Prayer and worship activity
Split into pairs or threes. Give everyone a wooden peg and ask them to write Hebrews 13:5 on the peg: “God has said ‘Never will I leave you.’” Encourage them to decorate the pegs.
Give pegs to each other and peg them somewhere to remind yourselves that God will never leave you. In the small groups, thank God for his goodness, faithfulness and sustenance.
Spread out the blue material and scatter the cushions / pillow cases over it. Invite everyone to lie down on their backs on top of the material. Read Psalm 19 slowly and with care.
When you have finished, provide cotton wool for each person and invite them to add to the ‘clouds’ while praying in response to this psalm. For each piece of cotton wool they add, they can say a prayer, either out loud with others or quietly in their heads.
This story revolves around a gameshow format, called Empty or full. Create the gameshow with lights and music or make it simpler to suit your setting. Invite your teams to the front and give them the A, B and C cards.
Voiceover: It’s time for… Empty or full! Now, welcome your host, [Insert name here].
Sign holder waves ‘Cheer’ sign! The host comes on and waves. The rest of the script is spoken by them.
Thank you, thank you! Welcome to Empty or full! Today’s teams are playing for these amazing prizes!
So teams, your job today is to answer the questions correctly. After each question, hold up your A, B or C card. For each correct answer, a whole packet of flour will be emptied into your tub. The team with the most flour at the end of the game can complete the final challenge. To conquer the final challenge you must listen carefully to everything I say! Are you ready? Let’s play Empty or full!
Question 1 - Elijah was… A: a tax collector; B: a YouTuber or C: a prophet of God.
The answer is C! Elijah was a prophet of God in the Old Testament.
God was outraged at King Ahab and Queen Jezebel and he sent Elijah to tell them that if they didn’t worship God, he would stop the rain and cause a drought. They didn’t worship God so there was a severe drought in the land. Elijah, however, followed God’s advice and found a spot near the Jordan river. He could drink water from the river and, unlike the rest of the country, he didn’t starve.
Question 2 - Why didn’t Elijah starve? A: He scavenged for food and killed animals nearby to eat them. B: He was brought food by ravens. C: He nipped to McDonalds for a Big Mac and fries.
The answer is B! Elijah was fed by birds every morning and every evening!
After a while this river dried up and God sent Elijah to a town called Zarepath.
Question 3 – God told Elijah that… A: There was a widow who lived there who was going to look after him. B: The nearest Tesco was in Zarepath. C: Elijah might find some wheat in a field there.
The answer is A! There was a widow in Zarepath whom God had told to care for him.
When Elijah arrived in the town he saw the widow gathering wood for a fire. He asked her for a drink and, while she was going to find the water, he also asked her for a piece of bread.
Question 4: What was her reply? A: “Of course! I’ve just made a fresh loaf! Do you want it with jam or cheese?” B: “I haven’t got any bread but my neighbours might have some – go and knock on their door and ask them.” C: “Bread? I haven’t got any bread left. All I’ve got is a handful of flour and a tiny amount of oil. I was just making a last meal for my son and I before we die of starvation.”
The answer is C! The poor lady had nothing left. The drought had so devastated the land that both herself and her son were close to starvation. She was preparing their last supper when Elijah asked her for food.
Elijah told her not to worry. He asked her to go home and make a small loaf of bread from the flour and oil she had left, and then to cook for herself and her son.
Question 5: What did Elijah promise her? A: Her jar of flour and jug of oil would never run out until rain comes again. B: She’d have a job with the local bakery for ever. C: Her son would grow tall, strong and handsome because of her tasty bread.
The answer is A! Elijah recognised that the widow had nothing left to give, but promised that if she gave him some bread then she would never run out of flour or oil again.
Question 6: What do you think the lady did? A: She laughed at Elijah and called him a ‘crazy man’. B: She followed Elijah’s advice exactly. C: She took a selfie with Elijah and posted it on Instagram.
The answer is B! The widow did exactly as Elijah had asked, and his words came true.
She never ever ran out of flour or oil. It was an amazing miracle, the jars just kept refilling. They did not die of starvation and they welcomed Elijah into their home to stay with them.
So, let’s see how we’re doing! How are the tubs of flour and do we have a clear winner yet? If there is no clear winner, both teams can complete the final challenge. Drop into the tubs of flour the laminated cards with different sections of the story on them.
Are you ready for your final challenge?
To win the prize, you must collect all the cards from the tub and put the story in the correct order. You must then retell the story to everyone! The rest of your team can help you by shouting instructions and cheering. You have one minute to complete this challenge. Go! Each team must collate the story in the correct order and then retell it to their half of the congregation. The winning team is the one who gets it in the correct order (if they both do this they can both have the prize!). Announce the winning team, amid lots of cheering and whooping!
Reflective response to the story
Invite everyone to stand in one long line towards the back of the room. Read out the following statements and perform ‘actions’ for people to copy as they also respond with the words: “We come to you.” Read slowly, pausing to give time for people to reflect on the words and leave some space at the end for people to pray their own prayers.
God of Elijah, you are the same yesterday, today and for ever.
“We come to you.” Take one step forwards. You are a God of justice.
“We come to you.” Take one step forwards. You, who perform miraculous signs and wonders.
“We come to you.” One hand out. You are the God who cares for those who have nothing.
“We come to you.” Other hand out. When we have nothing left ourselves.
“We come to you.” Kneel on one knee. When we choose to be obedient, despite the cost.
“We come to you.” Kneel on other knee. We keep our eyes on you, our healer, our sustainer and our provider. “We come to you.” Head bowed. Option 2
Give out the paper or stones and invite everyone to write on them what God has said to them through this story. This could be one thing or lots. Fill the jars with these things for people to take home as a reminder. Thank God for speaking and for all he promises us.
Group discussion questions
Split into mixed-age groups and discuss these questions, making sure that everyone, from the youngest to the oldest, is able to give their view:
- Which character are you most like in this story and why?
- How do you think the woman felt when Elijah asked her for her last morsel of food?
- What could the jars, the flour and the oil be symbols of in your life right now?
- Do you need refilling today?