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Free Bible Lesson: The Parable of the Persistent Widow

In this free Bible lesson, kids explore the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18 as they discover that God wants us to be persistent in our prayers.

Scripture: Luke 18:1-8

Guide kids in realizing that God wants us to be persistent in our prayers—not to wear him out like the judge in this parable, but to grow in our faith and love for him. Use this lesson to remind kids that God is always listening, so we can pray without giving up.

Free Bible Lesson: The Parable of the Persistent Widow

Departure Prayer

Supplies:

  • upbeat worship music

Gather kids and welcome them. Ask kids to complete this sentence:

I never get tired of…

Be sure to complete the sentence for yourself, too! When everyone has shared, say: We all have things we love to do—things we could do again and again and again. But sometimes we kind of wear out, even doing something we like. Let me show you what I mean.

Turn on upbeat worship music and have kids stand up and start jumping up and down.

Say: Keep on jumping until you get tired. When you get tired, you can sit down.

After a few minutes (or when all kids are sitting), turn off the music.

Ask:

  • I thought kids loved to be active and move around! What happened?

Say: Believe it or not, we can even get tired of doing something we like. Today we’re going to talk about prayer and how we might give up on it if we feel like we’ve prayed and prayed about something. We’ll discover that God wants us to keep praying, no matter what.

Pray: Dear God, we’re so thankful that you want to hear us. Guide us as we learn more about prayer and how we can come to you again and again. Help us to listen and learn so that we can know you better. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Experience the Parable

Supplies:

  • Bible
  • fist-sized stones (a few per child)
  • large basket to hold the stones

Open your Bible to Luke 18:1-8, and show kids the words.

Say: Jesus loved using stories to make a point. Sometimes he explained what the story meant, and sometimes he wanted people to keep thinking about it and figure it out themselves. This parable is super clear! Listen to these words from Luke 18.

“One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.”

Ask:

  • Why might Jesus want us to always pray and never give up?

Give a handful of stones to each child and direct kids to hold the rocks, not set them on the floor. Stand up and hold the bucket in front of you.

Say: This is the story Jesus told.

The Persistent Widow

Say: In a certain city there was a judge who didn’t fear or respect God, and he didn’t care about people. There was also a widow in that city—a woman whose husband had died. Now, in Bible times, a widow was most likely poor and maybe had a tough time on her own. She no longer had a husband to care for or protect her. This widow came to the judge and said, “Give me justice in this dispute I’m having.”

Bring me a rock to represent the widow bringing her request to the judge. Pause while kids plunk rocks into the bucket you’re holding. When everyone has added a rock, continue: The judge ignored the widow. But she came back with her same request. Let kids each add another rock to the bucket. And she came again. Kids may add another rock to the bucket. And again! Let kids bring up any remaining rocks they have.

Say: Finally, the judge said, “I may not fear God and I sure don’t care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy! Show kids how heavy the bucket is and how weary you are from holding it. I’m going to see that she gets justice because she’s wearing me out with her constant requests!”

Keep Praying

Say: Jesus helped his friends learn a lesson from the story of the judge. Even the judge who didn’t care about God or people gave a fair decision in the end. Won’t God do the same for the people he loves and has chosen? Then Jesus said, “I tell you, God will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?”

Set down the heavy bucket and ask:

  • How is God like or unlike the judge in this story?
  • Why might people give up on praying?

Say: When Jesus told this story, God’s people didn’t have a leader or king of their own. They didn’t feel like things were fair for them. Jesus wanted to remind them not to give up—that God still heard them and loved them just as much as ever. And today, God wants us to keep praying, no matter what.

Ask:

  • How did it feel to get rid of those rocks as I told the story?
  • How is that like the feeling you get when you pray about something?

Say: This story doesn’t mean God will do whatever we ask. God knows the bigger picture and sometimes his plans are different than what we’d like. But it does feel good to give our heartaches, sadness, frustration—those heavy things—to a God who listens to and cares for us. That’s why God wants us to keep praying, no matter what.

Home Again Prayer

Supplies:

  • large bucket of stones from previous activity

Guide kids in an experience to help them consider what they can talk with God about.

Form a circle. Hand each child four of the rocks from the bucket and set the bucket in the middle of the circle.

Say: Prayer is more than just us asking God for stuff. Let’s use these rocks to see what prayer can be.

Lead kids in the following experience. This will be a quiet, reflective time.

Pray: God, we love you so much. We praise you for being the mighty, powerful, gentle, loving God who made us. Thank you, God. Guide kids in placing one rock in the bucket.

Pray: God, you are so perfect, but we’re not. Lord, we sin—we all do wrong things sometimes. Please forgive us and show us how we can love you and love others. Guide kids in placing another rock in the bucket.

Pray: God, you’ve given us so much to be thankful for. Thank God aloud for a few things in your life that you’re thankful for and invite kids to silently thank God for specific things or people in their lives they’re thankful for. Thank you that you loved us enough to send your Son to earth. We love you, God. Direct kids to put a third rock into the bucket.

Pray: God, like the widow asked and asked about her needs, we have our own. Needs we feel deep in our hearts and questions we want to ask. Hear us as we silently tell you about our needs and ask our questions. Thank you for listening to us, God. Direct kids to put their last rock in the bucket.

Pray: In Jesus’ name, amen.

This free Bible lesson comes from Kids’ Travel Guide to the Parables. In this book, you’ll find Bible lessons that explore 13 parables to surprise, comfort, and challenge kids. You can find the whole Kids’ Travel Guide 7-book set here. For even more free Bible lessons, check out these posts!

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