Week 44 – What is baptism?

Question

What is baptism?

Answer

Baptism is the washing with water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Memory Verse:

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit… Matt 28:19

Main Idea:

Baptism is an outward sign of an inward reality-cleansing from sin.

Outline for lesson

Open in prayer  

Introduction: You will need a wedding ring.

Show the children the wedding ring and ask them what a wedding ring is a sign of. A wedding ring is a visible sign of promises made when someone is married.

Place the wedding ring on the ring finger of an unmarried person (make sure it will fit before the lesson). Ask the children if simply putting a ring on someone’s finger makes him or her married. Of course it doesn’t, because the ring is only a sign of what happens in the marriage ceremony. It’s not the ring that makes someone married.

Introduce the children to question 44: “What is baptism?” Explain to the children that this lesson will help them to think about the sacrament of baptism. Highlight for the children that baptism is one of the ordinances that Jesus instituted in his church. Explain that just like the wedding ring, baptism is a sign of something promised. It doesn’t actually save someone. But it is still an important outward sign of new birth and cleansing inside a person’s heart.

Activity: Cut out the four illustrations from Q44 What Do These Signs Mean? (RB)

– An FBI badge indicates someone is an FBI agent.

– A purple heart medal indicates that someone was wounded or killed in battle.

– A baby on board button indicates someone is pregnant.

– A skull and bones label indicates that something is poisonous.

Pass around the pictures and ask the children if they can identify what they mean. The pictures are all signs that reveal something about the owner of the sign (badge, medal, etc.). Invite the children to describe what each sign communicates about the owner.

Point out to the children that the FBI badge doesn’t make someone an FBI agent (otherwise everyone would be buying them on the internet!). The badge signifies that the person has trained very hard for many years to serve his or her country and he or she has the power of the United States government backing them.

Ask the children if receiving a military medal makes the owner a brave solider. No, it is because they have been courageous that they have been awarded the medal. The baby on board button doesn’t make someone pregnant. It is an outward sign revealing a very real inward physical reality.  Likewise, a poison label doesn’t make something poisonous. It’s simply put on the outside of a bottle or box to indicate what is inside.

Explain to the children that baptism is a sign. It says to the world that God is faithful to forgive the sins of those who put their trust in Jesus and live as God’s children for his glory. Be very sure to communicate to the children that the physical act of baptism doesn’t save anyone from anything.

Lesson: Read Matthew 28:16-20. Provide Bibles forthe children to read along.

Contextualize this passage for the children by informing them that it comes right at the end of Matthew’s Gospel. This event happened after Jesus had been crucified and before he ascended back into heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father. Explain to the children that this is the moment that Jesus ordains baptism as a sign for all believers. Up until this point in the Bible, various people had been baptized, but now at this point in salvation history, Jesus commands that all those who trust in him for the forgiveness of sins should be baptized.

Explain to the children that the word baptize means to immerse, dip, or submerge, or more generally, cleanse; the word is used of someone coming under water and paints a picture of cleansing and new birth. Ask the children if they can identify with that experience, either from swimming in the sea or a pool or from standing in a refreshing rain or cleansing shower. Explain to the children that the water signifies dying to their old self and rising to new life in Christ.

Baptism simply symbolizes that a Christian is someone who is united with Christ, someone who has been made new by the Holy Spirit and has turned away from his or her old ways.

Highlight for the children that baptism is a sign with a message. It shows that righteousness is by faith alone, but water baptism doesn’t make someone a Christian. Remind the children that the only thing that can save a person from God’s righteous anger and judgment is Jesus’s substitutionary atonement on the cross, received by faith.

Ask the children if they noticed how Jesus said people should be baptized. It is in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—the three members of the Trinity. Explain to the children that being baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is important because it shows the role and work of all of the members of the Trinity in the life of the believer.

Being baptized is a sign that shows the world that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. In salvation, a person’s sins are forgiven, and he or she becomes a member of God’s family.

Show the children from the passage that the call for all Christians is to go out to the ends of the earth, proclaiming the good news of Jesus and baptizing people in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God calls his church to go out and make disciples; this is a command for every one of us!

Recite: Finish by helping the children commit Question 43 and the answer to memory.

Week 43 – What are the sacraments or ordinances?

Question

What are the sacraments or ordinances?

Answer

Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

Memory Verse:

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Rom 6:4

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” Luke 22:19-20

Main Idea:

The sacraments were established by God, for His church, to be a spiritual help to believers.  

Outline for lesson

Open in prayer  

Introduction: Introduce question 43: “What are the sacraments or ordinances?” Explain to the children that these big words describe things that are done in the church, among the gathered people of God. Tell them that some churches use the word sacrament, some use the word ordinance, and explain which one your church uses. 

The sacraments are baptism and the Lord’s Supper. God has given these sacraments to his people to encourage and strengthen them. Explain to the children that the sacraments do not give anyone faith; they are outward signs that someone is a part of God’s family.

Activity: This will be a dramatic reading. Choose one person to be John the Baptist, one person to be Jesus, one person to be the voice of God the Father, one person to be Matthew, and one person to be Luke. 

Pass out Bibles to all the children. Ask them to turn first to Matthew 3:13-17. John should read John’s line. Jesus should read what is attributed to Jesus. Tell the person who reading the voice of God to hide out of site, but not out of earshot. Matthew should read everything that isn’t in quotes. 

After this passage is finished, John may sit back down and the voice of God can come out of hiding. Ask Luke and Jesus to turn to Luke 22:14—20. Again, Luke will read everything that is not in quotes, and Jesus will read whatever Jesus speaks. If he is willing, Jesus should read his part lying down, propped on one arm, which was a common Middle Eastern way to eat.

When they finish, give a round of applause.

Lesson: Read Matthew 28:16—20 and Luke 22:14-23. Provide Bibles for the children to read along.

Explain that an “ordinance” is a rule or command. Tell the children that lots of organizations have ordinances. Illustrate this point by explaining that a Girl Scout observes the ordinances or rules of the Scouts when she joins by pledging her allegiance to God and her country. Ask the children if they can think of any other groups that have ordinances.

Ask the children: Who commanded the church to baptize and celebrate the Lord’s Supper? In other words, who established the ordinances of the church? It was Jesus! He commanded his church to go and baptize, and he also commanded his people to celebrate the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of him. Highlight for the children that the sacraments are not human creations, but were instituted by Jesus for the church. 

Remind the children that the sacraments are intended to be for those who have faith; they will not give faith. 

Ask the children why they think Jesus instituted the sacraments. Was it to keep Christians busy? Or to make sure they’re clean? 

Tell the children that God knew his people would sometimes struggle to continue to trust in his promises and remember all that he achieved in Christ. God in his kindness established regular ways by which Christians can have their faith in Jesus strengthened during gathered worship. 

Explain to the children that the sacraments are not just about remembering. Because they are the Word of God in visible forms, the Holy Spirit works through them to cultivate faith and encourage glad obedience. ‘The sacraments help people grow in their confidence and trust in God. Explain to the children that the sacraments are two of the ways God, through the Holy Spirit, sanctifies his people. 

Ask the children to think about the different senses involved when experiencing baptism or the Lord’s Supper. There are words spoken, there are visible signs, there’s bread and wine to taste, and there is the washing of water to feel. Ask the children if they think it is significant that the sacraments involve so many senses. God understands that the meaning of the sacraments can more easily be understood when apprehended through various senses.

Tell the children that, as we will learn in future lessons, the sacraments are signs pointing to Christ’s death and resurrection on our behalf. We must always look beyond the sign to the thing it is pointing to. If you got excited about baptism and the Lord’s Supper but never realized that Christ died for your sins, the signs of the sacraments will have been of no use to you. 

Recite: Finish by helping the children commit Question 43 and the answer to memory.

Week 42 – How is the Word of God to be read and heard?

Question

How is the Word of God to be read and heard?

Answer

With diligence, preparation, and prayer; so that we may accept it with faith, store it in our hearts, and practice it in our lives.

Memory Verse:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Tim 3:16-17

Main Idea:

The Word of God should be read and heard prayerfully and with reverence and humility.

Outline for lesson

Open in prayer  

Introduction: Explain to the children that before we get into today’s Bible lesson, they will need to do some imagining. Ask them to pretend that they are the citizens of a small kingdom. Their land is in the middle of a famine, but their king has been wisely storing food for years so that, should a famine come, his people will not starve. However, he has only enough food to feed his own people.

Tell the children that word reaches your city that other kingdoms are plotting to steal your kingdom’s food. For this reason, the king has stored the food in a secret location outside the city walls, far away. He knows that when the other kingdoms attack, he may be killed, so he calls his citizens into his throne room.

“Listen carefully,” he says. “We are about to face a great battle. I don’t know which of us will survive the attack on our city. 1 am going to tell you where I have hidden our food. Without that food, you will not survive the famine. But it is hidden far away. If you do not listen carefully and follow every word of my directions, you will never find it.” 

Ask the children: What kind of listeners would those citizens be? Do you think they would be distracted? Would they be thinking about other things? Would they talk to each other while the king was talking?

Confirm to the children that when you know someone is telling you a message of life-or-death  importance, you will listen attentively. God has spoken to us in his Word, and his message is the most important that there ever has been. We should listen with as much attentiveness and respect as those citizens would have listened to their king! 

Activity: Divide the children into small groups. Invite the children to come up with a movie trailer for a film about the Bible. Tell them that the trailer should tell the audience a bit about the story of the Bible (but not the ending!) and also all the many reasons why people should be interested in the Bible. After a little while, invite each of the groups to act out their movie trailers while you film them on a smartphone. 

Lesson: Remind the children that God speaks. God has caused his words to be written down by human writers so that people can know everything necessary for life and salvation. Try to encourage the children to grasp the magnitude of the truth that God revealed himself in his Word. He  is not an unknown  deity, nor is he some thoroughly mysterious being. God delights in making himself known, and he longs to be known.  

Explain to the children that the Bible is the most important book ever written because it is God’s primary way of communicating with humanity. God still speaks through his Word to his world today. 

Ask the children to consider whether they think they should listen to the Bible in the same way as every other book. Ask the children if they think that any preparation is needed before reading the Bible. 

We need to think carefully about how we read and hear the Word of God.

Explain that Paul’s letter to Timothy will help the group think about how to approach God’s Word.

Read 2 Timothy 3:10-17. Provide Bibles for the children to read along.

Explain to the children that as they prepare to read the Bible, they must realize that they are about to hear from the living God and they need to be ready to listen to his Word. 

Explain to the children that in this section of 2 Timothy, Paul is encouraging Timothy to be different from the world, to stand for what he believes in the face of doubters and critics. Paul is encouraging Timothy to have confidence in the truth he has come to believe, which he observed in Paul’s life and

encountered in God’s Word. 

Paul tells Timothy that all Scripture is God-breathed, fully inspired by God. He identifies God as the origin of Scripture. But he also describes the purpose of Scripture: it is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” Tell the children that the Bible is God’s means of bringing Christians to maturity. 

Remind the children that when someone becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit comes to live in him or her. When a Christian reads the Bible, the Holy Spirit applies it to his or her life. So every time Christians read the Bible, they are hearing God’s Word. We must determine to listen well and allow the Holy Spirit to work in our life. 

Ask the children to give some examples of what they think “teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness” means. 

Ask them where they will encounter God’s Word in their lives each week. 

Ask them how and why they should prepare to listen to God’s Word.

These are some of the attitudes we adopt as we come to God’s Word:

Prayerful

 Thanking God that he speaks

 Rejoicing that he has given his Holy Spirit to apply the Word

 Asking that God would teach, reprove, correct, and train us 

Reverent

 Remembering that it is God who speaks through Scripture

Humble

 Expecting God to work and sanctify

 Thanking God that he wants to change and mature his people 

Help the children to understand that we should be eager to meet God in his Word, and in order to do that, we must approach reading the Bible respectfully. We should prepare to hear God’s Word. We should pray before we hear God’s Word, and we should seek to listen carefully to what God is saying to us by his Spirit. 

God longs to see his people transformed as they seek to glorify him. When we have listened well to God’s Word, we will respond in how we live.

Recite: Finish the teaching time by helping the children commit Question 42 and the answer to memory.

Week 41 – What is the Lord’s Prayer?

Question

What is the Lord’s Prayer?

Answer

Matt 6:9-13

Memory Verse:

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. . . .” Matt 6:9

Main Idea:

Jesus gave all believers a model of prayer when He taught His disciples the Lord’s Prayer

Outline for lesson

Open in prayer  

Introduction: Show the children Q41 Illustrations of Learned Skills (RB). Ask them to identify what each person is doing. (Skiing, skydiving, playing the cello, fencing, driving a car.) Tell the children that these are all things that are fun to learn how to do. How would a person go about learning to do one of these things?

Help them to realize that to learn any of these skills, you would need a teacher.

Explain to the children that many things in life need to be taught. The Christian life is all about teaching and learning; we need to be taught to learn and grow as Christians.  Introduce Question 41: “What is the Lord’s Prayer?” and explain that it allows us to see Jesus teaching his friends how to pray. They said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray,” and Jesus used the prayer that we now know as the Lord’s Prayer as a model for them.

Activity: Pass out the prayer notebooks. Ask the children to write a prayer inspired by the model of the Lord’s Prayer. It should include words of praise, requests about God’s work in the world, requests for your needs, a request for forgiveness, and a request for help. ‘They can make their prayers more specific than the Lord’s Prayer. For example, they can list out more needs than just bread. They can also ask forgiveness for specific sins. Assure them that this is meant for God’s eyes alone.

Lesson: Print a copy of Matthew 6:9-13 for each child in the group. Have lots of markers available.

Tell the children that the Gospels record much about Jesus’s life and ministry. Explain to them that chapter 6 is part of a long sermon (called the Sermon on the Mount) from Jesus. Tell the children this lesson will focus on the part of the sermon that addresses the practice of prayer.

Jesus reminds those listening to his sermon that prayer is about a personal relationship with God. Remind the children that our attitude matters! Tell them that what we know about God—that he is a loving, all-powerful Father—should affect the way we approach him in prayer. 

Pass out the copies of Matthew 6:9-13. 

Explain that Jesus taught his disciples how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13, and this prayer should now be used as a pattern of prayer for each believer.  Have the children read the Lord’s Prayer and ask them to do the following things on their paper: 

= Circle the part of the prayer where Jesus addresses God.

= Put a squiggly line under the part where Jesus praises God the Father.

= Underline every request Jesus makes for himself and his disciples. 

Ask the children some questions to help them see what Jesus is teaching us about prayer.

1. Based on the way Jesus prays, how should we address God in prayer?

Jesus teaches us to address our prayers to God the Father. Christians have been adopted into God’s family and therefore can call him Father. The more we get to know him as Father, the easier it will be to pray!

2. What does Jesus mean when he prays that God’s will would be done?

Jesus is asking that many people would become Christians and love God with their whole hearts, and that they would act in accord with his Word.

3. Why does Jesus ask for God’s name to be hallowed?

This is a way of praising God and saying he should be respected and worshiped above anyone else.

4, Why does Jesus pray for daily bread?

He encourages us to pray for our essential daily needs. This helps us to remember that every good gift is from God. Without him, we wouldn’t even have food!

5. What does this model prayer teach us about forgiveness?

If we are seeking God’s forgiveness, we must forgive those who have wronged us.

6. Why does Jesus pray that we will not be led into temptation?

Because of our sinful nature, we are easily led astray by sin. We need God’s help to recognize temptation and run from it.

Recite: Finish the teaching time by helping the children commit Question 41 and the answer to memory.

Week 40 – What should we pray?

Question

What should we pray?

Answer

The whole Word of God directs and inspires us in what we should pray

Memory Verse:

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. (Eph. 3:14-11)

Main Idea:

The prayers of God’s people should develop in response to God’s Word.

Outline for lesson

Open in prayer  

Introduction: Introduction to Question 40 Give each child a copy of Q40 God Speaks to Me (RB). 

Introduce Question 40: “What should we pray?” Remind the children that Christians are in a relationship with God, and because of Jesus’s death and resurrection, they can come directly to God in prayer. Highlight for the children that prayer is having a conversation with God. The more Christians know and understand God, the easier it will be to know what to pray.

Explain to the children that good conversations go two ways. When we converse with God, he speaks through his Word, and we respond in prayer. 

Tell the children that God has already started the conversation with us by speaking to us in his Word. The Bible verses on the page are all things God has said to them.

Activity: Ask the children to line up side by side and put their arms around each other’s backs. They will need this support to keep their balance.

Tell the children that people often pray in ways that go against what the Bible teaches instead of what the Bible commands. Tell them that you are going to read out some prayers. If the prayer you pray agrees with what the Bible teaches, then they should stand on their right foot. If the prayer goes against something the Bible teaches, then they should stand on their left foot. Make sure everyone knows which is the left foot and which is the right. Practice a few times switching from the right to left foot while supporting one another. Then read out these sample prayers:

« Father, I know I won’t be happy unless I can have an American Girl doll, so please give me one. (L)

” Father, help me to be content with what I have. If it would be good for me, I would like a new bike. (R)

” Father, don’t let my mom find out that I stole money from her purse. (L)

” Father, forgive me for lying to my dad. Help me to have the courage to confess to him. (R)

” Father, I know you have the power to heal. Please heal my grandmother’s pneumonia. (R)

« Father, thank you that it is always your will to heal us. Thank you that if we believe you have healed us, we wont ever need medicine. (L)

” Father, I know you are too busy to be bothered. So I won’t ask for your help on the test I am about to take. (L)

« Father, I know that you love me and care about every detail of my life. Would you please send a friend to sit with me at lunch? (R)

« Father, my little sister has messed up my room for the fifth time this week. I know you can’t expect me to forgive her. (L)

« Father, help me to forgive my big brother for shouting at me. Help me to remember that because you have forgiven me, should forgive others. (R)

Lesson: Introduce the children once again to Paul. Paul was a man of prayer, and he recorded many of his prayers in the letters he wrote to God’s people. Explain to the children that they will begin to learn what to pray as they study Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14—21.

Ask the children to consider what they pray for most often (reassure them that you don’t expect them to answer out loud). Tell the children that a great way to find out what someone loves most is by examining what he or she prays.

Read Ephesians 3:14-21. Provide Bibles for the children to read along with you.

Explain to the children that just before Paul prays this prayer in Ephesians 3, he clearly explained God’s purpose in his world. That purpose is to draw together a people for himself through Jesus Christ. That’s why Paul says, “For this reason’ at the beginning of his prayer (v. 13). Because Paul clearly understood God’s will, he fell to his knees in prayer for the Ephesian Christians. 

Ask the children how they might more clearly understand God’s purposes for his world and his people. A right understanding of God’s will for his world will fiercely fuel prayer. Help the children to realize that it is through reading God’s Word that we understand God’s character and mission.

Paul prays that God would help the Ephesian Christians grow in their Christian life, that they would become mature believers. He prays that Jesus would be allowed to rule the hearts of the believers and that he would strengthen them for a lifetime in God’s service. It is worth noting to the children that Paul prays to the Father, for the power of the Spirit, and for the sake of the Son.

Paul also prays that the Christians would know the great love that Jesus has for them. Paul wants the Ephesians to know the love of Jesus deep, deep down in their hearts—not just in their heads. And Paul is asking for God’s power to help believers understand how wide and long and high and deep the love of Jesus is, because without God’s help understanding is limited.

Paul approached God fully trusting that he would hear and answer his prayers (which is the kind of attitude last week’s lesson addressed).

Ask the children what this passage teaches us about the content of our prayers.

Recite: Finish the teaching time by helping the children commit Question 40 and the answer to memory.

Week 39 – With what attitude should we pray?

Question

With what attitude should we pray?

Answer

With love, perseverance, and gratefulness.

Memory Verse:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

Main Idea:

When we pray, our attitude matters.

Outline for lesson

Open in prayer  

Introduction: Collect some pictures of world leaders and people you know the children will admire.

Introduce Question 39: “With what attitude should we pray?” by explaining to the children what the word attitude means. Help them to understand that it is a response to knowledge about an idea, person, or situation that can affect behavior.  

Show the children some pictures of famous people and ask them to describe what attitude they might have if they were to meet them. For example, if they met the Queen of England, would they have a humble or sincere attitude? If they encountered a famous sports personality, would they have an enthusiastic attitude? If they met someone who had been in an accident, would they have a sympathetic attitude? 

Ask the children what kinds of attitudes they express

 To their teachers in school

 To their siblings

 To the school principal

 To an old person

Remind the children that Question 39 is “With what attitude should we pray?” Highlight that this lesson will help them consider how they approach God and what their heart response to God is when they come to him in prayer.

Activity: Give each child an Emoticon Template (RB) along with crayons (make sure you have plenty of yellow) and markers.

Have the children design their own emoticons showing four different attitudes. Encourage them to show the rest of the group their emoticons and let the others guess what attitude each one represents.

Ask the children what sort of attitude they usually have when they pray. Are they bored? Hopeful? Silly? Distracted?

Lesson: Explain to the children that what we know about people affects our attitude around them. God has revealed himself to us in his Word, and what we know about him should determine our attitude when we talk to him.

Read Philippians 4:4-9. Provide Bibles for the children to read along with you.

Explain to the children that Philippians is found in the New Testament and that Paul wrote to Christians in Philippi. Explain to the children that Paul wrote this letter while he was in prison enduring difficult circumstances.

Ask the children if they would be able to write words like Paul’s if they were in prison.

Explain to the children that these few verses will teach a lot about God and how to approach him in prayer.  In verse 4 Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” Explain to the children that Paul is encouraging Christians to find joy in the Lord. This is because he is a trustworthy, sovereign, and good God who loves his people and saves them from judgment, death, and hell through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus. Despite the fact that Paul is in prison, he is able to say “Rejoice!” not because his life or circumstances are good, but because he fully places his trust in God. Encourage the children to look at the second part of verse 5 and to realize that God is near to his people. He is not a far-off distant deity, but he is near, intimately and lovingly involved in the lives of his children. Help the children to see how amazing it is that the Creator of the universe wants to know his creatures and longs for a relationship with them. 

In verse 6 Paul encourages Christians to bring their prayerful requests to God. Explain to the children that this should encourage them to recognize that God loves to hear and answer his people’s prayers: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Ask the children if they can imagine living a life without ever worrying about anything. You might want to ask them what kind of things they worry about. Paul knows firsthand that life can be difficult, and yet he says that we can bring our worry and anxiety directly to God. ‘Things might still feel scary, and we might want to give in to worry, but God wants us to let him take care of the things that make us anxious. Paul is encouraging Christians to trust God in each and every situation, from the really tricky ones to the everyday occurrences. The passage encourages Christians to be frequent and persistent in prayer. The way to fight off our anxiety is to pray about everything and ask God to replace worry with his peace.

Ask the children if they noticed the attitude Paul is encouraging Christians to have in bringing their prayers and petitions to God.

Christians are to have an attitude of thanksgiving in their relationship with God. Christians should have hearts that are thankful that God saves, that God is in control, that God is near, and that God hears and answers the prayers of his people. What does Paul say will happen as we pray and trust God? Ask the children to read verse 7 aloud with you: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Explain to the children that as Christians learn to pray and understand God’s will, they will be able to know peace, because they are confident that God is in control and that he is working for their good and his glory.

Recite: Finish the teaching time by helping the children commit Question 39 and the answer to memory.

Week 38 – What is prayer?

Question

What is prayer?

Answer

Prayer is pouring out our hearts to God.

Memory Verse:

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:8

Main Idea:

Prayer is talking to God in response to his Word.  

Outline for lesson

Introduction:  Using the Q38 Question Mark (RB), cut out a question mark for each child. 

Explain that the focus of the lesson is the question “What is prayer?” As part of the introduction to the question, ask the children to write any questions they may have about prayer on the question marks. Stick the question marks up somewhere clearly visible. Assure them that you’ll engage with their thoughts and questions throughout the next few weeks. 

Follow by asking them to think about these questions: 

How did how they get to know their friends and build relationships with them? 

How do they usually communicate with their parents? 

Explain that the way people build relationships is by talking to one another. Tell them that God longs to have a relationship with his people and so he has enabled us to talk to him through prayer. God is not distant or uninvolved in his world or with his people. He is very present and is always listening to the prayers of his people. 

Tell them that prayer is simply talking to God. Explain that when we pray, we give God his rightful place in our lives. We acknowledge gratefully that he gives and sustains life, and we trust him in all circumstances. In the same way that we build relationships with friends and family through talking, our relationship with God will grow and mature as we spend time talking to him. 

Activity:  Give each child a turn. Whisper in his or her ear one of the types of communication listed below. They should use motions but no speech to act out the word. When one word is guessed, let another child come up and act out the next word on the list. 

Talking 

Letter 

Email 

Phone call 

Text message 

Facebook 

Skype 

Facetime 

Message in a bottle 

Explain that we have many types of communication in the world today; the game included just a small selection. Remind them that God loves to communicate with his people through the Bible and prayer. God speaks to his people through his Word and then invites us to speak in response to him in prayer.

Lesson:  Begin the teaching time by asking for God’s help. Ask that the lesson would be taught faithfully and that the children might listen well. 

Explain that prayer is an essential part of the Christian life. Yet sometimes Christians don’t know how to pray in any way other than bringing lists of wants and needs to God. Ask them whether they ask their parents for things they need. Of course, they do! But is that the only thing they ever talk about with their parents? Do they ever tell their parents that they love them or share the interesting things going on in their lives? A good relationship includes many different kinds of communication. 

Tell them that prayer is talking to God, our heavenly Father, in response to his Word. 

Read Psalm 62. Invite the children to join you in reading aloud. Provide Bibles for the children. 

Explain that this psalm was written by a man named David, who was king in Israel. It is found in the book of Psalms in the Old Testament. Tell them that in this psalm, David encourages his hearers to pray, and in verse 8 he describes prayer by saying, “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” In this psalm, David encourages God’s people to pour out their hearts to the Lord. 

Ask what they think pouring out their heart would look like. 

Tell them it is telling God everything about our lives and what we are thinking and feeling. Ask if this kind of prayer would be easy or hard, and have them elaborate on why they think so.

David isn’t encouraging God’s people to pour out their hearts to just anyone, but to a most amazing God! Have the children search Psalm 62 to identify the different ways David describes God. (A rock, a fortress, a refuge, and the One who saves.) 

Tell them that David builds a picture of a great God who is the completely reliable and trustworthy Creator, in contrast with created people and things (vv. 4 and 10), both of which will disappoint and fail. God longs for honest and regular communication with his children. Help them to consider what talking with such a trustworthy God is like. Does it mean they can talk to him at any time and in any place? Does it mean they can tell him anything and everything? This psalm shows David trusting fully in God, and therefore relying fully on his strength. 

Tell them that the way we live is often different from the picture David paints for us. Explain that people rely on themselves, doing things in their own strength, until they can’t do it on their own anymore, and only then they turn to God. David says that if he relies on his own strength, he will be as easy to knock down as a badly built wall, but when he is relying fully on God he will not be shaken. The kind of relationship David has with God brings him rest; he doesn’t have to worry about anything. 

Remind them that prayer is gratefully recognizing that God is God, that he is in control, and that he is completely trustworthy. It is responding to all that we know of and learn about God in his Word, the Bible. When we pray this way, we demonstrate that we trust God to take care of our lives. This is a vital part of a life of faith. 

Recite:  Help children memorize this week’s verse, question and answer.

Week 37 – How does the Holy Spirit help us?

Question

How does the Holy Spirit help us?

Answer

The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, and he enables us to pray and to understand God’s Word.

Memory Verse:

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. Ephesians 6:17–18

Main Idea:

God the Holy Spirit is at work in hIs people

Outline for lesson

Introduction:  You will need a whiteboard divided into three sections. Section 1 should have “The Role of a Teacher” written at the top; section 2 should have “The Role of a Parent” written at the top; and section 3 should have “The Role of a Soccer Coach” written at the top. Write the following on individual slips of paper: 

Teaching children to read

Organizing school events 

Teaching children how to behave in the classroom 

Planning lessons 

Training players 

Developing new ball skills 

Teaching team members how to be good sports

Giving pointers on how to score

Planning match tactics 

Providing pregame nutritional advice

Doing the laundry 

Cooking meals 

Teaching children to obey

Comforting children when they have a bad dream 

Keeping the family safe 

Lay out the fifteen different pieces of paper and invite the children to stick them on the whiteboard (using Sticky Tack) in one of the three sections. Encourage the children to consider which action is consistent with the role of a parent, teacher, or soccer coach. The aim of this activity is to help the children understand the role and responsibilities that come with a job title. Introduce Question 37: “How does the Holy Spirit help us?”

Explain to the children that this lesson will help them understand more about the role of God the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian.

Activity:  The Bible references below speak of the role of the Holy Spirit. Stick the Bible references up around the room. Do not include the job titles. 

John 14:16 (helper) 

John 14:27 (giver of peace) 

John 15:26 (helper and teacher) 

John 16:7-8 (helper and convictor of sin) 

John 16:13 (teacher of truth)

Romans 8:11 (giver of life) 

Romans 8:26 (helper in prayer) 

Divide the children into small groups and assign each group one or two verses. Give each group a Bible. Tell the children that they need to figure out the role or job description for the Holy Spirit by looking up their Bible verses and figuring out what they say about the role of the Holy Spirit. Once the children have had sufficient time to investigate their verses, ask them to share what they’ve discovered about the Holy Spirit.Write a job description list for the Holy Spirit on the whiteboard. Ask the children if anything surprised them or confused them. Assure them that the teaching time will bring more clarity.

Lesson:  Have Q37 illustrations of Roman Armor (RB) ready. 

Begin the teaching time by asking for God’s help. Ask that the lesson would be taught faithfully and that the children might listen well. 

Remind the children that God the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity and that he has a vital role in bringing people to faith in God and also in helping God’s people to live for him in the world. The Holy Spirit indwells Christian believers the moment they put their trust in Jesus, and from that time onward he is at work in Christians, helping them to understand more about Jesus and to become more like Jesus. Highlight for the children all the different things detailed on the Holy Spirit’s job description (which they listed when they looked up the Bible references) to emphasize how significant he is for Christians. Particularly remind the children that the Holy Spirit convicts people of their sin, helps Christians to pray, and helps them understand the Bible. 

Read Ephesians 6:10—20. Provide Bibles for the children to read along. Hold up the illustrations of Roman armor while you read. 

Explain to the children that Paul is writing to the Christians in Ephesus and is preparing them to contend for Jesus in the world. He uses the imagery of Roman armor to help them understand how to equip themselves for war against the Devil, who works to keep people away from Jesus. Paul writes about putting on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, the shield of faith, and the helmet of salvation. Paul also speaks about taking up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; this is the only weapon Paul identifies as necessary for facing the battle.

 Ask the children what a sword is capable of. It can do real damage; it can pierce and wound and even kill. Ask the children what they think Paul is saying by describing the Bible as the sword of the Spirit. 

Explain to the children that God describes his Word as a sword (Heb. 4:12). God also declares that his Word was written down by men inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:20—21). So, the sword of the Spirit comes from God. 

God’s Word protects Christians from spiritual attack as they study it and believe God’s promises. It cuts away the truth from the lies told by the world. 

Paul also commands the Ephesian Christians to pray in the Spirit. This is a great reminder that the Holy Spirit is an essential component of a Christian’s prayer life. Explain to the children that to pray in the Spirit means to pray in a way that is consistent with God’s Word. Ask the children to think of ways people might pray that are not consistent with God’s Word. Ask them to give examples of ways to pray in line with God’s Word. Remind the children that the Holy Spirit lives in each Christian and that he also prays for each Christian (Rom. 8:26). 

Explain to the children that God knew his people would struggle with prayer, so he didn’t leave his people without help. He sent the Holy Spirit to teach, encourage, and expose the hearts and minds of Christians. He leads, instructs, and inspires the prayers of Christians. 

Recite:  Help children memorize this week’s verse, question and answer.

Week 36 – What do we believe about the Holy Spirit?

Question

What do we believe about the Holy Spirit?

Answer

That he is God, coeternal with the Father and the Son

Memory Verse:

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:16–17

Main Idea:

The Holy Spirit is God, and He is an eternal member of the Trinity.

Outline for lesson

  1. Open in prayer: Gracious God, thank you that you call us to become citizens of heaven. Thank you that I can confidently know that my home is in heaven with you and that I have been chosen to be your precious possession, holy and set apart for your glory. Help me to live a fruitful life of gratitude to you. May my life bear great witness to you. Grant understanding to the children who will hear this lesson. May they clearly understand that salvation is by grace through faith and that the right response to you is a thankful heart. In Jesus’s name. Amen.
  2. Introduction: Ask the children what it means to help someone. Invite them to name members of the helping professions. They will most likely think of: 
    Doctor     Nurse     Firefighter     Police Officer     Paramedic     Teacher     Soldier 

    Explain to the children that this lesson is all about the special helper that God sends to his people in his world. God knew that his people would always need his help, and so he promised to be with them to the end of the age. Introduce Question  36: “What do we believe about the Holy Spirit?” 

    Remind the children that Question 3 of the catechism teaches that there are three persons in one God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Tell the children that this question will help them to learn more about God the Holy Spirit, who is the promised helper.
  3. Activity:  Explain to the children that you are going to make some statements about the Holy Spirit and they must decide whether the statement is true or false. Instruct the children to go to the left-hand side of the room if they think the statement is true and the right-hand side of the room if they think the statement is false. Tell the children they can stand in the middle of the room if they are unsure of the answer. 

    1. The Holy Spirit first appears in the New Testament. 
    False The Holy Spirit is coeternal with God and was present at the creation of the world (Gen. 1:1).

    2. The Holy Spirit is a person.
    True The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. 

    3. The Holy Spirit lives in all people.
    False The Holy Spirit dwells in those who have been born again (Rom. 8:9—10). 

    4. The Holy Spirit first appeared on the day of Pentecost. 
    False Holy Spirit came upon believers on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2: 1—13), but he has existed eternally and been active throughout history (1 Sam. 16:13). 

    5. Holy Spirit is the promised helper.
    True Jesus promised to send someone in his place when he ascended into heaven (John 14: Holy Spirit is that promised helper. 

    6. The Holy Spirit is equal to the Father and the Son in the Trinity. 
    True Yes, the Holy Spirit is equal to the Father and the Son in the Trinity. The Trinity is made up of three equal persons in one God. 

    7. The Holy Spirit loves the Father and the Son. 
    True The members of the Godhead have always existed in a loving relationship (1 John 4:16). 

    To conclude this activity, ask the children to finish these statements: 
    The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is ? (Answer: God) 
    The Son is not the Father, the Father is not the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is not the? (Answer: Son or Father)
  4. Lesson:  Read John 14:15—31. Provide Bibles for the children to read along. 
    Explain to the children that in this passage in John, Jesus is speaking to his disciples. He is explaining that one day he will have to leave them, but he promises that he will send someone else to be with them. Jesus describes the One who will come as another helper, a person like Jesus. 

    In verse 17, Jesus makes it clear who this helper will be; he calls him the Spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit is the promised helper. Tell the children that sometimes people think the Holy Spirit is just a life force or strange power, but in the Bible, the Holy Spirit is always portrayed as a person. That means he has a will and he acts. Even more, the Holy Spirit is described as God (Acts 5:3—4). 

    The disciples were very sad at the thought of Jesus leaving them, but he reassured them that they would never be alone in life because of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. And they would one day be in Jesus’s presence again. 

    Highlight for the children that this is a most amazing gift to Christians! The Holy Spirit lives in them at Jesus’s request. The people in the helping professions assist others only on occasions of need, but the Holy Spirit is with God’s people all the time to help because he lives in them! 

    Ask the children how significant they think the presence of the Holy Spirit is in the life of the Christian. Explain that there is no similar idea in any other religion. The fact that God the Holy Spirit lives in Christians is truly unique. 

    God the Holy Spirit comes to live in Christians to help them learn more about Jesus and understand more about Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the teacher of truth (v. 26) and he is a bringer of peace (v. 27). 

    Conclude this teaching time by explaining to the children that the Holy Spirit:
    is personal 
    is God 
    is a gift for Christians, but the rest of the world cannot see or understand him 
    reveals more of Jesus to God’s people

Recite: Help children memorize this week’s verse, question and answer.

Week 35 – Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through faith alone, where does this faith come from?

Question

Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through faith alone, where does this faith come from?

Answer

From the Holy Spirit.

Memory Verse:

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior. Titus 3:4-6

Main Idea:

Outline for lesson

  1. Open in prayer: Gracious God, thank you that you call us to become citizens of heaven. Thank you that I can confidently know that my home is in heaven with you and that I have been chosen to be your precious possession, holy and set apart for your glory. Help me to live a fruitful life of gratitude to you. May my life bear great witness to you. Grant understanding to the children who will hear this lesson. May they clearly understand that salvation is by grace through faith and that the right response to you is a thankful heart. In Jesus’s name. Amen.
  2. Introduction: You will need to place the letters. spelling FAITH, in the box and wrap the box in the wrapping Paper. Secure the gift tag to the outside of the box.
    Explain that you have a gift in the box. Invite them to guess what’s in the box! Ask them if they’d like you to open the box. Once the box is opened, pull out the letters in the wrong order, and ask if they can figure out what they spell. Read out the gift tag for the children; it should say “To: New Christian, From: The Holy Spirit.” Explain that faith is a free gift from the Holy Spirit, and it is given to every new Christian. Ask if they noticed anything about the wrapping paper. Tell the children that a new Christian is described as someone who has been born again and the Holy Spirit is the one who gives the gift of faith.

    Introduce the children to Question 35: “Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through faith alone, where does this faith come from?” Explain to the children that this question will help them to understand a little more about the free gift of faith that comes from the Holy Spirit.
  3. Activity: You will need a copy of the Q35 What We Were Word Search (RB)for each child. The children will need to find the following words: astray disobedient envy foolish hated hating malice slaves

    Once the children have found the words in the word search, explain to them that these words are used by Paul in today’s Bible passage to describe all those who are not Christians. Ask them what they think of the words. Ask them whether they think these kinds of people deserve to be saved from God’s judgment, anger, and punishment. Emphasize to the children that no one deserves God’s free gift of faith, and no one can earn God’s free gift of faith. It is given graciously by the Holy Spirit.
  4. Lesson: Begin the teaching time by asking for God’s help. Ask that the lesson would be taught faithfully and that the children might listen well.
    Ask the children to describe one of the best gifts they’ve ever received. Ask them if the gift changed their lives forever.
    Ask the children to think about the occasions when they receive gifts, and ask them if they had to do anything to qualify for the birthday gift or Christmas gift. Gifts are freely given without reason and illustrate the greatest gift a person can ever receive. The gift of faith is the most significant gift ever, and it is life-changing!
    Read Titus 3:1—7. Provide Bibles for the children to read along.
    Explain to the children that Paul is trying to help Titus understand how to care for and teach the Christians in his congregation. In chapter 3, Paul asks Titus to remind the Christians about what they once were, before they were given faith by the Holy Spirit. He is encouraging Titus to help the Christians live joyful, godly, and obedient lives.
    Explain to the children that these verses clearly identify where faith comes from, and they contain a strong reminder that people cannot save themselves. Paul says that salvation comes from God the Savior. God in his great kindness and love reaches out to save those who are undeserving. Invite the children to look at verse 5 and ask them if they can identify what the Holy Spirit does.
    The Holy Spirit gives faith through:
    washing
    rebirth
    renewal
    Explain to the children that it is God the Holy Spirit who changes people’s hearts when they become Christians. In verse 7 Paul explains to Titus that Christians are justified by God’s grace; because of Jesus, Christians are declared not guilty by God. At the same time, the Holy Spirit washes away a Christian’s sin and makes him or her new.
    Encourage the children to think back to Question 25 : “Does Christ’s death mean all our sins can be forgiven?” The iodine/bleach illustration demonstrated the washing away of sin. Christians are born again and become members of God’s family. Remind the children of the box in wrapping paper and the fact that when the Holy Spirit gives the gift of faith, a new Christian is born into God’s family. Acknowledge to the children that this is a difficult thing to understand and that they will gain a deeper understanding as they get older. They just need to remember that the gift of faith comes through the Holy Spirit to those who are undeserving but greatly loved by God.
    Conclude the teaching time by helping the children commit Question 35 and the answer to memory.

Recite: Help children memorize this week’s verse, question and answer.