by Leanne Guenther
Sunday School Teacher's Guide - this is the third lesson in the series of Easter lessons. Use the Easter Bible Lesson Plan for further ideas to supplement this.
Jesus praying at Gethsemane is just part of the story. The Bible story also continues on when Peter disowns Jesus three times. I chose to focus on the praying, as this would be easier for young children. It might be worth mentioning that God does not always answer our prayers, but He listens and does what is best for us. When Jesus prayed He was not afraid of death itself, but dreading the weight of all of our sins on his shoulders. I've said this before, but it's worth mentioning again. When instructing young children, repetition is a positive thing. Everything is so new at this age that it is helpful to repeat important messages multiple times. The first lesson focused on the Triumphal Entry, then the Last Supper, this lesson focuses on Jesus praying, next will be Jesus dies on the Cross, Jesus is Alive, and concludes with Jesus loves me.
The message of Jesus dying on the cross to save us, and then raising from the dead is, like Christmas, very important, maybe even more so. The message is a life changing one, and gives us forgiveness and hope for a future with God. This would be a great time to talk to the children about knowing Christ personally, and asking Him to live inside them. Remember there is no 'special' prayer that has to be said but some important acknowledgments: God loves us, we are sinners and need forgiveness from God, and He needs to become central in our life. Sometimes diagrams work to illustrate the point to older children. There are booklets with more detail at any local Christian store, online, or just ask your pastor. Remember this is the most important decision - and prayer goes a long way!
Make sure you repeat the message many times during the lesson. Send the Jesus Prays Take Home Sheet or the Easter Bible readings chart home with the children to encourage parents to reiterate the message during the week. It includes a poster at the bottom that the children can color and hang on their wall or refrigerator.
Some people like to do craft time first and story time second and some like to switch it around. I like the first option, myself.
Always consider offering the Mini Book, Coloring Pages,or you could look at the Religious Printables Game or Easter Printables for children who aren't interested in participating in the group activity (or if you get done the group activities very quickly and need something to fill in the spare time). Everyone has a need for "alone time" once in awhile. Also, sending home the mini book or coloring pages with the Take Home sheet provides parents with much needed help in reinforcing the lessons. You can make a nice little booklet each week with the Take Home Sheet on top -- I promise that most parents will appreciate the effort!
Receive name tags. Have the children use crayons, markers, yarn and whatever other materials (such as sparkle glue) you have available to personalize their name tag.
Sing the Learning our Names song
|10 to 15 minutes||Praying hands name tags, scissors (or adults can precut), crayons, markers, yarn, safety pins or tape.|
Preschool thru Grade 1: Make the Jesus Craft. It may seem a tad odd making Jesus out of a toilet paper roll, but I think the end result is quite nice. It would be nice if adults could precut the pieces, and the children can do the gluing.
Grade 2 and 3: Make the Polish Wycinanki(the easy version). This will reinforce the lesson of the rooster crowing, and Peter realizing that he had disowned Jesus. If you would rather focus more on Jesus praying you could make a template yourself by tracing a hand, folding the paper in half and cutting the hand out, leaving the side with the thumb left uncut. When you open it up you have praying hands (you could add a cross and glue it underneath the hands.
|15 to 30 minutes
depending on your
Preschool thru Grade 1: Jesus Craft. toilet paper tube, a printer, paper, crayons, scissors, and glue.
Grade 2 and 3: Polish Wycinanki. printer, paper, scissors. OPTIONAL: colored paper to glue the finished product on.
Bible Story/Song Time:
All Grades: Sing Jesus Taught us how to Pray. It's to the tune of 'Jesus Loves Me'. It should be sung a few times so the children can remember it. As a class make up your own actions for the song (praying hands, stretch for 'morning', eating actions for 'noon', and rest head on hands for 'night-time', etc).
Preschool thru Grade 1: Read The Story of Jesus Praying (or read from your own store bought children's bible).
Grade 3: It's tough to know when it's the right time to start readings from the Bible, but if the children have been read a children's version of the story in the past, I believe this is a good age to introduce the King James (or your preferred) bible reading.
|10 minutes||The Mini
Book or Coloring
Pages can be distributed to the children so they are able to color at home, or
during the story. Or use a page for each lesson plan to have
the children color to form a book at the end of the life of Jesus. Print
the pages, staple them together in order and let the kids know when to
turn the page. The handouts can be taken home to color in.
All Grades: Everyone likes a snack that reinforces the lesson. An option would be to make or have prepared Praying Pretzels. Or buy regular pretzels explaining the story behind them. Pretzels were first made by monks who gave them as rewards to children who had learned their prayers. The special twisted shape looks like the folded arms of a child praying. The word pretzel means reward.
Preschool thru Grade 1: Discuss what it means to pray (talking to God), and how easy it is to talk to God anytime, anywhere, about anything. God can even hear our thoughts. Encourage them to start praying before they go to bed, when they get up in the morning, or anytime.
Grade 2 and 3: Discuss with the kids if they pray. What do they pray about? Is there anything that they don't talk to God about (because they can talk to God about anything). Should we keep praying if God doesn't answer our prayers? (yes!) Encourage the kids to not always 'ask' for things but thank God for all they have, and to ask for forgiveness when they pray.
Standard ending song: "We Love to Learn Together"
|5 to 15 minutes||Brainstorm Board (chalkboard, whiteboard, poster board,...)
Standard ending song: "We Love to Learn Together"
Printable version of this Teacher's Guide
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