To show the children that prayer is answered.
Acts 12:1-11. Peter is set free from prison.
You will need:
• ‘Doors’ visual aid.
- Make the visual aid by photocopying the pictures on to A4 thin card or, if possible, enlarging them to A3 size.
- Cut the doors on illustrations 1-3 so they open. Then stick all the pictures on top of each other starting with the picture of Rhoda at the bottom, then the three doors in order of size so the largest door is on the top.
- Have all the doors closed to begin with, so you can open them one by one as you tell the story.
- You may like to colour the illustration.
- Begin by asking the children who helps them when they are lonely, frightened or worried?
- Do they talk to anyone about their fears?
- Ask the children to help you tell a story about some people who talked to God when they needed help.
- Whenever you say ‘pray, prayed, praying or prayer’ they are to say, ‘Hello Lord’.
- As you tell the story use the ‘Doors’ visual aid to show Peter’s escape, and allow the children time to join in the response ‘Hello Lord’ but not waiting for them if they get too caught up in the story!
Peter hung his head and tried to get some sleep. It wasn’t easy to sleep sitting between two soldiers with both hands chained. He knew his friends were praying (‘Hello Lord’) for him but what could God do now. Suddenly, just when Peter had managed to doze off, he felt someone shaking him. ‘Get up Peter. Fasten your belt, put your cloak and shoes on and follow me.’ There before him stood an angel! Peter thought he was dreaming!
Then another strange thing happened. As Peter followed the angel they walked straight past the soldiers on guard and the cell door just opened in front of them. (Open first door of visual aid.) Then the same thing happened as they reached the very outer door of the prison itself. (Open next door.) and Peter found himself out on the street. He looked round and the angel had disappeared!
Peter’s first thoughts were of his friends praying for him. (‘Hello Lord’) He set off into the darkness to find Mary’s house where they usually met. When he reached the house he knocked at the door and waited. Eventually a servant girl named Rhoda peered cautiously round the door, (Begin to open the last door of your visual aid.) ‘Who is it?’ she whispered. ‘It’s me, Peter, let me in,’ came the reply. ‘But Peter’s in prison, that’ why we’re all here praying for him,’ (‘Hello Lord’) said Rhoda. ‘But God’s answered your prayers (‘Hello Lord’). He sent an angel to help me escape,’ explained Peter.
‘That’s wonderful,’ said Rhoda, and before Peter could get inside she’d shut the door and run upstairs to tell everyone the news. Poor Peter had to go on knocking until someone actually believed Rhoda and she came downstairs again to let Peter in! (Open last door fully to reveal Rhoda.) Everyone listened carefully to Peter’s story and then they thanked God for answering their prayers (‘Hello Lord’) in such a wonderful way.
- Ask the children what they think Peter’s friends might have asked God to do for him.
- Sometimes God does far more than we can ever imagine, and answers our prayers in amazing ways.
- Sometimes God says ‘no’ to what we ask him for. We may not understand why; we have to trust that he knows what is best.
- One thing we can be sure about is that God always hears our prayers and answers them, even if the answer is ‘no’ or ‘not yet.’
After this story it may be appropriate to ask the children to think of something specific that they can ask God about – either for themselves or something that is topical locally or at national news level.
- Did you ever talk to God above?, 329, Junior Praise