Tag Archives: Prayer

Children’s Sermon Matthew 25: 31-46, We are all connected in Jesus! Christ the King Sunday

Preparation: Have enough name tags with different identifications on them such as: “sick,” “hungry,” homeless,” “thirsty,” “stranger,” “lonely,” etc. You can have more than one child with the same “label.” Expand upon labels as is appropriate in you context. Have enough name tags with “Jesus” written on them for each child (or even congregational member).

20130822-223454.jpg Gather the children and give them each a name tag with the label on it as they come up. Ask them, “Have you ever needed help and didn’t get any? How did that feel? (Accept all answers) It doesn’t feel that good does it. Have you ever helped a friend or even someone that you didn’t know?” (Hopefully, they will say yes.) “We all have helped someone, even if we may not know it! When we offer a hug, a smile or say a kind word, very simple things, we can help someone know the love of God can’t we? Here at our church we help people we know and people we don’t know in many different ways. (List some of the internal ministries (meals for the sick, visits, etc.) and outward ministries here. If you have any that children participate in be sure to say so and invite more children and youth to be a part of that ministry!) Some of the people we work with are the people that Jesus talks about in our story today and are on your name tags. Why do we do that? Is it just to be good? Is it just because Jesus says so (Jesus does but…)?”
FaithCross_BibleALT “In our story today, Jesus does say that we should feed hungry people, give water to those who need clean water to drink, give people clothes, care for sick people, etc. And we do that! But it’s not just so that we can feel good about ourselves or make sure that God loves us right? No, God loves us no matter what. You each have on a name tag with a label of a type of person on it. We’ve all been sick, we might need shelter one day or food. We never know, one day we help someone else and the next day someone is helping us. That’s what we call “partnership” or working together. We all need stuff sometimes!”
“Here is another name tag for each of you. Whose name is on it? Jesus! That’s right! Jesus says that he loves us all very much, is with us always and we know that each one of us reflects Jesus to the world with every word, smile and action. Jesus says that you are a part of Jesus and Jesus is a part of you! And you, and you, and you and you (point to all of the children and all of the adults!)! Jesus says that we are connected to God and so we are also connected to each other-EVERYONE matters! We want everyone to know God’s love and to know that Jesus is with them and a part of their lives. So this name tag today reminds you that Jesus is part of you and your life each and every day and you are also connected to all of God’s people!”

FaithCross_WorshipWe are all connected and share in the life and love of God. Have a large wooden cross or a large poster board cross that can be attached to a wall or free standing. Have several post-it notes and pens on the table with the cross. Invite each person to write a way that they need that community to pray for them this week on a post-it note and stick it to the cross. Then invite each person to take another person’s prayer off the cross and pray for them that week. You can choose to have names on them or not.

20130822-224425.jpg We are grateful that you love us all and bring us together for community, support and help when we need it. We pray for all of those who do not have enough to eat, do not have clean water, shelter, or are lonely in anyway. We pray to look for ways to be your love and mercy to all in the world and we long for the day when all of your people have what they need for daily life. In the name of Jesus who is with us always, amen.

FaithCross_BlessALT +You matter to God+

Children’s Sermon Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost, Matthew 25:14-30, November 16, 2014

Prepare: You will need a trash can and a couple crumpled up sheets of paper. I would put the trash can somewhere away from the children, you will be throwing the crumpled paper into the (or at) the trash can, and it could be chaos if the trash is too close by.

20130822-223454.jpg  Ask the children if they play any sports. You are aiming for basketball, so maybe steer them in that direction.

FaithCross_ConversationALT Basketball is really fun! Let’s think about basketball for a minute. The basic idea is that you need to throw the ball through the hoop, right? Well I can’t really bring a basketball and a hoop into the church (Or maybe you can?!? Depends on where you worship!) but I did bring a trash can and a couple balls of paper. OK, here’s the thing about this – If I really want this paper to go into the trashcan, or a basketball to go through the hoop, I need to make sure that I throw it hard enough to get there, right? If I just barely throw it, like this, I know exactly where it’s going to go, but it’s nowhere near the trashcan. But, I’m afraid that if I really toss it far enough that I will miss! Then I will have to get up and go get it, which is a pain, so to be safe, I’m just not going to throw it. Sound good? (I hope that you get some encouragement to throw it here, but you may have to get them worked up a little) OK, but what if I miss? Should I worry about it? No? Ok, here goes!

(doesn’t matter if you make it)

Wow, that was much more fun than just dropping the paper!

This is kind of like the story we hear in the Gospel today. Three people were given some money. Two of them risked it, they spent the money on something that they hoped would make them even more money and it worked – kind of like me really tossing the paper. The third person was nervous and kept the money hidden so it would be safe. Well, the man who gave them the money was really happy with the two that invested or spent the money, because they did something wonderful with a gift he had given them, but he was really mad at the third guy because he hid the gift and didn’t do anything!

Now, we all know that when Jesus tells a story there is ALWAYS more going on than what it first seems. Jesus isn’t really talking about money, or about rich people and servants, Jesus is talking about us! Jesus is talking about gifts from God that make us all good at different things. Some of us are really good at figuring out problems, some are good at art or music, or running or caring for people – all kind of different things! Jesus is telling us to use our gifts to make the world better – we should invest our gifts and we will get good things back.

FaithCross_PrayALT   Generous God, thank you for the gifts that you give! Give us all the courage to invest in our gifts and use them to help others. Amen

FaithCross_Worship Prayer partners! Ask people to join together in groups of 2 or 3. These can be household groups or random groups. Somehow distribute these three questions (on a screen or in a worship bulletin or whatever works in you context).

  1. What gifts do you have?
  2. What do you risk if you invest in your gifts and use them?
  3. What do you risk if you hide your gifts?

Prayer partners should ask these questions our loud, but the answers can be silent (better if both people talk, but the important thing is hear the questions so that everyone thinks about them).

After all three questions have been asked (and answered) then invite the partners to pray with each other.

20130822-223908.jpg God loves everything about you.

~GB

Permission to use for nonprofit. When printing give credit to Faith Formation Journeys. Intellectual property rights apply.

Children’s Sermon John 17: 1-11, Easter 7 Year A, June 1, 2014

ffjChildrenSermonPreparation: Have a 2×8 (or so) strip of paper for each person in the congregation. You will be making a paper chain of prayers. Have a large enough cross available to place the chain of prayers on the cross. You will also need clear tape.

FaithCross_ConnectALT For this children’s time have the children stay with their families instead of bringing them forward. Ask all the people gathered to shout out what time of day they pray. Before a meal, bed or other times? Do they use formulaic prayers such as the common table prayer? Or their own words?

FaithCross_BibleALTAsk everyone gathered for worship, “Turn to the person next to you and tell about a time when you were so excited or worried about something that you couldn’t wait to tell someone. GO!” (Give them a couple of minutes.) We love to share with someone when we are excited or worried don’t we? Well, Jesus is showing us today in this story from John, that prayer can be like that: something that we are excited, nervous or worried about God wants us to talk to her about! We don’t have to use fancy words and it doesn’t have to be a special time. We can talk to God anytime, anywhere about anything!

God hears and understands our prayers no matter what all of the time. What’s important to us is what is important for God to hear. Talking to God about everything helps to connect us to God and to know that God is with us always. Prayer also connects us to each other as the people of God. We can pray for each other as Jesus prays for his disciples and we can pray for all people to love each other.

FaithCross_PrayALTFaith+ Prayer: Depending on the size of your congregation or how you choose to do children’s message today, have either a group of about 8 children volunteer to help pray at the end or go around your worship space. Do the “one word prayer” where someone starts off with saying one word and then as you work around the group each person adds one word. Example: Dear. Jesus. Thank. You. For. Today. This might take a little while but its fun to build off of each other in prayer!

FaithCross_BlessALT Make the sign of the cross and say: In God you have eternal life.

*Faith + Worship: Prayers don’t even have to be words, they can be thoughts or songs or pictures! Today during Open Space (sacred reflection time) you can draw, write, or doodle a prayer to God on this strip of paper. (About 2 x8) When you are done writing/drawing connect your strip of paper to the pray of your neighbors like a paper chain on the cross. (Have a cross of some decent size with a paper circle already started for the chain. Have this station where it is accessible from all sides for ease. Tape them together on the inside where nothing is written or drawn if you can.) All of our prayers connect us to God and to each other. After worship, find another person’s prayer to take home for the week to pray.

Children’s Sermon First Sunday of Lent, Matthew 4:1-11, March 9, 2014

20130715-114218.jpgGet the children organized into a quick game of Simon Says as they gather together.  It doesn’t need to be log or involved, just enough to get them thinking about listening to instructions.

FaithCross  Simon says game over!  That was fun, thanks for playing!  I was thinking about that game, and it seems like the only reason that it works is because we all agree on the rules.  In fact, the only reason any games work is because we all agree on the rules.  In Simon Says we agree that one person will be able to tell the other people what to do.  What if, instead of one person being the leader and giving instructions, we all started giving instructions?  Like if you were saying, “Simon says sit,” and I was saying “Simon Says stand,” and someone else was saying “Simon says jump?”  Would the game still work?  Probably not, no.

That is kind of what the devil is hoping for in today’s Gospel story.  See, Jesus is out in the desert and doesn’t have any food or water, or a place to sleep.  It’s just Jesus and the desert.  The devil thinks that he can get Jesus to try to take control from his Father because Jesus is probably weak with hunger and thirst.  The Devil is probably hoping that Jesus and God the Father will fight for control, which is kind of like God fighting with herself (himself, whichever works for you), but that’s a longer story.  Jesus won’t do it, though.  Jesus says that it is not his place to challenge God’s power, or to tell God what to do.  He tells the devil that God is in charge and that is how it should be.  If Jesus can’t tell God what to do, should we?

Now I know what you’re thinking, isn’t prayer like telling God what to do?  I say, no, it’s not!  Let’s think about our game again.  Remember how we said the game works because we all agree on the rules?  The person in charge isn’t giving commands, really, it’s a game!  And what about when we are not playing a game?  How many of you like to be told to do something?  Like, “Go clean your room,” or “Eat your asparagus!”  Or think about the adults in your life.  They will probably do good things for you if you ask them.  Like asking, “May I please have a cookie?”  or “May I please wash your car?”  But if you try to command them to do something it probably doesn’t work out so well, right.  When we pray, we are asking God for help, or giving God thanks, or praising God for the good things in our lives.  We aren’t telling God what to do.

Let’s practice that and pray together using the Lord’s Prayer (ask the congregation to join if that works in you setting).

FaithCross_PrayALT    Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and forever. Amen.

FaithCross_BlessALT  May God’s love go with you always.

~GB

Permission to use for nonprofit. When printing give credit to Faith Formation Journeys. Intellectual property rights apply.

Faith + Home Connection February 2014

20130822-223520.jpgShare your highs and lows of the day. Write them on post-it notes and put them on the refrigerator and pray for each other at your next meal.

20130822-223633.jpgWeek 1: 1 Corinthians 1: 26-31: Do you consider yourself called to God’s mission and work in the world in anyway? Why or why not? Do you think God calls us all or just some? How do you think God can use you in your school, job or community to share the love of Christ?

Week 2: 1 Corinthians 2: 6-16: What are some gifts that God has given you? How have you used them? What do you think it means to have the mind of Christ?

Week 3: 1 Corinthians 3: 1-9: It’s very easy to forget that we belong to God and not to anything else. Paul speaks of belonging to “people” but in our culture we belong to pro sports teams, groups, work places, neighborhoods, gyms, and many other organizations. (Which is not a bad thing.) How can we remember that above all else we belong to God? Who shares God’s love and nurtures your faith?

Week 4: 1 Corinthians 3: 10-11, 16-23: What is your faith foundation? Are there spiritual practice that help to lay the foundation for you? If you are holy and God’s temple how does that change how you are in your daily life? How you treat other people?

20130822-224425.jpgGod of life, we forget that we belong to you. We forget that we and all people are your holy temple. Help us to treat one another as with the “mind of Christ” so that the whole world will know your love. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg(Make the sign of the cross on one another): You belong to Christ and God’s Spirit dwells in you.

FaithCross_ServeALTAsk each week who is in need in your neighborhood or faith community? Find out if a meal, shoveling the walk, house cleaning or babysitting would be a way to bolster someone struggling. Pray for them each day.

Children’s Sermon 22nd Sunday After Pentecost (Lec 29), Luke 18:1-18 – October 20, 2013

Prepare:  Bring a picture or ad of something outrageous that you want, like a new car, or an expensive guitar, or the newest phone, or whatever you dream about having that is just unattainable.

20130822-223520.jpg  Pretend to be totally absorbed in picture/ad that you brought as the children gather.  Look at them with sudden surprise once they are all gathered up.  Then show them the picture and talk about how much you want it.  Then . . .

FaithCross  I know what I’ll do!  I’m going to go [to the store, etc] and beg them to give it to me until they do.  I’ll just stand there and pester them all day, all week if that’s what it takes!  Do you think that will work?  (I hope that you get some “no” answers here!)  You think it’s a bad idea?  But wait, it says to do that in the Bible!  Here, listen to this – (You can either read the story, or just tell it in your own words, whatever you think will work best for you.  This one doesn’t show up in many children’s Bibles!  Make sure you emphasize that the judge is unjust, mean, doesn’t care about people or God, etc – AND that the widow is seeking justice, not just some toy that she wants.)

Hmmm . . . now that I read that story again, maybe this isn’t a good idea.  The widow was trying to get the judge to fix something that was wrong, something that was not fair.  She was persistent because she knew what was right and good and needed the judge to help her fix things.  If I went to a store and begged for this I would just be annoying!  This isn’t anything that I need, and it doesn’t make the world better for me to have it.

What Jesus is really saying here is that we should ask for things that make our world better, and if we know that something is wrong we should ask for things to be fixed.  Jesus even says that if an unjust and mean judge can figure out how to do the right thing, imagine what God can do!

20130822-223749.jpg  Right and true God, thank you for giving us good things, and for giving us people in our lives who know how to take of things and make thing right. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg  Make the sign of the cross and say, “God be in your head, God be in your heart, God be on your left, and God be on your right.  Amen”

~GB

Permission to use for nonprofit. When printing give credit to Faith Formation Journeys. Intellectual property rights apply.

Children’s Sermon 21st Sunday After Pentecost (Lec 28), Luke 17:11-19 – October 13, 2013

Prepare: Bring something with you that is “broken”, but that a child could obviously fix.  Something really simple, like two pieces of wood that fit together.

20130822-223520.jpg  As the children gather be trying to fix whatever it is you that brought, and then ask them for help.  Once it is fixed be sure to NOT say thank you!  Just grab it back, maybe be even a little rude.

FaithCross  Wait, was that what I was supposed to do?  Shouldn’t I say something to (name of child who helped)?  Yeah, what is it that I should say?  Oh!  “Thank You!”

We all know to do that, right?  We all say “thank you” when someone helps us, right?  Here’s a question for you, though – how often to you say thank you to God when you ask God for help?  I don’t know about you, but I pray most often when I am scared or worried, or when I just want God to do something for me.  I pray for God to give me good weather when I want to be outside, I pray for God to help people feel better, I pray for God to comfort people who are scared.  You know what else I say when I pray?  I say, “thank you.”

In today’s Gospel story there are ten people who are really sick, and the disease that they have is really easy to give to other people, so they are not allowed to live in town with all the other people.  They ask Jesus to heal them so that they can go back home, and Jesus does it.  What should they do next?  They should say thank you, right?  Well, only one of them comes back to Jesus and says thank you, just one!  That’s not good!  I said thank you for help with a simple toy, Jesus healed them!  They should all say thank you, and so should we.

Let’s try it together.  I’m going to start a prayer and then I’m going to stop talking so that we can all say thank you to God for something that we prayed for.  (If you children’s sermon happens as part of the main worship at your church invite the whole congregation to do this!)  Ok, think for a minute of something that you prayed about that you would like to say thanks to God for. . . ready?

20130822-223749.jpg  Gracious God, we pray to you all the time for help and comfort, but sometimes we forget to say thank you.  Please accept our thanks for these wonderful gifts you have given us ___________.  Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg  Make the sign of the cross and say, “God be in your head, God be in your heart, God be on your left, and God be on your right.  Amen”

~GB

Permission to use for nonprofit. When printing give credit to Faith Formation Journeys. Intellectual property rights apply.

Children’s Sermon 4th Sunday after Epiphany, John 4:21-30 –or- 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

ffjChildrenSermonNOTE: This children’s sermon could be adapted for many different Sundays and readings.

Faith+Open:  Find a way to enter into the worship space that gives you a little time to walk before you invite the children to join you.  Sing “Zippity Do Dah” as you walk in.  Here’s a link to a youtube video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcxYwwIL5zQ

Faith+Share:  Have you ever heard that song before?  Uncle Remis, the character that sang that song, was singing it as a prayer of thanks for a beautiful day.  Well, I have a prayer that I call the “Zippity Do Dah Prayer” that I think might go well with the readings that we have today.  The Zippity Do Dah Prayers is a prayer of thanks for the good things that are happening, like love and hope and joy.  It is also a great prayer to help us look at the good things that are happening and help us to let go of some of the bad things.

I thought of it when I read the story about Jesus that we hear today.  Jesus is in his hometown and he says things that are true, but that make the people who live there really upset.  I mean really upset, they decided that they should throw him off a cliff because they were so mad.  Then something amazing happens, Jesus just walks through the angry crowd of people and walks away.  He leaves the anger behind him and continues his ministry somewhere else.

Now, the Zippity Do Dah prayer has some important parts.  First is the position – prayers often have a special position like folded hands, or kneeling.  For this one, you lie down on your back, cross your ankles and put your hands behind your head, like this.

The second thing is that this is a prayer of thanks!  No “Lord help me,” just thanks.  Thank God for different things, something like, “Good morning, God, I hope you are having a good day.  I sure am thankful for . . . “ and fill in what you are thankful for.  Then at the end say, “I’ll talk to you again soon, Amen!”

Let’s try it!  We’ll all lie down in the prayer position and I’ll start, then we can all say 1 or 2 things that we are thankful for.  It’s ok if we all talk at the same time.

Faith+Prayer:   (use the prayer, then invite the children to sing “Zippity Do Dah” as they go back to their seats.

Faith+Blessing:  Shine with God’s light so that all may see God’s Glory.

Special thanks to my friend Randy Williams for this prayer and the idea to use it as a children’s sermon.

~GB

Permission to use for nonprofit. When printing give credit to Faith Formation Journeys. Intellectual property rights apply.