God hears us when we pray.

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1 Praise Jesus! Samson Asks God to Restore His Strength Lesson 11 Bible Point God hears us when we pray. Bible Verse The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results (James 5:16b). Growing Closer to Jesus Children will n see that God hears them no matter where they are or when they pray, n learn from Samson s experience that God is always ready to help them, and n practice different ways of talking to God. Teacher Enrichment The Bible Basis n Samson asks God to restore his strength. Judges 16:1-31 Before Samson, the last of the great military judges, was born, he was set apart to live the life of a Nazirite (Judges 13:2-7). A Nazirite abstained from wine, never used a razor, and avoided contact with any dead body. Even though Samson was selected and used mightily by God in delivering Israel from the Philistines, Samson is especially known for his failure. He could have led Israel to a position of great strength. He could have wiped out the Philistines, preventing them from ever bothering Israel again. Instead, he confided in the foreign woman whom he apparently loved but who was set on his destruction. Even so, the New Testament doesn t remember Samson as a failure. In Hebrews he is listed among those who faithfully served God (Hebrews 11:32). Samson had kept his vow to keep his hair long. So when he told Delilah the secret of his strength and his hair was cut, everyone could see that God was no longer working in Samson s life. But before long, Samson s hair began to grow back. The temple in which Samson was mocked was supported by two central wood pillars on marble bases. When Samson prayed to God and asked for the strength to defeat his enemies the Philistines one last time, God heard and answered his prayer. Samson was able to push those pillars off their bases, thereby collapsing the whole roof and killing everything under and on top of it. Prayer Read Hebrews 11: Think of a time God heard and answered your prayer. How did that experience affect your faith? Pray: Lord, thank you for hearing us when we pray that 137

2 Lesson 11 Before the Lesson n Collect items for the activities you plan to use, referring to the Classroom Supplies and Learning Lab Supplies listed in the chart. n Make photocopies of the Growing Together handout (at the end of this lesson) to send home with your children. n Pray for your students and for God s direction in teaching the lesson. This Lesson at a Glance Welcome What Children Will Do Classroom Supplies Learning Lab Supplies Welcome! Receive a warm welcome from the teacher, and make name tags. Prayer Name Tags (p. 134), safety scissors, markers, tape Attention Grabber Bible Exploration & Application Guess Who Guess the identities of classmates who are disguising their voices, and discover that God always hears those who pray to him. Never Too Far Listen to a whispered message, and learn from Psalm 6:9 that God hears their prayers no matter where they are or how softly they pray. Samson s Melodrama Participate in the story of Samson s final prayer to God from Judges 16:1-31. Bible Bible Bible, safety scissors, construction paper, CD player Freedom Prayer Experience the power of prayer firsthand, and free themselves from feeling helpless. Bible, CD player Closing Springing to Hear Discover how it s harder to hear as the noise level increases, and learn from 1 Kings 9:3a that it s never hard for God to hear us. No Matter How You Say It Explore ways of giving answers and talking to God. Bible 138

3 Welcome Samson Asks God to Restore His Strength SUPPLIES: Prayer Name Tags (p. 134), safety scissors, markers, tape Greet each child individually with an enthusiastic smile. Thank each child for coming to class today. As children arrive, ask them about last week s Growing Together discussion. Use questions such as How did God answer your prayers last week? and When did your family pray together? Say: Today we re going to learn that God hears us when we pray. Hand out the name tags children made during Lesson 10, and help children attach the name tags to their clothing. If some of the name tags were damaged, or if children weren t in class last week, have them make new name tags using the photocopiable handout. Tell children that the attention-getting signal you ll use during this lesson will be blowing the bird whistle. Ask children to respond by raising their hands as they stop talking and focus their attention on you. Rehearse the signal with the children, telling them to respond quickly so you have plenty of time for all the fun activities planned for this lesson. Attention Grabber n Guess Who SUPPLIES: Bible Say: Let s play a game called Guess Who. You ll scatter around the room and sit on the floor with your eyes shut. Then I ll tap someone on the shoulder. The person I tap will disguise his or her voice and say, Good prayers have power. If I tap you, try not to sound like yourself. Everyone else will guess who spoke. If you think you know whose voice you heard, raise your hand. The class will have three guesses. Remember to keep your eyes closed! When children are scattered around the room and sitting with their eyes closed, tap a child, and have him or her say, Good prayers have power. If a child correctly identifies the speaker, he or she becomes the next tapper. If the speaker hasn t been identified after three guesses, have the students open their eyes to see who it is. Play several rounds. Then gather the children, and ask: Was it easy or hard to figure out who was speaking? Explain. (Hard, because they sounded different; easy, I know my friend s voice.) Do you think God has trouble figuring out who s speaking to him when we pray? Explain. (No, because God knows and sees everyone; yes, because so many people talk to God.) Say: God hears us when we pray. We re important to God, and he always knows who we are. We can always count on God to hear us. Listen to what the Bible says about our prayers. This is our Bible verse for today, and it comes from James 5:16: The earnest prayer of a righteous person has It s important to say the Bible Point just as it s written in each activity. Repeating the Bible Point over and over will help children remember it and apply it to their lives. 139

4 Lesson 11 great power and produces wonderful results. That means that when we are serious about praying to God, our good prayers have power, and it s fun to see how God answers them. Let s learn more about that. First- and second-graders may sometimes feel small and insignificant, and they may wonder if God really listens to them when they pray. Take time during today s lesson and throughout the remaining weeks of the quarter to reassure kids that God always hears them when they call and that their prayers are very important to him. Bible Exploration & Application n Never Too Far SUPPLIES: Bible Say: We re going to form two groups: the Whisperers and the Listeners. I m going to whisper some exciting news to the Whisperers. When I say go, the Whisperers will whisper it very softly to the Listeners. I want the Listeners to listen closely so you can tell me what you hear. Form two groups. Have the groups stand against opposite walls, facing away from each other. Choose one group to be Whisperers. Whisper this exciting news to the whispering group: God hears us when we pray. On go have the Whisperers repeat the message in a low whisper. Then ask the Listeners what they heard. Have the Listeners move closer to the Whisperers, and have the Whisperers repeat the message softly until the Listeners can hear and repeat the message. Then have each Listener pair up with a Whisperer for this discussion. Say: If you were a Listener, tell your partner why you couldn t hear the first time the exciting news was given. Then blow the bird whistle, and bring everyone together. Ask the Whisperers to tell what their partners said. Children might give responses such as because they whispered too quietly or because the Whisperers were too far away. Say: If we want people to hear us, we need to speak clearly. Ask: Where should we go and how should we speak so God will hear us when we talk to him in prayer? (We can pray anywhere; we should go to church.) Do you think God can hear us if we pray silently? Explain. (Yes, because God knows what we re thinking; I m not sure; yes, because God hears everything.) Say: God hears us when we pray. Listen to what the Bible says about prayer in Psalm 6:9. Read Psalm 6:9 aloud. A plea is something serious we are asking God about. Ask: Where and when do you like to pray? Why? (In church because it s quiet; at bedtime because then I sleep better.) Do you think there s ever a time God doesn t hear our prayers? Explain. (No, because God always listens; no, God never sleeps; God is always watching.) Say: It doesn t matter where we are or how we pray. God always hears. Now, just for fun, whisper something nice in your partner s ear, such as I like you or You re nice. 140

5 Samson Asks God to Restore His Strength n Samson s Melodrama SUPPLIES: Bible, safety scissors, construction paper, CD player Have children stay with their partners. track 10 Open your Bible to Judges 16:1-31, and show the passage to the children. Say: Today s story comes from the book of Judges. It s about a man named Samson who asked God to answer an important prayer. Before we begin, let s make props to help us enjoy the story. Decide which partner will be Samson and which will be Delilah. Give each pair scissors and two sheets of construction paper. One sheet should be brown or black. Demonstrate how to make the following props for the story. Delilah s hair bow: Fold the brown or black paper in half, and cut a simple bow as shown in the margin diagram. Samson s hair: Fold the brown or black paper down about one-third of the way lengthwise. Leaving about 11/2 inches on each side, cut a half circle from the folded edge of the wig. Leave enough on the short edge for bangs. Make vertical cuts 1/4 to 1/2 inch apart all along the paper. (See the margin diagram.) When the props are made, have partners sit facing each other. Say: If you re playing Samson, hold the hairpiece up to your head each time you hear Samson s name. If you re playing Delilah, hold the hair bow up to your head each time you hear Delilah s name. Play Samson s Melodrama (track 10) on the CD. After the story, collect the bows and wigs, and gather the children. Let the children take the props home to retell the story to their families. Ask: What made Samson lose his strength? (He told his secret; cutting off his hair.) Do you think God was unhappy with Samson? Why? (Yes, because Samson didn t obey God; yes, because God took away his strength.) Say: Samson forgot about the promises he made to God. He cared more about making Delilah happy than keeping his promise to never cut his hair. Then God took away the strength he had given Samson. Ask: How do you think Samson felt when his enemies captured him and took him to prison? (Sad; scared.) When did Samson s strength come back? (When he prayed; when his hair grew again.) Say: God helped Samson when he prayed. And God wants to help us. God hears us when we pray. Bible Insight Samson s amazing strength was not actually derived from his long hair but from his special relationship to God that was signified by his uncut hair. When Samson was tempted by Delilah and allowed his hair to be cut, he broke his Nazirite vow to never cut his hair. Because Samson broke his vow to God in this manner, God left Samson, and with God went Samson s strength. n Freedom Prayer SUPPLIES: Bible, CD player track 11 Before class, twist the coil bracelets together so they are connected at one point. Practice putting them on like handcuffs and then stretching your hands apart until they separate from each other. 141

6 Lesson 11 Say: Let s review our Bible verse for today. It comes from James 5:16, and this is how it goes: The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Can you say that with me? The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. That means that when we are serious about what we are praying for and we try our best to obey God and do what we re told, God will respond wonderfully. When did Samson get his strength back? It was when he prayed. Ask: Have you ever done something wrong or been so worried that just thinking about your problem made you feel helpless and sad? Explain. (Yes, once I lied to my parents and I felt really bad; yes, I was really worried about going on an airplane for the first time, and every time I thought about it, I got really scared.) What did you do to feel better? (I told my parents the truth, and they forgave me; I prayed when I was on the airplane, and that made me feel better.) Say: Samson was helpless and sad because he disobeyed God and so God took away his strength. Samson felt sorry for what he had done, though. When Samson prayed and asked God to forgive him, God forgave Samson and gave him his strength back. Put the twist coil bracelet handcuffs around your wrists. Samson had been so unhappy that it must have felt like he was wearing handcuffs that s how helpless he felt. But when he prayed, God gave him back his strength, and Samson was able to get free. Stretch your hands until the bracelets separate. Just like Samson did, we can ask God to help us, because God always hears us when we pray. Ask: Do you remember a time you felt sure God had heard your prayer? Tell us about that time. (I prayed for my mom and dad to come home safely, and they did; I prayed that God would help me do well on a test at school, and I know he helped me; I prayed that God would help me be nice to my sister, and I wasn t mad at her anymore.) What is making you worry that you need to pray to God about right now? (I yelled at my sister today, and I m sorry; I m worried about a test I have to take this week; I lied about getting my homework done, and I want God to forgive me.) Say: It doesn t matter where we are or what we are doing or how badly we feel. Just as God heard Samson when he prayed, God hears us when we pray. Let s pray right now! Each of you may take a turn to pray out loud or pray silently and ask God for his help and forgiveness for the thing you are worried about. Have children come up one at a time and put on the handcuffs. Encourage them to pray and then to stretch their hands and break the handcuffs. Tell the other children to cheer as each person breaks the handcuffs. When all the children have had a turn, pray aloud for the class, thanking God for hearing us when we pray. Pray: Dear God, thank you for loving us. We re so glad that we can come to you whenever we need help, and you hear us when we pray. In Jesus name, amen. Play Earnest Prayer (James 5:16), track 11 on the CD. Play it a second time, and encourage the children to sing along with the CD. Lyrics are at the back of this book. 142

7 Samson Asks God to Restore His Strength HANDS-ON BIBLE For this activity, provide each child with a blank notebook and something to write with. Say: God is a friend who always listens. We can talk to God whenever we want, and God hears us when we pray. Let s read about that in our Hands-On Bibles. Have children turn to Psalm 35 in their Hands-On Bibles and read the Fun Fact called Talk It Over aloud. Distribute notebooks and writing instruments, and lead children through the activity. On the left-hand side of their notebooks, have them draw or write about one of the worst things that has ever happened to them. On the right-hand side, have them draw or write about one of the best things that has ever happened to them. When children have finished, ask: How was talking to God on paper the same as or different from talking out loud to him? (It was different because it s harder for me to draw than to talk; it was the same because I was telling God what I was thinking about, and he knows everything anyway.) Which way do you like better? (Talking out loud because it s easier; drawing a picture because I like to draw.) Do you think God hears one kind of prayer more than the other? Explain. (No, I think God hears both kinds of prayers the same; yes, I think God hears me more when I talk because I can talk faster than I can write, so I say more.) Say: Whether we say it out loud with words or draw it on paper with pictures, God hears us when we pray. You can keep your prayer journals and draw or write about other things you want to talk to God about. And don t forget to write down the good things that happen, too, when God answers and helps you! n Springing to Hear SUPPLIES: Bible Gather the children in a circle. Have one child stand in the center of the circle. Give him or her a coil bracelet, and demonstrate how to stretch it and shoot it like a rubber band. Say: When the person in the center shoots the coil bracelet at your feet, pick it up and say, God hears us when we pray, BUZZ, BUZZ, BUZZ, BUZZ Keep buzzing and move to the center of the circle to shoot the coil bracelet at another person s feet. Once you start buzzing, don t stop until I give the signal. We ll keep going until everyone is buzzing. When everyone is buzzing, blow the bird whistle, and wait for children s response. Return the coil bracelet to the Learning Lab. Ask: What happened as more and more people started buzzing? (It got noisy; it was harder and harder to hear the person in the center.) Do you think that s what it s like when lots of people pray to God at the same time? Explain. (Yes, it must be noisy; no, it s not noisy to him.) Say: Sometimes when it s noisy, I blow the bird whistle so everyone will 143

8 Lesson 11 quiet down. Then I can hear you, and you can hear me. But it s different with God. It doesn t matter if there s lots of noise. The Bible tells us that God hears us when we pray. There s a good example of that in 1 Kings 9:3a. Read 1 Kings 9:3a aloud. A petition is a very important request. We can talk to God about very important things, and he will listen. Ask: Do you like it when people talk to you? Why or why not? (Yes, it makes me feel good; yes, I know they care; otherwise, I d be lonely.) Do you think God likes it when we talk to him? Explain. (Yes, because he loves us; he cares about us; he wants to hear from us.) How can God listen to everybody who prays to him? (God can do anything; God has enough time for everybody; because he s God.) Say: God always has time to listen. But listening isn t always easy for us. Long ago when Jesus lived here on earth, he tried to tell people all about God, but they didn t always listen. He even died on the cross for those people. Sometimes when God tries to tell us about himself, we don t listen, either, do we? Thankfully, Jesus died on the cross for us, too. If we pray and ask forgiveness for our sins, God will forgive us, and we can become friends with Jesus. Jesus is a forever friend who will always listen! We might need some extra help listening in our next activity, so we ll need to use the animal ears. Closing n No Matter How You Say It SUPPLIES: none Have children form pairs and decide which partner will talk and which will listen. Have one pair come to the front of the classroom and stand facing each other. Give the animal ears to the listener, and say: Listeners, you ll wear these animal ears. Talkers, when I ask, What do you want? tell your listener anything you want. For example, you might say, I want a pizza or I want $10. I ll ask, What do you want? two times. Give the same answer each time, but say it the way I tell you to say it. For instance, I might say, Whisper your answer the first time and Yell your answer the second time. Here we go. Give each talker two distinctly different instructions from this list: Whisper your answer. Jump up and down as you answer. Make an angry face as you answer. Turn away from your partner as you answer. Look up at the ceiling as you answer. Stomp your feet as you answer. Sing your answer. Speak your answer softly with your eyes closed. 144

9 After each pair has had a turn, collect the animal ears and return them to the Learning Lab. Have pairs discuss these questions: Listeners, what was your favorite way of hearing the answer? (When the person sang; when the person spoke softly.) Talkers, what was your favorite way of giving the answers? (Jumping up and down while I gave my answer; yelling the answer.) Blow the bird whistle, and wait for children to respond. Form a circle. Say: There are lots of different ways we can talk to people. In our game, we tried lots of different ways. Ask: How do you think God wants us to talk to other people? (Nicely; softly; not angrily.) How do you think other people like to hear us? (When we talk quietly; when we say please and thank you; when we are nice.) Say: Those are good answers. Just as there are many good ways to talk to people, there are many ways to talk to God. We can say prayers before we eat, when we re at school, when we re standing or sitting, and when we re speaking or singing or silent. No matter how or when we talk to him, God hears us when we pray. Have each child tell one way he or she will talk to God this week. Then close with a prayer similar to this one: Dear God, thank you for hearing us when we pray. Thank you for watching over us and answering our prayers in the very best way. In Jesus name, amen. Samson Asks God to Restore His Strength Growing closer to Jesus extends beyond the classroom. Photocopy the Growing Together handout (at the end of this lesson) for this week, and send it home with your children. Encourage children and parents to use the handout to plan meaningful activities on this week s topic. Follow up the Growing Together activities next week by asking children what their families did together. 145

10 Prayer 11: God hears us when we pray. Bible Story Samson asks God to restore his strength. Judges 16:1-31 Key Verse No The eye earnest has seen, prayer no ear of has a heard, righteous and no person mind has has imagined great what power God and has produces prepared wonderful for those results who (James love him 5:16b). (1 Corinthians 2:9b). This week your child learned that God hears us when we pray, whether we pray silently or out loud, in a church or in bed at night. Children discovered that when they pray, God will hear and answer their prayers. Prayer Party Have a wiener roast in a fireplace, over a campfire, or on a barbecue grill. As you thank God for the food, point out the smoke drifting up to the sky, and talk about how your prayers rise toward God. From the Heart Fold a 5x5-inch square of paper in half. Help your child draw half a heart shape on the fold, and add lines to make it resemble an ear. Cut around the outer edge of the ears. Then open the fold and lay the ears flat. Ask your child what shape the two ears make (a heart). Explain that God listens to our prayers through ears of love. Because God loves us and wants to take care of us, he hears us when we pray. Talking to God Help your child choose a family or a specific issue in the news to pray about. If you choose an issue such as homeless people in your area, follow the news carefully and pray together about that issue. If you choose to pray for a family or an older person, you might also send homemade cards of encouragement. Music Makers Make mealtime prayers special this week by setting them to music. Sing this prayer to the tune of The Mulberry Bush. God is great, and God is good. We thank you for our food. God is great, and God is good. Thank you for our food. 146 Permission to photocopy this handout from Group s Hands-On Bible Curriculum, Grades 1 & 2, granted for local church use. Copyright Group Publishing, Inc., 1515 Cascade Ave., Loveland, CO group.com

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God wants us to honor him.

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God inspired people to write the Bible.

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Jesus is God s special gift.

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God wants us to share the good news about Jesus.

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Jesus gives us new life.

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God wants us to share.

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True heroes encourage others to follow God.

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Jesus died for us because he loves us.

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God wants us to take a stand for him.

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God loves us and gives us good surprises.

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Jesus cares about people who are poor.

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Jesus gives us new life.

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Jesus wants us to serve others.

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