Prayers for peace

Here is a very visual and watchable way to help children to pray for peace and the bringing together of communities. You can also use things you are very likely to have a home, which is always a welcome bonus!

You will need: Kitchen roll, water, 2 cups, food colouring

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Take 2 cups and fill them about 2/3 full with water. Into each cup, mix a different food colouring so that each cup’s water is a different colour. Try to get as strong a colour as possible.

Cut a strip of kitchen roll as long as a sheet of the roll and about 5cm wide.

Talk about divisions in communities we know or live in. What causes such divisions? Who or what helps to heal divisions and bring people together. Think about one of the names for Jesus which is ‘Prince of Peace.’ What does that mean? How can we help to bring about peace?

Think of a situation where there is division e.g. in a war. Put the paper towel as a bridge between the two cups, with each end of the towel in on of the cups. Pray that God will help to heal the divisions and bring people together in peace, as you watch the coloured water ‘climb’ up the towel, meet in the middle of the towel and combine to form a new colour (e.g. red in one cup and yellow in the other will lead to an eventual combination of orange in the middle). Try different colours for different situations and watch your peace prayers bring about new colours!

Shining Light Pictures

This craft is a very satisfying and visual way of exploring the concept of bringing light to darkness and revealing what is hidden. It’s a great activity to do if you are thinking about Jesus as the light of the world and our job to bring that light and hope too.

You will need: plastic wallets (I used ones that are open on the top and one side, like these), Sharpies or permanent markers, black card or paper, white card or paper, scissors.

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Using Sharpies, decorate the front of a plastic wallet with pictures and words about light and Jesus the light of the world. If you put a sheet of white paper into the folder while you do this, it gives a clear background to help you when you are drawing and colouring your design.

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When you have finished, take the white paper out of the folder and replace it with black paper. It will now be much harder to see your design.

Cut a piece of white paper to look a little bit like a torch beam or a ray of light and place it inside the folder, between the folder and the black paper.

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As you move the paper ‘beam’ it will highlight parts of your design as if you are shining light on it in the darkness.

Talk about:

  • the comparison between the darkness and the ability to see more clearly and in colour
  • What does it mean to be light in darkness?
  • What things help to make the world a brighter, happier and better place?
  • Where could we shine light and help to make our communities and homes brighter places?

Have fun!

Lego Journey Labyrinths

Life can be full of twists and turns and sometimes it can be hard to know that God is with us. Here is a really interactive way to help children to engage with the idea of God guiding us on our journey through life.

You will need: Lego baseboards, Lego

Ask children to use the lego bricks to build a maze. There can be as many dead ends and winding paths as they like,  but there has to be a way out at the end.IMG_4965

When the children have finished making their mazes, let them swap and follow one made by someone else. However hard the maze might be to solve, whoever has made it knows that the dead ends and misleading paths are not the end of the story. Someone, at least, knows the way through the maze.

Talk about times when it’s hard to know which way to go in life. Who helps you? Talk about times in your life and stories in the Bible where God has helped  you or someone to know the right way to go.  Psalm 23 is a good example. The psalmist goes through good times in green pastures and beside still waters, but also goes through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. God is always there with him as a guide, showing the way to go and giving him what he needs to get through.

Pray that God will help you to see the way to go in life when you’re not sure or when times are hard.

Take Home Prayer Activity: Coin Prayers

Its often really useful to have a prayer activity to send home with children so that they can spend time during the week connecting with God.  This is an easy activity to put together and send out and works really well if prayed with someone else, taking it in turns to toss the coin.  It might help to practice the activity with the children before they take it home, so that they can get right on with praying!

You will need: Enough real or plastic coins for each child, a print out of the prayer activity for each child (click here to print out a sheet with the activity x6 per page).

1 Samuel 16: ‘God sees the heart’ hidden chocolate biscuits

The story of God directing Samuel to choose David as king is a great one to use when you are helping children to explore the idea of not judging by appearance. On the surface, David looked to be just a boy,  but God could see in him what others around him couldn’t. God wasn’t looking for someone tall or handsome, but he was looking at the heart- what was on the inside. David’s brothers seemed to be better choices, but God told Samuel to pass them by and choose David.

This craft is a good example of not judging by appearances, but knowing what is in the heart!

You will need: (for 8) 100g plain flour, 50g butter, 20g sugar, pinch of salt, 8 small squares of chocolate (I used Celebrations chocolates cut in half), baking tray, oven, mixing bowl, wooden spoon or electric mixer.

Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and then mix in the flour and salt until a dough is formed. Split the dough into 8 pieces and flatten each piece out. Put a piece of chocolate in the centre of each piece of dough and then close the dough around the chocolate until it is completely covered. Make sure there are no gaps or melted chocolate will seep out and spoil the surprise! Put on a greased baking tray and bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool. Bite the biscuits open to reveal the hidden chocolate.

Talk about:

What was it like to find the chocolate in the centre? Would you have known it was there if you hadn’t baked them? (It would be a great idea to make a batch beforehand to share with the children so they could make the discovery themselves before baking them!)

Can you always tell what someone will be like just by looking?

What amazing things do you know about other people that you wouldn’t know just by looking?

Pray:

Thank God for the gifts and characteristics he has given us that people can’t see on the surface. Ask God to help us to see the hearts and not just the appearance of people we meet.