Sing this song together with your kids. Enter full screen and follow the lyrics on the screen.
Teaching Notes on Luke 18:1-8, Parable of the Persistent Widow/Unjust Judge
The story of the persistent widow can be a little tricky for kids. Are we teaching kids to beg for things, or telling them that God will give them anything if they ask enough? What kind of lesson should be emphasized? The main element of this parable is that God loves us and wants to bless us with wonderful things. Not only that, but we are His children and should talk to Him at all times, whether asking for something or not. We can be assured that God hears our prayers and that He is a good father.
We pray without giving up.
"Pray continually" - 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV)
Choose ones that work best for your family or the amount of time you have.
"Don't crack up!" (PRE-K)
Have your family sit in a circle. Designate one person to be the “wise cracker” and go in the middle of the circle. Give that person a phrase to say, and have them walk around trying to make the others laugh. The first person to laugh goes in the middle of the circle and does the same thing. This can be done with one child as the “wise-cracker” and an adult providing a phrase. Also, good practice for younger kids in telling knock-knock jokes and short stories.
CONNECTION POINT: In our Bible lesson today, we're going to talk about a man who cracked under pressure and it was a good thing!
Have one person (older child or an adult) be the “Simon”. Everyone else are the actors. Simon will give simple commands. When giving the commands, he/she will simply state the command or will begin with saying “Simon says…”. Ex. “Stand up” vs. “Simon Says stand up”. The actors should only follow the commands that begin with “Simon Says”. If they follow other commands or do not follow Simon Says commands, they are out for that round. To make this more difficult, Simon can act out ALL commands, whether they start with Simon Says or not. Often the actor will begin to follow Simon’s actions rather than his commands.
CONNECTION POINT: Was it frustrating to get told what to do so much? In our Bible lesson today, we'll hear about a person who had power to tell people what they could or couldn't do, and he took it too far.
"DON'T GIVE UP"
(1) Hide a snack or craft in a tough-to find spot. (2) Give clues to help each child find each. (3) Eat the snack or work on the craft as you talk about how they kept trying to find it. Talk about how we can pray the same way, without giving up.
"MEMORY MAKER" (ELEMENTARY)
YOU’LL NEED Crayons • paper • cardboard • aluminum foil • paper towels
(Prepare Ahead Have enough pieces of paper, cardboard, and aluminum foil for everyone to have a piece of each.)
Say: Sometimes prayer is hard. Sometimes it seems as if God isn’t answering. But like the woman in Jesus’ story, we can keep trying and we pray without giving up.
1. SIT Have kids sit down, and give each child a Crayon and a paper towel.
Say: Let’s say the Key Verse, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray Continually."
After you say the verse together, give kids a chance to say it individually.
2. MARK Give everyone a piece of paper, and have kids each use a Crayon to make marks on their papers. Then have them try to wipe their papers clean with a paper towel. Next have kids make marks on a piece of cardboard and try to erase that. Finally, give kids the foil and have them try a third time. Let kids celebrate when they’re able to wipe off the crayon marks from the foil.
3. DISCUSS What made you want to keep trying or give up with this activity? • What’s something you try to do that’s really hard? • What can make talking to God hard sometimes?
4. MAKE THE CONNECTION
Say: Prayer is our way to talk with God. Even when we don’t know exactly what to say, we can keep praying. God hears and answers, so we pray without giving up.
"May I now?"
1. Play a game of Mother, May I? with your family by having everyone line up across the room from you. One at a time, they may ask to take a certain number of a type of step, such as giant steps, hops, normal steps, or baby steps.
2. Say no to the first 5 or 10 requests to move forward.
3. Say yes to some of the requests after several turns.
4. Play until someone reaches you; then switch roles.
5. Talk about what was frustrating in this game. Remind your child that the widow asked for help over and over, and we can pray like that, too.
Talk to students about prayer. What is prayer? Why should we pray, and how should we pray? And does God really listen every time we talk to Him? Kids may have varying ideas about what prayer is and means. Share with them this intriguing parable from Jesus about prayer.
Read together Luke 18:1-8. Tip: These can be fun to act out. Have students play the parts of “widow” and judge.”
Talk with kids about what is going on here. Does this story seem a little strange? The wicked judge refuses to give the widow what she needs…but after enough pestering, he relents. Does this mean we should just beg and plead for things we want until we get them? Not quite. Jesus is making a point using contrasts.
You might need to address for younger students what a contrast is: talk about opposites and how sometimes things show up more when there is something near them that is significantly different, like dark and light. The contrast here has to do with both characters, really…
Ask older students what they think the judge might represent or be contrasted with…He is (or rather, is not) God.
The judge was pretty much a bad guy, but even he gave the lady what she wanted eventually. God is not a bad guy at all. In fact, unlike the widow in the story (who the judge did not know), God knows us very well and loves us very much. So how much more will God give us the things that we need?
This story also reminds us to be diligent in prayer.
Note what this does NOT mean:
MAKE IT PERSONAL
Once there was a little boy who wanted more than anything to play in the band at school. The boy went home from school one day and asked his parents if they would buy him an instrument and let him sign up to play in the band. Well, the boy's parents didn't say yes, and they didn't say no. They said, "We'll have to think about it. After all, a musical instrument costs a lot of money and we aren't sure you will stick with it."
A few days went by and the boy's parents still hadn't said anything, so the boy decided he should ask again. The boy's parents didn't say yes and they didn't say no. They said, "We are still thinking about it."
On his way home from school the next day, the boy decided to stop by the local music store to check out the musical instruments. When he walked in the store, the first thing that caught his eye was a beautiful, shiny trumpet. It wasn't new, but it was in very good condition and it had a really cool fake alligator skin case. It was just what he wanted.
That night at supper the boy said to his parents, "I went by the music store today after school and they have a really nice used trumpet. It is exactly what I want and it only costs $100."
The boy's father turned to his wife and said, "I guess we had better go take a look at that trumpet or we are never going to hear the end of this." The next day, the boy went to the music store with his parents and they bought him that trumpet.
The boy joined the band -- and he did stick with it. He played in the band all through high school and when he graduated from high school, he went on to college and studied music. After graduating from college, he became a music teacher. I wonder how differently his life might have turned out if he had asked his parents for that musical instrument one time and never mentioned it again.
The Bible teaches us that just as our parents want what is best for us and will give us what we ask for, God, our heavenly Father, also hears and answers our requests. Sometimes we ask God for something one time and never mention it again. Maybe that is our impatience showing. When we ask for something, we want God to say "yes," and we want Him to say it right now! Jesus said that we should always pray and not give up. Perhaps God just wants us to show that we are really serious about what we are asking of Him. Does this mean that if we keep asking for something over and over again that God will always give it to us? No, but He loves us and wants what is best for us, and He will answer, "yes" if He can.
It Takes a Village
Faith formation in children is a massive undertaking. While parents are the primary disciple-makers of their kiddos, we're here to let you know you're not alone.