AGE APPROPRIATE: 5-11s
BIG IDEA: GOD GIVES US COURAGE
AIM: The aim of the ‘God accelerated Esther’ session is to remind the children that God promotes us and gives us victory in our circumstances for a purpose.
PRAY TOGETHER. Is there anyone that has a need? Does someone want to pray for a friend or family member? Catch up with your kids and invite them to pray. Encourage them to pray for the group and for others they know.
Spend some time getting to know your group. Perhaps you could even use an icebreaker game to get the group started.
2. ‘Alive’ by Hillsong Young and Free
3. ‘You Make Me Brave’ by Bethel Kids
INTRO QUESTION: What does it mean to ‘accelerate?’
When we think about acceleration it means to go faster. A car gets faster and faster the more it accelerates. God can make things happen much faster than we think they could ever happen. He can accelerate things in our lives. He can fix a problem much faster than us because He has all the answers. We can trust that God will accelerate us at the right time.
1. Banana Relay Game. Teams lie down in a parallel line with their feet on the shoulders of their teammates. A banana is put in between the feet of the first player in each team. Each player must pass the banana down the line with their feet until the banana reaches the end of the line. The fastest team is the winning team.
2. Balloon Relays. Players put balloons underneath their arms and between their legs and must run or weave between chairs or obstacles and back before tagging the next player who does the same. The team that has everyone complete the obstacle first is the winning team.
Introduction: For the past few weeks we have been looking at people in the Bible that lived their life with God – they raced their life with Him in the driving seat! We looked at how Zacchaeus had a brand new start, how Joseph had a false start and this week we are looking at how Esther was accelerated by God.
SET the Scene:
Read the Book of Esther and choose some key passages (Esther 2 especially) to read with the group. For younger children (5-7s) you may prefer to read the whole story in a storybook Bible.
- ‘Bible Story: Esther’ by Tailrace Kids
- ‘Gods Story: Esther’ by Crossroads Kids Club
- ‘Story of Esther from Bible/Animation’ by Fox in the Box (for older children/teenagers)
- ‘Esther (the Book of Esther)’ by Saddleback Kids
SPOT the Simple Meaning:
1) GOD GAVE ESTHER COURAGE TO SAVE A NATION
You will need a knitting needle, washing up liquid and a balloon to do the skewer through the balloon experiment.
Say: Wow! Esther had courage! That means that she didn’t let fear control her in the face of danger. She did something even though she was scared! Do you think I can put this needle through this balloon? [wait for response] Well, this looks pretty dangerous, doesn’t it?! Perhaps it will pop really loudly, but let’s see. Esther was in a very dangerous position. She knew that if she went to see the King without being asked, she could be killed! The King would have to hold out his royal sceptre to tell her that she could come to see him and that she was safe.
Esther decided to fast and pray before she went to see the king. [Rub the knitting needle with washing up liquid]. Praying and fasting for something acts like a covering – it tells God that we believe that He is in control and He can help us. Fasting means not eating for a specific time so that you can pray when you feel those hunger pains. People can fast other things too – like social media, watching TV or other fun things.
After she had fasted and prayed Esther went to see the King. She knew that God was with her and would help her save to her people. Yet she must have been scared. God gave her the courage to go and see the King. [Start pushing the needle through the balloon]. When Esther went in to see the King she must have felt nervous and wondered what he would say. But when she got there, the King held out his sceptre. Esther invited the King and Haaman to a banquet. Esther had succeeded! [Push the needle through the other end of the balloon].
God had helped Esther through a very scary and difficult situation by giving her the courage to face the king. God can give you courage to face any situation you may go through. He is with you. He gave His only Son Jesus so that you can always have courage! Jesus is the MOST courageous person that has ever lived! He faced the cross. He went willingly to the cross and he did it for you and for me – that we might know God. There is nobody more courageous than Him. We can be like Him if we follow Him.
2) ESTHER WAS ACCELERATED FOR A PURPOSE
You will need a toy race car or a remote control car to show the children. You could also use a ramp and show the children that to go up a ramp the car must go faster.
Say: [As you are talking use the race car to race around the room or play with it as you speak]. Esther was an orphan girl – in bible times she would have been considered a ‘nobody’ – she didn’t matter. Girls were treated as less than boys and it was even worse if you had no parents! Yet God chose to accelerate Esther. He gave her courage to do what He had called her to do.
When Esther was first taken to be prepared for her night with the King, she would not have felt that it was a good thing. She had been ripped away from her home and was forced to prepare herself to meet the king. For twelve months she would have to go through special beauty treatments. It may have been scary. It probably all happened very fast. Yet God was putting Esther in a place where one day she would be able to help rule the Kingdom and eventually save all the Jews.
God chose to accelerate Esther into a place where He could use her, because He had a purpose for her. He was going to give her the courage to speak to the King. His purpose wasn’t just for Esther, but for the whole of the nation.
This race car has a purpose. It is used for racing other cars and for generally having fun. But what if the car didn’t want to be used? What if the car wanted to do it’s own thing?! Well, we know a car can’t do that. It needs the owner to use it. That’s what it was made for. It was made to be raced by the owner. Without the owner picking it up and using it (or using the remote to make it work) then the car is useless. It won’t be taken to the places it is supposed to go and it won’t be used for what it was made to be used for.
Mordecai warned Esther “You might keep quiet at this time. Then someone else will help and save the Jews. But you and your father’s family will all die. And who knows, you may have been chosen queen for just such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14) Esther had a choice to make. Did she want God to use her – or someone else.
That is the same with us! Jesus wants to use us – we were made to do amazing things with and for Him! Yet we can’t do what we were made to do if we don’t allow Him to show us what to do or where to go.
SEARCH the Scriptures:
TEAM CHALLENGE: Split your group into teams. How many people in the bible can they think of that had courage? You could give them storybook Bibles or other bibles to help them. Failing that, or for younger children, have them relay by grabbing the character names one at a time and bringing them back to the group. Have enough for each group to have their own set, then talk to them about why each person was courageous.
Other people that had courage in the bible:
Jochabed – Moses’ mum floated him along the river to keep him safe
Joshua – marching into the Promised Land
Caleb – Caleb had a ‘different spirit’ and ran up a mountain at age 85 to claim his victory and land
Gideon – known for being scared, yet Gideon obeyed God in radical ways
Nehemiah – completed rebuilding the temple walls of Jerusalem, although there were many against him
Esther – became Queen and was willing to give it all up to save her nation
Deborah – led Israel as a prophet and a judge
Daniel – thrown in the lions den but unwilling to give up his faith in God
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego – were thrown into the fiery furnace
David – when he fought the many battles, and of course, Goliath!
John the Baptist – lived a radical life unto God – even until he was executed.
Jesus – went willingly to the cross – the MOST courageous!
Peter – stepped out on the water to follow Jesus, spent his life building the church
Barnabas – willing to believe that Paul had truly changed
Of course, there are so many that had courage – can your children think of any more?
SENSE How You Feel:
When Esther went to see the king after Mordecai’s warning, she didn’t know what he was going to do.
Imagine you were Esther…
How were you feeling when you approached the king? Encourage the children to do one of the following activities as they think about this question.
1. Create their own crown with sequins, gems or stickers to decorate.
2. Make Haman’s Hat cookies (Popular cookies made and eaten by Jews to remember Esther’s story at Purim) Think about how Esther had to go before the king because of the nasty Haman!
3. Create a King roll as you think about how Esther had to face the king.
5. Color in or fill out activity sheets [google in images for ‘Esther coloring sheets’]
6. Sensory play: Have items such as chocolate coins, fake pearls and crowns in a box or treasure chest that children can hold or that you can pass around.
7. Create your own throne or throne room and encourage children to show how they would walk up to the throne to approach the king.
Say: Is there something that you need courage to face or to do? Is there something that seems scary for you and you know that you need God’s help? We’re going to pray that you would know God’s strength to face and do whatever He has got for you.
[Pray together in groups or in twos/threes. It’s great to encourage the children to pray in small groups where possible, so that they get used to being courageous in this way. You could replay ‘You Make Me Brave’ by Bethel Kids whilst praying.]
2) Is there anyone that wants to be courageous and make a commitment to Christ today?