Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Importance of Prayer

A few generations ago, in many families, the way to begin and end a child’s day was with prayers. They were recited out loud, usually beginning and ending with requests for God to bless the child’s family and friends. Today, however, in most homes, prayers have disappeared, except perhaps before meals. To encourage your family and your students to pray regularly (even for a minute or two at a time), try the following suggestions:
 •    Point out blessings as you notice them. Say a brief prayer of thanks with your students for the beautiful sunset, a rainbow, a rabbit scurrying across your path, or the rain.
 •    Give thanks for the small acts of kindness you catch your students doing (sharing a toy, giving another child a turn, saying “please”).
 •    Let your students share some of the praises and blessings in their own lives. Or point out some blessings for them. Say, “I’m so thankful to God for that yummy fruit we just ate.”
 •    Help your students verbalize some of their own praises and blessings. Say, “[Jason], why don’t you thank God that your grandma is home from the hospital.”
 •    Since children are great imitators, try spending some quiet time in prayer by yourself, and let your child know that you are also having your own conversation with God.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Salt Dough Cross Craft

Let your students make salt dough crosses to remind them of Jesus' death and resurrection.

Before your lesson, make salt dough by mixing together 1/2 cup salt, 1 cup flour, and 1/2 cup water. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Have your students wash their hands.

Let your students take turns kneading the dough on a floured surface until it is elastic and smooth. Divide it into quarters and let the children roll out the dough to about 1/4-inch thick. Cut a small cross for each child (one batch makes about 20). Use a drinking straw to cut a hole in the top of each cross. 

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 2 hours. Cool completely. Cover the work area with newspapers. Give each child a salt dough cross, a chenille wire, and a paintbrush. Let him paint the cross, initial the back, and thread a chenille wire hanger through the hole. Provide wet wipes for clean up and plastic bags for taking the crosses home.

Talk about the Easter story as the children work. Be sure to talk individually with any child who has questions or expresses interest in knowing Jesus as his personal Savior.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bible Lesson: God Cares for Us

Help your students understand that God cares for us and helps through hard times.

Ask five good readers to each look up and read aloud one of the following Scripture verses. Print the Scripture references on a board or poster paper:
Exodus 12:21-23
Psalm 12:5
Psalm 32:7
Psalm 46:1-3
Psalm 91:14

Then ask for five volunteers for a short reader's theater. Say, "Each one of our readers will act like a person with a problem. Decide which Scripture passage the person is talking about."

Reader 1: When I am scared, I read the Bible, pray, and sometimes I sing hymns or praise songs. They help me remember that God is taking care of me and is a hiding place for me. (Psalm 32:7)

Say, "Just reading the Bible and praying can soothe us when we're upset or distressed." (Discuss how reading the Bible, along with singing, helps us to remember God's love and gives us comfort.)

Reader 2: God saved our whole family from the plagues when Moses told us to paint our doorframes with the blood of the lamb. (Exodus 12:21-32)

Say, "God protected is people during the plagues. God heard the cries of his people in Egypt and protected them while He tried to teach the Egyptians to be fair with them. When that didn't work, He sent Moses to lead His people out of slavery into their own land."

Reader 3: Because I truly love God and trust Him, God will help me when I am in trouble. (Psalm 91:14)

Say, "God promises to hear His people when they call His name and to help them."

Reader 4: It seems like my whole world is falling apart. Everything seems to be getting worse, but I know that God will give me strength. (Psalm 46:1-3)

Say, "When everything else seems shaky, God is always solid and firm. We can trust in the Lord God even when we are facing life-changing problems. Just reading and remembering these verses can bring us comfort."

Reader 5: I am poor and weak and needy, but God keeps me safe. (Psalm 12:5)

Say, "God promises to take care of Christians when they have physical needs like hunger and poverty, and to give them what they need. He often lays it on the hearts of other Christians to give them the help they need. Just like the people in our reader's theater, God doesn't always take away pain and trouble, but He is always there to give comfort and strength to His children."

Have your students learn Psalm 46:1-2 for their memory verse. Have a child read the verse aloud from the Bible. Say, "In times of trouble, it is important to know that God is with us, even if it feels like the whole world is falling apart."

Close with a time of prayer, encouraging your students to pray for each other's praises and prayer requests.