BIG IDEA: ELIJAH TOOK THE INITIATIVE
AIM: This childrens lesson on Elijah and the widows son aims to teach the children that they can think fast and ask God for help at any time and Jesus will be with them every step of the way.
- ‘Jesus You’re My Superhero’ by Hillsong Kids
- ‘Superhero’ by Go Fish Guys
- ‘You Make Me Brave’ by Bethel Kids
- 60 Second Challenge. Get different children to the front and ask them to say as many of something in 1 minute as they can. It could be animals, super heroes, colours, etc. You may want to ask each player to wear headphones or stand outside the room whilst the others are having a go so they don’t steal any one else’s ideas. The person with the most named items or things at the end of the time is the winner. This would also work really well as a video that you have pre-recorded with your team members or some of the children.
- Cube Game – Empty the Ball Box. A player stands behind a box full of ping pong balls or ball pool balls. They must empty the box in 60 seconds. The player to do this the quickest is the overall winner.
- Relay Tic Tac Toe (Noughts and Crosses). Have 9 hula hoops set out in a square 3 x 3 formation. Use coloured tshirts or obejects for one team and another colour for their opponents. The first player in the team runs out and places the tshirt/object in a hoop and runs back to tag the next team member. The next member does the same and so on. Once the objects you have, have all gone, the next player can move one of the already placed objects to a different hoop. The winning team is the team to get three of their coloured objects in a line – diagonally, vertically or horizontally. You could continue playing and see which team gets the most points (1 point = 3 objects in a line) in the given time.
- Quick Scavenger Hunt. Set up different clues around the room that follow a trail to an object at the end. Begin by giving the children a clue to where the first clue can be found. The child or team that follows and finds the clues the fastest is the winner of the object.
SET the Scene:
Read the passage about how Elijah raises the widows son in 1 Kings 17:17-24 or have four people act out this easy bible drama to communicate the story. Don’t have enough team members to pull it off? Get the children involved – they will love it! In today’s session we learn about Elijah. Elijah was a man that served God with all that he had. Yet even Elijah faced some pretty serious problems. In this situation a young boy suddenly died… our hero didn’t just freeze, but he thought fast! Let’s see how he handled the situation!
The video Bible Cartoon – Elijah shows the scene of this story and is a good option to use to communicate the story. Remember that the context of this story is that the widow has seen God to do the miraculous through Elijah. She has seen the jug of oil and the jar of flour never go empty, now she would see God do the miraculous in the most important thing in her life… her son.
SPOT the Simple Meaning:
1) ELIJAH THOUGHT FAST
You will need to prepare a simple math or bible quiz that the children can answer. See which child can get the answers the quickest.
Say: Wow! Elijah really did think fast didn’t he! Almost as fast as a superhero! Elijah was quick to react when he saw that the widow’s son was dead. Who thinks they can think fast too?
Choose 2-4 volunteers. Have a fun and very easy quiz that the children can come up and try to think fast in. You can make this as low key or as flashy as you want. You will want to have some kind of buzzer – even something as simple as a bike bell or a squeezy toy could work; as long as it is easy and quick to use. Alternatively the children could do silly noises like fart noises or animal noises to indicate they have their answer.
In those days they didn’t have the same techniques as us for when someone stops breathing. They didn’t know how to resuscitate someone by giving them chest compressions and breathing into them. All Elijah knew to do was to pray. The passage says in 1 Kings 17:18-20;
So the woman said to Elijah, “You are a man of God. What have you done to me? Did you come here to remind me of my sin? Did you come here to kill my son?”
19 Elijah said to her, “Give me your son.” So Elijah took the boy from her and carried him upstairs. Elijah laid the boy on the bed in the room where he was staying. 20 Then he prayed to the Lord. He said, “Lord my God, this widow is letting me stay in her house. Why have you done this terrible thing to her? Why have you caused her son to die?”
How quick are you to pray? What about when you face a tough day at school or a bad situation at home? Is it the first thing you remember to do, or the last? Why not make it the first thing you do, starting from today?!
Alternatively you could use this Superman movie clip to remind the children that even superheroes have to think fast!
2) ELIJAH TURNED TO GOD FIRST
Who do you turn to first? Have different people’s names in the corners of the room, Place God in the centre. Parents and Carers, Friends, Teachers, Pastor and God. Shout out the following scenarios and ask the children to run to the place that represents who they would talk to first about the problem.
a) You’ve got some homework that you don’t understand.
b) You want to know how to understand the bible.
c) Your parents keep shouting at each other and you can’t stand it anymore.
d) You think you are going to fail in your math test.
e) Your friend doesn’t like your best friend.
Say: It can be easy to run or talk to the person that we think can help us with the problem the fastest first. But did you know that God wants to be the first person we talk to? Even if it is a quick prayer. He wants to be the One that we run to with our problems and our celebrations. He wants to be involved in our lives! All of the problems listed above did need someone to help, however, prayer is powerful! God responds to our prayers. Just like he responded to Elijah’s prayer. In 1 Kings 17:22 it says, “The Lord answered Elijah’s prayer. The boy began breathing again, and he was alive.”
The great thing is that we can always talk to Jesus about our problems. He wants to be involved in our whole life. The Holy Spirit will help us to live the right way too, all we have to do is pray and ask for help.
3) ELIJAH DIDN’T TRY TO BE A HERO
You could potentially use this Avengers video. The Avengers knew that they could not fight the battle alone, they could only beat it together. Another option is to ask a child to come to the front and give them an activity they cannot do alone.
Say: In 1 Kings 17:20-21 it says;
Then he prayed to the Lord. He said, “Lord my God, this widow is letting me stay in her house. Why have you done this terrible thing to her? Why have you caused her son to die?” Then Elijah lay on top of the boy three times. Elijah prayed to the Lord, “Lord my God, let this boy live again!”
Elijah was honest about how he felt. He told God exactly what he was thinking. He didn’t leave anything out. He wasn’t trying to be a hero. He was simply being real with God. He knew that he needed to be honest and that he needed God’s help. Sometimes we might feel like we have to pretend, that we have to act like a hero, even when we don’t feel like one. In those situations we, like Elijah, we need to simply cry out to God and let Him know that we can’t handle things on our own. Sometimes the bravest thing to do is to admit you need help. Just like the avengers did in our clip. That’s exactly what Elijah did too.
4) ELIJAH KNEW GOD’S HEART AND ACTED ON IT
You will need markers and to create a large heart from card.
Say: Deep down in his heart Elijah knew that God loved the boy he was hoping to save. He knew that God wanted the best for him. That’s why Elijah was willing to pray. He knew what God’s heart was like. I wonder, do you know what God’s heart is like? [You can start asking questions] Do you think his heart would be ‘black’ or ‘red’? Good or bad? What is inside His heart? Love or hate for people?
When we know what God’s character is like then we know what He loves and what He hates. We know that He loves people and hates sin [Proverbs 6:16-19]. When we know God’s heart; the things that He cares about, then we know that we are on the right track when we pray. We know that God sent Jesus to live a perfect life and to die on the cross so that we might be friends with God. We know that Jesus was willing to do that for us and to send His Holy Spirit. That’s the kind of loving God that we serve! He is a good God!
So even when things don’t turn out the way we hoped they would, we should know that sometimes God has a bigger plan that we don’t always understand, but we should never give up hope that He is good and that He cares for people. (Romans 8:28)
SEARCH the Scriptures:
Think Fast Relay Game. Place lots of objects on one side of the room and give clues to each object that you want the children to collect. Do this in teams in their lines and see which team grans the object first. Have different team members go after different objects. Attach the bible characters to the objects (listed below). Ask the children if they know how that bible character thought fast.
People that thought fast and prayed in the bible:
- Object: Child’s tool kit. Nehemiah – thought fast by praying before speaking to the king about building the wall in Jerusalem.
- Object: Lipstick or crown/tiara. Esther – thought fast by fasting and praying when she had to go before the king
- Object: Lion. Daniel – thought fast by praying even when he was told not to.
- Object: Empty match box. Elijah – thought fast by praying to God when the prophets of Baal prayed to their gods to bring fire onto their altar
- Object: prayer book, Guiness Book of World Records or another book. Solomon – thought fast by praying for wisdom
- Object: picture, drawing or soft toy fish, or fish food container. Jonah – thought fast by praying inside the big fish
- Object: Stone. Stephen – thought fast by praying forgiveness for the people before he was killed
- Object: Cross. Jesus – thought fast by praying to God before he went to the cross. He said ‘Not my will, but yours be done’
There are many more, why not come up with some of your own ideas!
- How can I think fast?
- How will it help me to think fast by calling on God?
- How will it help others when I call on God first?
SENSE How You Feel:
What would it feel like to be the widow and to know that your son will not live unless God saves them? How would you feel?
Ask the children to imagine what they would feel as they do some of these activities:
- Emoji Masks: Create some fun emoji crafts with yellow paper plates or card and sticks. Google different emojis and create your own happiness and sadness emoji designs. Remind the children that God turned the widow’s sadness to happiness.
- Create these fun emotion crafts with colored card, cotter pins (split pins) and scissors. The pins hold each feature to the face so that the they can be turned to create different emotions. It will help the children think about how the widow might have felt.
- Playdough portraits. Use shells, googly eyes, printables and other accessories with your playdough to make playdough faces.
- Funny emotion masks. Using half a paper plate and a popsicle stick and markers, create a mask that children can place over their mouth to represent an emotion they might feel.
- Decorate cookie faces. Using icing sugar, laces and different candy pieces ask the children to decorate a cookie as a face to show how they would feel.
- How would you feel if you thought someone close to you was going to die? (ask this with discernment, there may be children with someone that they know in a similar situation)
- How would it feel to know that person had been healed by Jesus? (remind the children that everyone can be healed by Jesus in heaven)
Remind the children that Jesus wants to help us in even the most desperate situations.
Say: Elijah knew that he couldn’t do anything to help the boy. He knew his help had to come from God. He was weak and would not be able to heal or revive the son himself. That’s why Elijah thought fast. What stops you from thinking fast about God? Spend a couple of minutes thinking about why you don’t always turn to God first.
Thought Bubble Photo Booth Crafts. Create some fun big thought bubbles and get the children to cut them out and add sticks to them. Ask them to write or draw inside the bubble something that they want to start thinking fast. Perhaps ‘God can Help Me’ ‘God is with me’ or other ideas that they can remember when they are in a tough situation or get scared.
Ask the children to say their own prayer, asking God to help them think fast in the future.
THINK FAST: This story is bound to bring up lots of questions from the children that you will be speaking with. They may not understand why someone they know has died, or why some people get the answer they want to their prayer and others do not. Have patience and show kindness and compassion when you answer. There is nothing worse than a harsh, quick answer to a question a child has been concerned or sad about. Prayerfully answer with honesty and understanding. If you don’t know the answer to something; which often we don’t, don’t make something up – be honest and tell them you don’t know. Sometimes we simply have to have faith that God is good and He makes good decisions.