An Angel Frees Peter From Jail Acts 12:1-18

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1 Session 9 An Angel Frees Peter From Jail Acts 12:1-18 Worship Theme: God sends angels. Weaving Faith Into Life: Children will praise God for sending angels. Session Sequence What Children Will Do Supplies Let s Praise God! (up to 25 minutes) Sing He s the King (track 13) Let s Go! (Ephesians 2:10) (track 7) To God Be the Glory (track 5) Sing Unto the Lord (track 19) He Is Good (Nahum 1:7) (track 4) Love the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) (track 8) Everybody Ought to Know (track 6) KidsOwn Worship Kit: Songs From FaithWeaver CD player, Bibles, white board, marker Session Sequence What Children Will Do Supplies Let s Learn the Point! (up to 25 minutes) Setting Peter Free Hear how Peter was set free from prison and dramatize the story. *Angel Jobs Learn ways that God uses angels to help us. Watching Over Us Play a game to celebrate God because he sends angels. Blanket, flashlight, rope, T-shirt Sheet 108 KidsOwn Worship Spring Quarter

2 Session Sequence What Children Will Do Supplies Let s Learn the Point! (up to 25 minutes) * Saved by an Angel Watch the Bible story on DVD. God Sends Angels Search the Bible to learn about angels and present their findings. * The One We Worship Answer true or false statements about angels. KidsOwn Worship Kit: Lesson Videos DVD: Saved by an Angel TV, DVD player Concordance, Bibles, index cards, marker, art supplies, 1 sheet poster board per 5 kids Session Sequence What Children Will Do Supplies Let s Pray! (up to 10 minutes) The Offering Offer their gifts to God. Prayers of Praise Write sentence prayers and read them to God. Sing Unto the Lord Sing a song to worship God. Offering bowls Index cards, pencils KidsOwn Worship Kit: Songs From FaithWeaver: Sing Unto the Lord (track 19) CD player * Starred activities can be used successfully with preschool and elementary children together. Customize your session to fit your needs. You can separate preschoolers and elementary children for Section 2. Or, if you keep the children all together for the entire worship session, we suggest you choose from the starred activities. Session 9 KidsOwn Worship 109

3 Bible Background for Leaders An Angel Frees Peter From Jail Acts 12:1-18 Herod persecuted the Christians to appease the Jews in the hope that it would solidify the Jews support. This Herod was Herod Agrippa I. He was the third in a line of four Herods, the first of whom had killed the babies in Jerusalem when he heard of Jesus birth. Herod Agrippa I continued in the murderous ways of his predecessors by murdering the Apostle James. Undoubtedly Herod planned the same fate for Peter when he realized how pleased the Jews were by James execution. Herod wanted to make sure that Christian sympathizers would not be able to release Peter. Herod assigned four groups of four soldiers each to take turns guarding Peter one soldier on each side of Peter and two at his cell door. These measures were extraordinary for such a prisoner. Acts 12:5 describes something of a competition: Peter was securely in prison, guarded by 16 of Rome s finest, handcuffed to a guard on each side of him. But on the other hand, God s people were praying earnestly for Peter on the night that Herod intended to be Peter s last night on earth. From the text, we know that Peter thought he was having a vision as he was released from prison. He had been awakened from sleep and suspected that he was only dreaming. Only after Peter s chains had fallen off, after he and the angel had walked through the gates to the street, and after the angel had led him down the first street, did Peter come to the realization that he was really free and that God had worked a series of miracles to free him. The scene that unfolded when Peter arrived at Mark s mother s house is somewhat comical. Rhoda, the servant girl, came to see who was knocking at the door in the middle of the night. When she realized it was Peter, she was so excited that she ran back to tell the others without unlocking the door! And then the people who had been earnestly praying for Peter refused to believe that he could really be at the gate. Instead, they may have jumped to the conclusion that Peter was already dead and that his guardian angel had come to tell them the news. And all the while, Peter was standing outside knocking. When they went to the door to see for themselves, they were astonished by the truth. There was so much excitement that Peter had to quiet them down before he could tell them the amazing story of what God had done for him. Devotion for Leaders Find courage. You are in a relationship with Jesus, a great defender who knows all and cannot be conquered. Weaving Faith Into Your Life: Flex your muscle your prayer muscle. God moves and works miracles for those who pray in accordance with his will. How can you best utilize this strength you have in him? 110 KidsOwn Worship Spring Quarter

4 Why We Worship for Leaders We believe in angels because the Bible says they exist! In nearly 300 examples, the Bible shows us that God uses angels in a variety of ways. God charges angels with helping us, his children, as we struggle against the forces of evil in the world and work to accomplish his purposes on earth. They are sent to defend and protect us. They act as God s messengers to guide, instruct, and comfort us. They assist him their Creator while he controls the universe. They are at God s command and seek only to do his will. Yet, amazing and powerful as angels are, we don t place our faith in them directly. Instead, we place our faith in God who commissions them on our behalf. God is for us we don t need to be afraid! Because of his great love, he sends his angels to help us. Take courage and worship God, for he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone (Psalm 91:11-12). Easy Prep for Leaders Saved by an Angel Set up a TV and DVD, and cue the Lesson Videos DVD to the Saved by an Angel segment. Watch the segment at least once before the worship session so you ll be familiar with it. God Sends Angels Gather a concordance, at least one piece of poster board for every four or five children, and art supplies. Write the following Scripture references on index cards, one per card: 1 Kings 19:5-8; Psalm 34:7; Isaiah 63:8-9; Daniel 10:5-6,14; Matthew 1:20, 24; Matthew 2:13; Matthew 4:6; Luke 22:43; John 20:12; Acts 8:26; Hebrews 1:14; and Revelation 22:8-9. Prepare a card for every four or five children. Preschool Activities Refer to the preschool pages for preparations. For additional worship songs each week, check out the Sing & Praise DVD included with your KidsOwn Worship Kit. Let s Praise God! Play Songs From FaithWeaver as children arrive. Greet children by name, and say, Welcome to children s church. Welcome to children s church, everyone! We re going to worship God today because he sends angels to help us. The Bible tells us almost 300 times that angels are God s servants. Our God is mighty and powerful and loving. He can do anything! Let s worship our God, the King of Kings. Sing He s the King. Track 13 God loves us so much! God helps us as we live for him. We know from the Bible that one way God helps us is by sending angels. Session 9 KidsOwn Worship 111

5 We ll learn more about that today, but first, let s sing about what we can do for God. C mon, let s go! Sing Let s Go! (Ephesians 2:10). Track 7 Angels are popular today. People love to talk about them. But a lot of what you hear about angels isn t true. Some people even worship angels and refuse to believe in God! That s why we study the Bible to see what God says. Think about the Bible stories you know with angels in them. What did the angels do in those stories? (They helped people; they made announcements.) If kids need prompting, remind them of the angel who shut the lions mouths to protect Daniel, the angel who protected the three men in the fiery furnace, the angel who appeared to Mary and told her about being the mother of Jesus, the angel who warned Joseph to take Mary and Jesus out of Bethlehem to save their lives, or the angels who were in the tomb in the Resurrection story. As children name examples, write on a white board words that summarize the angels roles, such as help, protect, guide, and instruct. Angels did amazing things for God s people! John, who wrote the book of Revelation, said that when he saw an angel, he fell to the ground and worshipped him. But the angel told him to stop worshipping him and worship God. The Bible shows us that angels never want to be worshipped. They want us to worship God and love him only. Let s do that right now. Sing To God Be the Glory. Track 5 It s one thing to hear about what angels did in the past. That helps us learn about them. But what about angels today? Are they still sent by God to help us? Let s see what the Bible says. Ask three volunteers to read Psalms 34:7; 91:11-12; and Hebrews 1:14. God sends angels for us today! He knows when we need help, and the angels are there to do whatever he says. Most of the time, we don t even know when they help us. We can t see angels unless God wants us to see them. That s because too many people would worship them instead of God. Angels only go where God sends them, and they do only what he tells them to do. God loves us so much! Sing Sing Unto the Lord. Track 19 Think of something in your life you need God s help with. Maybe you need help to do better in school, obey your parents, or follow God more faithfully. Maybe you have to do something difficult this week or someone you love needs God s help. Hold 112 KidsOwn Worship Spring Quarter

6 your hands out with your palms up. Now silently ask God for his help. (Pause.) Some of you may need the help of angels this week. If you do, God will send them, because God sends angels. Whether he sends angels or not, God will take care of all your needs. God is good! Sing He Is Good (Nahum 1:7). Track 4 I m so glad that God has lots of ways to help us. I m glad he sends angels. Tell us some ways God has helped you. Give children time to share stories of God s help in their lives. God s help is awesome! That s because he loves us so much. As we sing our next song, let s give our lives to God. It s the best way to thank him for sending Jesus and for dying for us. It s the best way to thank him for the loving things he does, like sending angels when we need them. Sing Love the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). Track 8 Someday, when we re in heaven, we ll probably sing together with the angels to worship God. Imagine that all the angels and all the people singing together to worship him! Until that day comes, we get to worship with each other. Put your arms on the shoulders of the people next to you as we sing our last song. Everybody ought to know how good God is! Sing Everybody Ought to Know. Track 6 Lord, you are an exciting God! You send angels for us! We love you, Lord, and we thank you for that. We thank you for all the ways angels have already helped us, ways that we don t know about. But most of all we thank you for you, Jesus. We worship you and say you are Lord. In Jesus name, amen. Session 9 KidsOwn Worship 113

7 Let s Learn the Point! Preschool Activities, pages At this time, have the preschool leader invite the preschoolers to go to their own room for this section of activities. Tear out the Preschool Activities page, and give it to the preschool leader. Have the preschool leader bring the preschoolers back to participate in Let s Pray! with the older children. If you prefer to keep all the children together, do the starred (*) activities. They work well with both elementary and preschool children. Elementary Activities * Saved by an Angel Show the Saved by an Angel segment of the Lesson Videos DVD. The segment shows the story of Peter being freed from jail (Acts 12:1-18). What would you think if this happened here? Would you be surprised? (I d be very surprised; I d be confused; I would doubt it.) Why do you think Rhoda was so surprised? (Because she thought Peter was in jail; because it seemed impossible how Peter got free.) Why do you think God sent an angel to help Peter? (Because without God s help, Peter would never get free; because he knew the angel would help Peter.) Does God send angels to help us? Explain. (Yes, sometimes we need special help, too; yes, when there s an important message God wants us to hear.) Angels are God s special helpers. The Bible gives us many examples of God sending angels to help people or to give them an important message. Let s learn what the Bible says about angels. God Sends Angels Set out art materials and one sheet of poster board per group. Have kids form groups of four or five. Hold up a concordance (or show the one in the back of your Bible). 114 KidsOwn Worship Spring Quarter What is this used for? (To look up things in the Bible; to find every place where a word appears in the Bible; I m not sure.) This is a concordance. We use it when we want to find where the Bible talks about a certain topic. For example, if we want to find where the Bible talks about angels, we look up the word angel. (continued on page 117)

8 Preschool Activities An Angel Frees Peter From Jail Session 9 Worship Theme: Acts 12:1-18 Using Theo God sends angels. Easy Prep for Leaders Setting Peter Free Set out a table, and find a bedsheet or blanket to drape over the table. You ll also need a flashlight, a small rope, and a large T-shirt. Put the shirt under the table. Watching Over Us Find an old white bedsheet or blanket. Consider using Theophilus the FaithRetriever puppet today in these ways: Have Theo lead the preschoolers from the main worship area to the preschool room. Have Theo tell the Bible story in the Setting Peter Free activity. See the KidsOwn Worship Kit for a puppet skit written for today s worship session. Setting Peter Free Gather the children around the prison (the sheet-covered table) in the story area. Long ago, King Herod arrested one of Jesus disciples and put him in jail. The disciple s name was Peter. Choose a volunteer to pretend to be Peter. This is Peter, the disciple Herod put in jail. Let s put him in our jail. Put Peter in the jail. Loop the rope Extra Impact Instead of using the table and sheet, use a very large box or plastic tub, such as a refrigerator box or something of the same size. Decorate it to look like a jail, using black paper to make bars. If using a box, cut a small hole for a window so Peter can be seen by the children. loosely around the child s hands to represent chains. When Peter s friends learned that Peter was in jail, they were very upset. What would you do if you were one of Peter s friends? Peter s friends prayed for Peter. They asked God to keep him safe. God heard their prayers. He sent someone special to set Peter free from jail. Fold your hands, and show me how you d pray. Good job! The special person God sent to help Peter was an angel! We don t know the angel s name, but he appeared while Peter was sleeping. There was a bright light in the jail. Turn the flashlight on, and have the angel shine it into the jail. The angel woke Peter up, and Peter s chains fell off! Pause while the angel takes the ropes off Peter. He told Peter to get up and get dressed. Ask Peter to put on the T-shirt. Then the angel led Peter out of jail, past the guards, and safely to his friend s house! God answered the prayers that Peter s friends prayed for him! Let s clap for Peter and the angel. What did the angel do that no one else could do? How did God answer the prayers of Peter s friends? How did God show his love for Peter? God shows his love for us, too he sends angels when we need them. We don t know when angels help us because we can t see them. But we know God loves us and sends his angels to help us when we need help. Allow children to retell the story with different children acting the parts. Choose a child to pretend to be the angel. Session 9 KidsOwn Worship 115

9 Preschool Activities * Angel Jobs We know God sends angels because the Bible tells us he does. God gives angels special jobs. An angel visited Peter. What was that angel s special job? Do you remember any other jobs angels did in Bible stories? Tell us about a job you remember. If none of the children can remember an appropriate story, prompt them to remember what the angels told Mary and the shepherds about Jesus and what happened to the lions when Daniel was thrown into the lions den. Tell them if they don t know. God sends angels to do many different things. Listen to this Bible verse: For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. That means Preschool Leader Tip Make sure children realize that people do not become angels when they die. Also be sure the children understand that people aren t angels. Angels may sometimes look like people, but angels and people are separate beings created by God. that God will send his angels to protect you! Let s pretend we need God s help. We ll act out some of the ways God might have his angels help us. Help children form groups of four or five. Working with one group at a time, read a situation from the following list, and give the group time to act it out. In some of the situations, all the children can pretend to be angels; in others, some children may need to be people. Help children decide who ll pretend to be people and who ll pretend to be angels. If they need them, offer suggestions on how the angel might help. People are in a boat that s about to sink. Someone needs to know that God loves him or her. (Have all the children in the group be angels and whisper to the other children, God loves you. ) Someone is walking down the street and is about to be hit by a speeding car. People are praising God and celebrating because someone new believes in God. A child is in bed at night and is scared. Children are playing in the river and don t know it s very deep. If you were God, what jobs would you want angels to do? Why does God send angels? God sends angels because he loves us. He sends his angels to help and protect us. I m glad God loves us so much, aren t you? Let s do what the angels do and show our love and praise for God, too. Let s jump up and down, wave our arms in the air, and tell God we love him. Let s say Thank you, God, for sending angels! Watching Over Us Let s play a game to remind us that God sends angels. Remember, the Bible says, For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. That means God sends angels to watch over us. Have children stand and hold the edges of the sheet. Help them wave the sheet up and down as you sing God Commands to the tune of The Mulberry Bush. When you sing over us, have children toss the sheet as high as they can and then try to run under it so it will cover them before it touches the ground. God Commands God commands his angels, His angels, his angels. God commands his angels To watch over us! Play the game several times. God sends his angels to watch over us whenever we need them. We ll probably never see God s angels, but we can trust that God sends them because his Word says so. He loves us and will always take care of us. 116 KidsOwn Worship Spring Quarter

10 (continued from page 114) The concordance lists all the places that the word angel or angels is used. Turn to the page, and show kids all the entries. The Bible mentions angels about 300 times! It would take us too long to look them all up, so I ve picked some out for you to look up. When I give you a Bible reference, look it up with your group. Decide together what the verses tell us about angels. Then decide on a way to tell the rest of us about it. For example, you could draw pictures or prepare a skit to show us what you learned about angels. Give each group one of the index cards you prepared before worship. Encourage kids to read the passage surrounding the verse to understand the context of the verse. Give groups time to work on their presentations. Be sure to circulate among the groups to make sure kids understand what the verses mean. Then have groups display their drawings and present their skits for each other, reading and explaining the verses. God sends angels to do many things. The most important thing about angels is not their power or beauty or the work they do. They are motivated by a love for God that never stops. They only want to see the will of God fulfilled in us. God is great to send us angels! * The One We Worship Let s play a game to see what we ve learned so far about angels. Everyone needs to stand in the middle of the room. If what I say about angels is true, walk to the back of the room. If what I say is false, walk to the front of the room. If you don t know, stay in the center of the room. Ready? Listen closely. Read one of the following statements, and then allow time for children to walk to the front or back of the room. Ask volunteers to share why they chose the answer they did. After a few responses, ask children to return to the center. Read another statement. Angels are God s servants. (True.) Angels are powerful. (True.) Angels are as powerful as God. (False.) Angels want to be worshipped. (False.) People can be angels. (False.) Angels have wings and halos. (The Bible doesn t say.) Angels are God s messengers. (True.) Angels can do whatever they want. (False.) Angels protect and defend us. (True.) Session 9 KidsOwn Worship 117

11 God sends angels because he loves us. We may never see an angel in our lives, but we can be sure that they are around us, walk with us, and watch over us. Even though they do amazing things, we never worship angels. They are only created beings, like we are. God is the one to worship and praise. He is the Creator of us all. Let s Pray! The Offering The offering time is a time to offer our gifts and ourselves to God. Today we want to thank God for sending angels to help us. Today, while you re waiting for the offering bowl to come to you, give God your love and thank him for sending angels. Take the offering. Prayers of Praise Pass out index cards and pencils to each child. We ve been worshipping God because he sends angels. You ve read some of what the Bible says about angels, and we heard the Bible story about Peter and the angel that freed him from prison. Let s take a minute now to thank God for sending angels. Use what you know about angels to write one sentence on your card that thanks or praises God for sending them to help us. Give children time to write their sentences. Pair preschoolers with older children who can help them write their thanks. Then have each child read his or her sentence aloud as a prayer. Sing Unto the Lord Angels are God s amazing helpers. And though we ll probably never see an angel, we know they are here because God s Word says so. Let s praise and worship God one last time today for loving us so much. Sing Sing Unto the Lord. Track 19 Thank you, God, for sending angels. You love us so much that you send them to guard us and help us, protect us, and teach us. We don t see them, but we know they are there. Thank you, God. You are awesome. We give you all the praise! In Jesus name, amen. 118 KidsOwn Worship Spring Quarter

12 Encouragement for Leaders Dear Lord, thank you for knowing me by name. Thank you for leading me. Thank you for being my Shepherd. Please help me to lead my students to an understanding of your love and sacrifice. In Jesus name, amen. From Heartfelt Thanks for Sunday School Teachers. Copyright 2003 Group Publishing, Inc., Loveland, CO.

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