The Widow and the Judge (Luke 18: 1-8)
Today's Bible Story
Jesus told his disciples a story about how they should keep on praying and never give up:
In a town there was once a judge who didn’t fear God or care about people. In that same town there was a widow who kept going to the judge and saying, “Make sure that I get fair treatment in court.”
For a while the judge refused to do anything. Finally, he said to himself, “Even though I don’t fear God or care about people, I will help this widow because she keeps on bothering me. If I don’t help her, she will wear me out.”
The Lord said: Think about what that crooked judge said. Won’t God protect his chosen ones who pray to him day and night? Won’t he be concerned for them? He will surely hurry and help them. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find on this earth anyone with faith?
Have you ever really wanted something to happen? Maybe you wanted to do well in a school test, or you wanted the holidays to come quicker, or maybe you wanted someone you cared about to get better. Did you pray about it? (pause for answers) Why do we pray to Jesus? Well, I pray for lots of different reasons. Sometimes I just want to say thank you, sometimes I want to say sorry, and sometimes I want to ask for help. Other times I just feel like talking to Jesus just like I talk to friends.
Do you find it easy to pray? What is easy/hard about it? (pause)
There are lots of ways to pray. Can you think of any? (pause) Well, you can just talk out loud or in your head, you can sing, you can write your prayers, you can paint your prayers, you can just sit and listen, you can go for a walk… there are lots of different ways to pray.
Set out two rows of chairs back to back. There should be one less chair than people.
What to do
Make your own prayer book
What to do
Hand out the books to each child, and tell them that this is going to be their own prayer book. It's their special book for them to write or drawer whatever they like in. Talk about the kind of prayer you can do -- writing prayers, drawing, praying in colour, thank you prayers, topic prayers (for family, school, friends, etc).
Let the children create their own prayer books using the creative material you have, and leave a space at the end to let them write/drawer their first prayer. You met like to spread them out around the room and play some quiet music.
What you need
Pairs of pictures that relate to prayer: ways to pray, things to pray for. E.g. picture of a cross, a diary, paints and canvas,
Make the cards. They need to be all the same size. Half an A4 piece of card would be ideal. You could use clip art if you are not confident drawing!
What to do
The Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14)
In today’s story, Jesus talked about two people, a Pharisee and a Tax Collector who went to the temple to pray. They prayed quite different prayers, didn’t they? What were some of the differences you noticed between their prayers? (Pause for discussion) Well, the difference that I want to talk about today is that the Pharisee was comparing himself to the tax collector to show God how much better that the tax collector he was. But the tax collector was more concerned with getting his relationship with God right first.
How many of you have something that you are good at? Like playing soccer, or drawing or anything? (Pause for answers). Well, how do you know you are good at that thing? (Pause) Sometimes, to help me get a better idea about how I am doing, I compare how well I do something; to how well my friends do that something. This is ok, but if I end up spending too much time comparing myself to other people, I will end up feeling bad about myself. You see, there will always be people that are better at you in some areas, and worse than you in other areas.
But the one thing that we can all be the best at is being ourselves. You are special because God made you unique. There is no one else in the world that can be better at being you than you can. God isn’t worried about how good you are in comparison to other people. God is concerned about whether you are being the best you that you can be. And that means being honest about the things that are bad as well as the things that are good. That way, you can learn about how to be the person that God made you to be.
The Pharisee thought he had 'made it' -- he thought he had been accepted to heaven and had succeeded at life because of what he wore, what he knew and how he never made mistakes.
Here is a link to a great children's talk from Flame Creative Children's Ministry
Christianity Cove have written an object lesson on the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, using balloons to help children understand the importance of humility.
Mumble Mumble Game
You need a list of discussion questions ranging from kind of silly to semi serious
What to do
Follow the instructions above, but instead of asking questions when they are in their groups, call out silly things that they need to make using only their bodies. Eg spaghetti on toast, a washing machine, etc