you stop feeding it or if you stopped getting enough rest or exercise?” (Encourage response. Then have volunteer turn off fan to demonstrate.)
  • “Exactly! Our Bodies start to feel bad, and they lose energy. If you go too long without these things, your Body gets sick, right?”
  • “You’ve got to give it more food, rest and exercise for it to feel good again.” (Have volunteer turn on fan.)
  • (Turn to the volunteer in front of the “Spirit” air dancer.)
  • “Now, how about our Spirit? It doesn’t need food or rest or exercise to feel good. What do you think it needs?” (Take ideas, and fill in any that are missed.)
  • “That’s right! It needs prayer, Scripture, worship, fellowship and other good spiritual disciplines.”
  • “How do you think our Spirit feels when it isn’t getting those things?” (Encourage response.)
  • “Right! It feels terrible – maybe like this balloon person.”
  • “How do you think it feels when it does get prayer and Scripture and worship and fellowship?” (Encourage response. Then have volunteer turn on fan to demonstrate.)
  • “When it gets those things, it feels really good!”
  • “But I’m a little confused. I know when my body needs food or rest (and sometimes exercise), because it tells me.”
  • (Turn to the volunteer in front of the “Body” air dancer.)
  • “How would you say our body tells us what it needs?” (Encourage responses like “hunger pains,” “yawning” or “sleepiness.”)
  • “But how do I know when my Spirit needs prayer and Scripture and worship and fellowship? Does it tell me somehow?” (Encourage responses, but you will probably have to help with this one.)
  • “This one is tougher, because we aren’t as used to paying attention to our Spirit as we are to paying attention to our Body, but here’s what I think.”
  • “When our Spirit is feeling weak, we can tell because sometimes:
    • We are tempted by more bad things.
    • It is harder to say “no” to temptation.
    • We feel bad about ourselves.
    • We want to hide from God.
    • We worry a lot and are afraid.
    • We aren’t very nice to other people.”
  • “Have any of you ever felt like any of these examples?” ?” (Encourage responses from the entire class.)
  • “If you’re like me, sometimes you let days go by without praying or reading Gods’ Word.” (Have volunteer turn fan off.)
  • “I can go for a little while on the prayer and Bible reading that I did last week, but eventually, my Spirit starts to sag.”
  • “Then maybe I miss a week of going to church or do some things I know that I shouldn’t have done.”
  • “Before long, my Spirit gets sick, and it becomes harder and harder for me to say “no” to the things that I am tempted to do.”
  • “I’ve known people whose Spirits were really sick, because they never fed them.”
  • “They knew that something was wrong in their life, but they tried to fix it by feeding their Spirit the wrong things – like money or expensive things or too much entertainment or sometimes even drugs and alcohol.”
  • “But none of those things helps your Spirit to feel better.”
  • (Turn to the volunteer in front of the “Spirit” air dancer.)
  • “Remind me again. What does our Spirit need to stay healthy?” (Encourage responses. Then have the volunteer turn on the fan.)
  • “Exactly! We need prayer, Scripture, worship, fellowship and other good spiritual disciplines.”
  • “If we’re going to do good things for God, we need a healthy Spirit like this one.” (Pointing to air dancer.)
  • “So, let’s all try to feed our Spirit the things it wants before it even has to ask us for them!” (Thank and dismiss volunteers.)

1 Comment

Filed under Christianity, Coping skills, Fear, Object Lesson, spiritual disciplines, temptation, Worry

Guard Your Gates! (OBJ LESSON)


Time

20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about the need to protect our hearts and minds from the evil things that might get in them.

Materials

  • Small box
  • Heart-shaped object
  • A handful of candy or a few candy bars

Preparation

·You might need a confederate when you try to tempt the “gate-keepers” to let you into the city.Talk to one of the older children ahead of time, and let them know you want them to let you in the gate after you’ve tempted them some – maybe when you offer the candy.Ask the child to keep this a secret.

·Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “I am going to tell you a story from the book of Nehemiah.”
  • “In the time of Nehemiah, there was a temple in Jerusalem, but there were no walls around the city.”(Ask for a few children to volunteer to come be your temple.Have them stand together and hold the small box in the center.)
  • “This box represents the Ark of the Covenant.”
  • “The Ark was the most important thing in all of Israel.It represented where God came to meet with His people.”
  • “Now, without walls around the city, the temple was unprotected.”
  • “At any time, the enemy could just walk in and steal the Ark of the Covenant, because there was nothing to keep the enemy out.”(Pretend to be the enemy, and show how easy it is for you to come in and steal the Ark.)
  • “Now, the Ark of the Covenant is gone today.No one knows for sure what happened to it.”
  • “I think that’s because we don’t need it anymore.You see, God replaced the building that was called “The Temple,” with our hearts.He now meets with us in our hearts instead of in a building.”
  • “The Bible says that God removed our ‘heart of stone and gave (us) a heart of flesh.’” (Ezekiel 11:19 – Replace the box with the heart-shaped container.)
  • “And our enemy is Satan.He wants to steal our hearts so that God can’t use us for His purposes.”
  • “So, the temple is like our heart today.What did Nehemiah need to protect the temple?”(Walls)
  • “Right!And Nehemiah was smart.He put together a team of people, and they began building those walls.”
  • “But if Nehemiah needs physical walls to protect the temple, what do you think we need to protect our hearts?”(Spiritual walls)
  • “Exactly!We need spiritual walls!Well, just like you build physical walls stone by stone, you build spiritual walls piece by piece when you do good things for God.”
  • “Can anyone give me an example of a ‘stone’ you might put in your spiritual wall?”(Look for examples of spiritual disciplines and good works for God.As kids mention them, have them come up to be part of the wall around the temple.Examples include: Bible study, giving, helping others, prayer, meditating on God’s word, solitude, going to church, worship…Keep taking examples until you have a complete wall around the temple.)
  • “There!We have our spiritual wall to protect us from Satan’s attacks.If we didn’t have our spiritual walls up, Satan could come right in and steal our hearts.”
  • “Walls are good to have, but we are missing something.We also need gates!”
  • “Without gates in the wall of Jerusalem, the good stuff, like food and supplies couldn’t come into the city.”
  • “In the same way, without gates in our spiritual walls, there is no way to let in good things like God’s Word.”
  • “So, we need gates – can anyone think of what our gates might be?Where does the good stuff come into our minds and hearts?” (Ears, eyes, mouth)
  • “I’m going to make these people our gates keepers.”(Pick two or three pairs of children and have them hold hands to designate that they are the gates.Make sure you include your confederate if you are using one.)
  • “Having gates is good, because they let the good stuff in, but they can also let in bad stuff.Your gates are the weakest part of your spiritual wall, and Satan will try really hard to get in through them.”
  • “Can anyone give me some examples of things Satan might try to get past your ear gates, your eye gates or your mouth gate?”(Take examples, and if needed, supply the following:

omusic with bad lyrics

obad scenes in movies

oprofanity

opictures in magazines

ogossip

orumors

othings you might feel jealous about

omean words

othings that might make you feel bad about yourself

odrugs or alcohol (because they make you do things you wouldn’t ordinarily do – like open your ear gates and eye gates to really bad stuff)

oother peoples’ personal things that are not to be shared (like a diary)

oviolent scenes)

  • “Wow!Satan has thought of a lot of stuff to try to get in through our ear gates, eye gates and mouth gate.”
  • “Let me show you how he works.”(Go to one of your gate-keeper pairs and try to tempt them to open the gate to let you in.)
  • “Hey, guys!How are you today?Say, I would really like to get into that gate.Would you mind opening it for me?”(Assuming they say, “no,” try some of these temptations.)

o“Aw, c’mon, do it for your friend!We’re friends right?You don’t want to be uncool do you?”

o“Wait until everyone hears what a loser you are!”

o“What if I offered you this candy?Would you open it for me then?”

o“You would be my best friend ever!”

o“Those guys over there let me in all the time.”

o“If you let me in, I’ll give you something really cool!”

o(Add other temptations that you think might work.If no one succumbs to the temptations, use your confederate to get into the city.)

  • “HA!I knew I could get in!Now that I’m in here, I think I’m going to set up camp.”
  • “When Satan gets into your heart and sets up camp, the Bible calls it a stronghold.A stronghold is the place in your heart that Satan holds, and it’s where he attacks you from.”
  • “There is a story in the last chapter of Nehemiah in the Bible that tells about when one of Nehemiah’s enemies came to live inside the temple!”
  • “Nehemiah had left the country for some time, and while he was gone, some of the people who were friends with Nehemiah’s enemies let a man named Tobiah move in!”
  • “That’s like letting Satan live in your heart!Who wants that?”
  • “The good news is that Nehemiah was a man of God.When he found out that Tobiah had moved into the temple, he kicked him out of the temple and out of the city.Then, he bleached the place and filled it up with temple furniture and offerings.”(Nehemiah 13:4-9)
  • “So if Satan gets past our gates with his junk, what do you think we ought to do?”(Throw him out just like Nehemiah did!)
  • “That’s right!Kick him out of your heart and mind!Then close those gates, and don’t let him in again, because if you keep letting him in, he’s not just going to want to live in your heart – he’s going to want to steal it for himself!”(Demonstrate stealing the heart-shaped container from the temple.If, as often happens when I conduct this object lesson, you are mauled by the children, it’s best to give up the heart before you incite a riot.)
  • “So, how many of you are going to be careful to build your walls and guard your gates from now on?”

5 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Coping skills, Hands-on, Obedience, Object Lesson, Satan's tactics, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Warfare, temptation

Center of His Will (OBJ LESSON)


Time

10 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about the need to stay in the center of God’s will. Doing so will help us withstand the craziness that happens around us.

Materials

  • Square plywood board (2 ft. x 2 ft. or larger)
  • Twelve foot of rope cut into four, 3 ft pieces
  • Drill and 3/4” drill bit
  • Plastic cup
  • Pitcher of water
  • Water

Preparation

· Drill holes in each corner of the square board.

· Tie a knot at one end of each piece of rope.

· Thread one piece of rope through each of the four holes. Pull through until the knot stops the rope from continuing through the hole.

· Tie the unknotted ends of the ropes together in one, big knot. (Make sure that each rope is the same length from the knot to the board. Otherwise, your board will not hang flat.)

· Fill the cup ¾ full of water.

· Have a pitcher of water nearby so that you can refill the cup after it spills.

· Practice putting the cup in the center of the board and swinging the board in a 360 degree circle. If you do it fast enough, the water will not spill out.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

· “Sometimes in life we feel like everything is out of control.”

· “Imagine that you are this cup of water.” (Show cup of water.)

· “And pretend that this board is God’s will for your life.” (Show board, and put it on any edge of the board – not in the center.)

· “Sometimes in our lives, everything starts spinning around us, and it really messes us up!” (Dramatically swing board back and forth until the cup falls off and the water spills. Be far enough from the children that you don’t hit any of them with the board.)

· “Can anyone give me some examples of times that it feels like life is spinning out of control around you?” (Take examples from the children.)

· “Does anyone know why the water spilled when I started swinging it?” (See if the children can guess that the cup of water needed to be in the center of the board.)

· “Right! The problem is that the cup needs to be in the center of the board. That’s the safest place.” (Refill cup with water, and place it at the center of the board. Dramatically swing the board back and forth in wider and wider arcs. Then swing it in a complete circle several times. Centrifugal force will keep the cup in the center and the water in the cup. The children will often be suitably impressed.)

· “Remember that I said that the board represents God’s will for your life?”

· “When you’re not in the center of God’s will, the craziness that happens in your life is really going to upset you.”

· “But if you’ll get to the center of His will (that means doing the things He asks you to do in the Bible), even when things spin out of control, you’ll be remarkably calm. Watch! (Swing the board in full circles several more times.)

· “So, what are some things you can do to keep you at the center of God’s will?” (Take ideas.)

· “Excellent ideas! Hey! Want to see it again?” (Swing the board and the cup of water again. If you are brave and have practiced the move beforehand, you can do a dramatic finish. Let the board come to a rest. Then, pop the board upward. The cup of water will pop up in the air, and you can catch it with your free hand.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Anxiety, Christianity, Coping skills, Fear, God's Will, Obedience, Object Lesson, Worry