Finally!! The curriculum that I have been working on over the book of James for families and churches is FINALLY finished! To celebrate, I want to offer you all the lessons for chapter five FREE!!!! In this post, you will find one of these lessons so you can get a better idea of what they are like. The other lessons can be downloaded at no cost to you here.
If you enjoy the lessons, I hope you will consider purchasing the entire curriculum. We used it in our youth ministries this past school year which included our after school program for k-5th grade, our middle school youth group and our high school youth group. It was easy to adapt it for each age group. You can find the entire curriculum as a pdf here or get your print copy here. You can also find out more about the curriculum (including why I wrote it and some other sample lessons) here.
Thanks for celebrating with me! Don’t forget to get all EIGHT lessons for use with your ministry!!!! (Just click on this link and when it asks you for a price, type “0” . . . and don’t feel bad about typing 0, I WANT you to get these lessons free!!!!!)
And now here is a lesson from the curriculum over the topic of prayer.
Focus Scripture: James 5:13-15
1. Play a game of giant twister with your kids! Spray paint red, blue, yellow and green circles in straight rows on a large, grassy area. Then have the kids line up horizontally, forming two lines that are facing each other with the rows of circles in the middle. Call out different positions for them to try to get into (for example: right hand on yellow, left foot on green, etc) You can make a spinner to go along with this or simply put all the combinations on pieces of paper in a bag and pull them out. See how long the kids can go before they get all twisted up and fall down! Have fun with this!
When the game is over, say: In this game, we were all TWISTED up! We got into many different situations and sometimes, all we could do was fall down! In our lives, we get into all types of situations, too, and, many times, the only thing we can really do is FALL to our KNEES in PRAYER!!! So the next time life seems all TWISTED up, FALL to your knees in PRAYER!!!
2. Play a fun water relay game. Divide your group into teams. Give every member of each team a cup. Place a full bucket of water at one end of the group and an empty bucket at the other. The kids have to get the water from the full bucket to the empty bucket . . . but the only way they can do it is by pouring it from cup to cup and the cups must be held over each person’s head when this is accomplished. For older kids and added difficulty, blindfold everyone!!!! The team with the most water transferred to the empty bucket after a certain amount of time wins the game. Expect wet results . . . and lots of fun!!!!
When the game is over, say: Some of you got quite wet in this game! You could say that you were ANOINTED with water! In today’s Bible passage, James talks about anointing others with oil. This is something that is done when someone is very sick. The elders are to take oil and use that to anoint the sick person and pray for him. While we would never think of anointing someone who is sick like we just anointed one another in this game, let this game remind you of the importance of praying for those who are sick.
3. Play a game of shadow tag with your group. Have them go outside on a sunny day and find their shadows. Choose a couple people who are “it”. Those people have to tag as many people as they can by jumping on their shadows. If your shadow gets jumped on, you have to make “shadow art”, standing perfectly still, until someone comes along and tags you.
When the game is over, say: Today we are going to talk about someone who prayed and God used a SHADOW in response to this person’s prayer!!
As you begin today’s lesson, teach the kids a simple and fun phrase to help them remember the importance of prayer. The phrase is, “Stop, Drop, and PRAY”. Just like when you are in a fire you should “Stop, drop, and roll”, our first response to the situations that come our way should be to “Stop, Drop, and Pray!” That is, stop what we are doing, drop to our knees and pray! Teach the kids motions to go with this – STOP: Put your hand out like an officer telling someone to stop, DROP: Drop down on your knees, PRAY: Fold your hands in front of you and put your head down in a prayer position. Practice this several times with the kids, seeing how fast they can do it, how many times in a row, etc. When the kids have learned it and you are ready to continue with the lesson, tell them that they are going to be called on to do this today several times during the lesson and they should pay attention so they do it at the correct time!
Read James 5:13-15. Use the following questions to aid in your discussion:
What should our response be to any situation that faces us? That’s right, we should STOP, DROP, and PRAY (have the kids do this)
What happens when we pray?
Explain the importance of prayer in a Christian’s life.
Say: Today we are going to talk about how God answered a prayer for one of the kings of Israel. His name was Hezekiah. Use the following script (and some volunteers) to teach 2 Kings 20:1-11.
Leader: A long time ago, there was a man named Hezekiah.
Hezekiah steps forward.
Leader: He was a good king and followed God.
Hezekiah says: I am a good king. I follow God.
Leader: One day, Hezekiah got very sick.
Hezekiah acts sick.
Leader: I mean he was VERY sick.
Hezekiah acts VERY sick.
Leader: He was so sick, it was pretty obvious he was going to die.
Hezekiah acts like he is going to die.
Leader: He was so sick that the prophet Isaiah came to visit him.
Isaiah comes forward.
Leader: Isaiah told Hezekiah to set his house in order for he was going to die!!
Isaiah says: Set your house in order, you are going to die!
Leader: What do you suppose Hezekiah did? Did he get scared and panic because of what Isaiah said?
Hezekiah acts scared and panicked.
Leader: Did he beg Isaiah for his life?
Hezekiah begs Isaiah for his life.
Leader: Did he get mad and yell about how unfair it was?
Hezekiah gets mad and yells.
Leader: NO! Hezekiah did what he always did when he faced tough situations! He turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord. He STOPPED, DROPPED, and PRAYED!!!
All kids Stop, Drop and Pray.
Leader: Hezekiah said (pause so Hezekiah can repeat each part) Remember now, O Lord, how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
Leader: Before Isaiah had left the court, the Lord came to him and gave him a message. The Lord told Isaiah to tell Hezekiah that He had heard his prayer and seen his tears and that he was going to heal him! In fact, the Lord was going to add fifteen years to his life and take care of him and his people! Isaiah told this to Hezekiah.
Isaiah gives Hezekiah the message.
Leader: Hezekiah asked Isaiah for a sign that this would come true.
Hezekiah asks for a sign.
Leader: Isaiah gave Hezekiah the choice of what sign he wanted. Either the shadow would go forward ten steps or back ten steps. Hezekiah chose to have the shadow go back ten steps, and that is exactly what happened. The shadow went back ten steps and Hezekiah recovered from his illness . . . all because Hezekiah STOPPED what he was doing, DROPPED to his knees and PRAYED to God! Let’s do that together one more time!
All kids STOP, DROP, and PRAY together.
Say: We need to remember that PRAYER should be our FIRST reaction to any situation that faces us. Let’s take some time to pray right now.
End in a prayer time with your kids. You might choose to divide them into smaller groups with an adult leader and have them pray together, or you might have one giant prayer circle. Emphasize the importance of what you are doing when you pray and allow children to share any requests they might have. Make this a special time of prayer with your group.
1. Make homemade pretzels to remind your children to “Stop, Drop, and Pray”! (The pretzel shape can remind them of praying hands.) Find a recipe here.
2. Use oil based paints or oil pastels to make a picture that reminds you of praying.
3. Take your group on a prayer walk around the neighborhood or church building. Stop at different locations and take turns praying for the people who are there or the activities that take place there. Use this as a time to teach your kids that they can pray always, anytime and anywhere!
4. Make prayer journals with your group.
5. Make shadow art. If you have a sunny day, have the kids go outside and use different objects to make shadows that remind them of praying. If it is not a sunny day, use lamps inside to get the same results. Then have the kids draw, sketch or paint what they see.
NOTE: The curriculum contains a parent letter and Bible reading plan at this point.