To help the children understand that Jesus listens when they talk to him. He is happy to hear their prayers.
John 3:1-21. Jesus and Nicodemus.
You will need:
- A collection of objects that make some kind of a noise, eg a cup and saucer, an alarm clock, an egg timer (wind up kind), a hand bell, a radio, etc (try to include the radio or something else with words – a cassette player, a talking toy!)
- A deep box for your objects, with a hole made in one side, large enough for your hands to go through.
1. Start the assembly with a listening game.
- Ask the children to listen very carefully to the things in your box, ensuring that they cannot see over the top into the box.
- Put your hands into the back of the box through the hole. Make a noise with each object in turn.
- As the children guess the objects correctly take them out of the box. Leave your ‘speaking’ object until last. See if the children can actually make out some of the words being said.
2. Talk to the children about whether they are good or bad listeners. There are times when it is important to listen. Talk about what if feels like when people don’t listen to you properly at all.
THE SECRET VISITOR:
We read in the Bible about a time when a man came to Jesus wanting Jesus to listen to his questions and to answer them.
Tell the story of Nicodemus coming to Jesus by night (given below). Emphasise how much Nicodemus wanted to talk to Jesus and how willing Jesus was to listen.
Nicodemus was a teacher. He had heard a lot about Jesus, and wanted to talk to him. But he didn’t want people to see him – so he came after dark.
‘We know you’ve been sent by God,’ Nicodemus began. ‘No one could do the wonderful things you do without God’s help.’
Jesus knew the questions in Nicodemus’ mind.
‘You are a great teacher,’ Jesus said. ‘But you still have lessons to learn. You want to please God. But being good isn’t enough. You must be born all over again to enjoy God’s kingdom.’
‘What do you mean?’ Nicodemus asked.
‘You need a fresh start, a whole new life,’ Jesus answered, ‘the life I have come to bring. You see, God loves the world so much that he has sent his Son. Everyone who puts his trust in me can have this new kind of life.’
Outside it was dark. Inside the house, the lamp shone.
‘God’s light is shining in the world,’ Jesus said.
‘But people would rather live in the dark because the light shows up the wrong they do.’
(Story from ‘The Lion Children’s Bible’, retold by Pat Alexander. Used with permission.)
- Ask the children how Nicodemus must have felt as Jesus sat and listened to him.
- Remind them that Jesus still listens when we talk to him in our prayers. He is so wonderful, he knows what each person has said even if they say it at the same time. He listens wherever we are and always answers us.
Prayer is like a telephone, 448, Junior Praise