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BIBLE PASSAGE: 1 Kings 19
BACKGROUND: Elijah has gone from seeing God burn the sacrifice when he is up against the prophets of Baal to suddenly fearing for his life. Jezebel has threatened him and he has run away. Elijah has lost confidence and concludes that life isn’t worth living any more, but God provides for him and leads him to Mount Horeb.
The focus in this session is on ‘catching’ from God and expecting him to ‘speak’ in different ways. (For more in-
depth info on catching, check out Session 4 of the Parenting for Faith course at parentingforfaith.org)
Invite the children to sit together in a circle. Encourage them to share stories from their week. Celebrate any birthdays or special events. It can be helpful to have an object or cuddly toy to pass around for the child who is talking to hold. Ask the children to whisper their answer to the question: “What is your favourite weather?” Thank God that he is with you, and ask him to help you learn more about him today.
You will need: music and the means to play it Play some music. When you stop it, the children have to freeze. You could add the rule that the last person to freeze is out,
or simply enjoy playing the game together. Play for as long as you have time and the children remain interested.
You will need: a candle and matches (or a battery-operated candle); a fan; scrunched- up paper for rocks
Gather the children together and tell this story:
Elijah loved showing people how powerful God was. He was a prophet, which meant that he told people what God was saying. He had just seen God send fire to burn up a sacrifice to show people who didn’t believe in him how powerful he was.
But now he was afraid. Queen Jezebel had sent a letter to Elijah saying that she wanted to kill him. Elijah was really scared and really tired. He ran away! He wanted to give up.
Elijah felt alone. He sat under a tree and said: “I give up. I’ve had enough.” Then he lay down to sleep. Everyone lies down.
An angel woke him and gave him food and drink. Everyone wakes up and yawns. Once he had eaten he lay down again. The angel woke him up and said: “Get up and eat, you have a long journey ahead of you.” After he had eaten he travelled for 40 days and 40 nights to a cave on Mount Horeb. Get up and walk around together.
He lay down and slept for the night.
Everyone lies down.
God spoke to Elijah and said: “What are you doing here?”
Elijah replied: “I have told so many people about you. They haven’t listened or worshipped you. They just fight. I’m the only one left. I’m all alone, and now they’re trying to hurt me.”
God told Elijah to stand outside on the mountain and wait for him.
A powerful wind came and broke up the rocks. Turn on your fan and scatter your paper rocks.
Then an earthquake came. Get all the children to stamp their feet and wobble.
Then a fire came. Light the candle.
After that, there was a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it he pulled his cloak up over his face and stood outside.
God asked Elijah again how he had come to the mountain, and Elijah replied the same way as before: “I have told so many people about you. They haven’t listened or worshipped you. They just fight. I’m the only one left. I’m all alone, and now they’re trying to hurt me.”
God reminded Elijah that he wasn’t alone. And to prove it, he gave Elijah an assistant called Elisha to tell the people about him.
We can ‘catch’ things from God in lots of different ways. We don’t just hear his voice. We can also catch him on our skin, or he can pop pictures into our heads. He can speak to us through the Bible, we can know deep down that he is saying something to us or he can speak to us through other people. (Share your own examples of when you have caught something from God.)
Use these questions to talk about the story, encouraging everyone to join in:
- What was your favourite part of the story?
- What do you do when you feel scared?
- How do you like to talk to God?
- How do you ‘catch’ things from God?
You will need: paper; pens; colouring sheets
Explain that you’re going to spend some time being quiet, as Elijah did in the cave.
If you have children who like the dark you could dim the lights. Encourage the children to find a spot on their own and ask God to meet with them. Say that God might pop words or pictures into their heads, they might feel him on their bodies or he might meet with them in a different way.
Invite the children to wait on God. Have some paper and pens ready for them to draw whatever they felt they caught from God if they want to. You may find that some children finish very quickly, while some will want to spend longer doing this. Allow them to take as long as they want. You could light your candle and put your fan on to remind them that God speaks in lots of different ways.
Have pens and paper or colouring sheets ready for children who finish quickly. Colouring can provide space for children to process what they have caught from God.
Stand together and say this prayer:
“God, thank you for speaking to Elijah. Thank you that you speak to us in so many different ways. Help us listen to you with our ears and hearts and bodies. Just as Elijah heard a whisper, let’s whisper our prayers to God.”
Invite the children to chat to God by whispering into their hands. Let’s tell God one thing that has made us happy today. Invite the children to chat to God more, and add some other suggestions for things they could tell him.
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