Use this lesson, Prayer for Children Far Away, to introduce your children’s ministry students to the world around them and the need for Christians to serve God’s needs in the mission field.
Children’s Lesson: Prayer for Children Far Away
Get Set to Serve
Arrange for a guest speaker to come and talk to your kids. The speaker should be someone who has done service or missionary work in another country, preferably a country with a culture quite different from our own.
If you can’t locate such a person, find someone who has traveled to another country on vacation or business. Explain that you want the kids to learn what life is like in that country, especially for the children who live there. Encourage the speaker to bring along photographs or artifacts from the country.
Before class, print the “Prayer for Children Far Away” at the end of this article for your speaker and for each child. Fill in the country your speaker will discuss in the prayer. Consider serving a snack that is traditionally served in that country.
Gather the children together and say: Today we welcome a special guest.
Introduce the guest speaker, telling the kids that in just a few moments the speaker will share some interesting information with them. Then ask:
- How does news travel in our country today?
- How did the news of Jesus spread throughout the world?
Say: Before he went back to heaven, Jesus instructed his followers to go throughout the world and spread the good news that he is the Son of God. This is how the Christian church began. The followers of Jesus who traveled and told the good news were the first missionaries. One of those first missionaries was Paul. Paul went to many lands and told the people he met there about Jesus.
If you have been able to locate a map of Paul’s travels, show the map to the children. Then explain that parts of the New Testament tell us about Paul’s travels. Have a child read aloud Acts 21:1-6. Then say: This passage is fun for kids to hear because it tells how the children and their parents followed Paul out of the city. Ask:
- Why do you think they followed Paul?
- Do you think Paul liked meeting children from another land? Why or why not?
Introduce the guest speaker. After the speaker has finished his or her presentation, encourage the kids to ask questions. Then ask:
- How are the children’s lives in (name of country) different from your lives? How are they alike?
- Would you like to trade places with the children there? Explain.
Encourage kids to join you in saying thank you to the guest speaker. (You may want to have the kids write thank you notes to your speaker at another time.)
Gather the kids into a prayer circle. Give each child a copy of “A Prayer for Children Far Away” (below). Say: Now that we’ve learned about the children who live in (name of country), we can understand how their lives are like ours and how they’re different. Since we know more about their problems, we’re better able to pray for them.
Ask kids to close their eyes and think for a moment about the children they learned about. Next, ask them to open their eyes and read the prayer along with you.
Then say: God loves all children. As Christians, we are called to care about children who live next door to us and children who live far away from us. Take your prayer home and hang it in your room. This week, whenever you see it, remember to pray for the children of (name of country).
The Extra Service Step
Consider having your kids send drawings and letters to children who live in the country they learned about. Perhaps your guest speaker can connect you with a church or school there that would like to receive greetings from your kids. If your guest speaker is unable to help you find a place to mail the greetings, your denominational office or a local mission group may be able to help.
You may want to take photographs of your group to send. Packs of stickers are a great treat to include in a package, along with a cover letter explaining a bit about your group. The cover letter may be in English, even if that isn’t the country’s native language, since it usually isn’t difficult to find an English translator.
Of course, if you receive a reply from the foreign children, your kids may want to continue the correspondence. And consider collecting items to mail to the children, such as crayons, coloring books, stickers, or socks. Your congregation may want to become involved in adding to your collection.
A Prayer for Children Far Away
Say: Dear God, We pray for the children of ___________. Now that we know more about their country, we can understand what their lives are like. Please take care of them and help them to feel your love. Although their lives are different from ours, we know that inside, they’re kids just like us! In Jesus’ name, amen.
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