Peter Escapes from Prison
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Children will explore the different types of prayer and participate in a Prayer Walk.
For scripture, objectives, and background - see above.
Preparation and Room Set Up:
- Review the background information sheets and lesson materials.
- Gather necessary supplies.
- Determine the stops for the Prayer Walk. Make note of any specific prayer requests at each stop.
- Copy one handout for each child.
- Cut apart the types of prayer into strips that will fit on the fingers on the handout.
- Set out glue.
- Display the Hand Prayer Poster where children can see easily.
- Write out the six types of prayer, one per index card: Praise, thanksgiving, confession, intercession (for others), petition (for me), listening.
- Write a brief description of each type of prayer, one per index card.
• Honoring God for who He is (Praise)
• Thanking God for what He has done (Thanks)
• Telling God we are sorry for wrong things we do, asking forgiveness (Confession)
• Praying for others (Intercession)
• Praying for myself (Petition)
• Being quiet and still so I can hear God (Listening)
4. Hide the cards around the classroom.
- Index cards
- Hand Prayer handout (I have a Word document with this... but not sure how to attach here. Basically this is an outline of a hand with a heart in the center of the palm. The different types of prayers are printed out and can be cut out and glued to the fingers of the hand, or just written on them).
- Flip chart or white board
Please start on time!
Introductions/Opening Prayer: 10 minutes
Bible Study: 15 minutes
Hand Prayers: 5 minutes
Prayer Walk: 15 minutes
Reflection/Closing Prayer: 5 minutes
Early Arrival Activity
As children arrive, invite them to play a prayer match game.
1. As children arrive, invite them to search for the hidden cards.
2. Show the poster, then encourage them to match the types of prayer with their descriptions.
3. Explain that today they will learn how God answered the prayers of Peter and the early church.
Welcome the children and take time for introductions. Please include the shepherd in introductions. Tell the children that today they will be learning about a time when Peter was in prison and God sent an angel to rescue him.
Dear God, Thank you for bringing us all here together. We thank you for the stories in the Bible that teach us about you. Help us to learn and understand more about you and your love for us. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.
Important Teacher Notes:
Each workshop begins with the Bible story. One of our primary goals is to improve the children’s Bible literacy! If children did not bring their Bibles from home, use the classroom Bibles. Shepherds should help the children locate the stories. Use the handout “Helping Children Learn to Use their Bibles” and the Background Information to help you introduce the story.
Remember that as the rotation progresses, the children will become more familiar with the story. When this happens, allow the children to tell you what they know. The children should still locate the story in their Bibles every week. Use the bold headings in their Bibles to guide your discussion. You may want to review some of the Bible notes as well. Be sure to fill in any missing information and add additional details using the Background Information to help you. One of the greatest advantages of this model is that children who come regularly learn the story in great depth.
Each lesson contains more Background Information and discussion questions than can be used in one session. Remember, children are studying this story for four weeks! Be sure to follow the time guidelines and leave ample time for the activity.
Introduce the Story:
We've been learning about Peter for several months now. We've learned how Peter and the early believers helped spread the good news about Jesus to others. We learned that the good news was for everyone -- not just for the Jews, but also for the non-Jews. What are non-Jews called? (Gentiles)
But not everyone was excited to hear about Jesus. Not everyone believed his good news. The Jewish leaders tried to stop Peter and the believers from spreading the word. We already learned that Peter had been thrown into prison and beaten after he healed the lame man at the Temple gate. He was told to stop talking about Jesus. Did Peter stop? (No!) No, he kept on preaching about Jesus. The Holy Spirit gave him courage and power to share Jesus' love with others, everywhere he went.
This month we are going to learn about another time Peter was put into prison…. This time Peter was going to be killed. Let's see what happens….
Where would we find a story about Jesus' followers in the Bible? (New Testament) Today’s story is found in the only book of History in the New Testament. This book is called Acts or Acts of the Apostles. This book tells about what happened to Jesus’ followers after Jesus went to heaven. It is found right after the four gospels.
Bible Study - Grades 1-3
Ask: Where in the Bible would we find a story about Peter and the early church? (Acts, New Testament)
Pass out The Picture Bible to each pair of children. Help them locate page 711. Read "Angel - Open Gate" on pages 711-713. (The Picture Bible is written in comic book form. The pictures should help the children visualize the story.)
Next help them find "An Angel Helps Peter Escape from Prison" on page 377-378 of the Little Kids' Adventure Bible. Read and discuss:
Did you know: How did Peter escape from prison? Page 377
Bible Study - Grades 4-6
Ask: Where in the Bible would we find a story about Peter and the early church? (Acts, New Testament)
Today’s story is found in the book of Acts. Acts is the only book of history in the New Testament.
Have the children locate Acts 12: Peter's Miraculous Escape from Prison in their Bibles. Assign volunteers to read as the other children follow along in their Bibles:
Review the following Bible note with the children:
Did you Know? How did Peter escape from prison? Page 1214
- What did the believers do when Peter was in prison? (prayed)
- How was Peter guarded? (16 soldiers, two chained to him)
- What happened in the middle of the night? (angel came and set Peter free)
- Where did Peter go? (Mary's house, where people were gathered praying)
- What happened when Peter knocked on the door? (Rhoda answered, left him outside)
- Why do you think Rhoda didn't let Peter in?
- Why do you think the people didn't believe Rhoda? (didn't think it could be true, thought she was imagining things)
Each rotation we encourage the children to memorize the Rotation Memory Verse. Review it with the children at this time. Children will be recognized at the conclusion of each rotation for memorizing these verses. Children with their own Bibles should highlight the verse using the Bible highlighters provided. Please do not mark in the classroom Bibles.
"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7
Tell the children that Peter wrote two books in the New Testament, 1 and 2 Peter. These letters were written toward the end of Peter's life during a time of very intense persecution of Christians.
- What does it mean to cast our anxieties on him?
- Why do you think Peter wrote this?
- How did God care for Peter?
- How does God care for us?
(Older children may want to hear the rest of Peter's story. See background information for additional details)
Eventually Peter was killed. He was crucified (after being forced to watch his own wife be crucified first). Tradition says Peter asked to be crucified upside down as he didn't feel worthy to die in the same way Jesus had.
Introduce the Activity:
Brainstorm with the children:
What is prayer? (communicating with God, talking AND listening) Write down their answers on the board.
Why do we pray? (to tell God our feelings, express our needs, ask for help, praise God, say thanks, say I'm sorry, to get close to God, to learn more about God).
Sometimes we think that prayer is sort of like giving our "wishlist" to God. But prayer is more than just talking and asking for what we want or need.
Imagine your best friend. Now imagine that you never talked to him/her, never called on the phone, texted or talked on the computer. How long do you think you would stay friends?
Prayer is our way of staying connected with God. God loves us and wants more than anything to be close to us. Prayer is the way we get close to God.
- Display the Hand Prayer poster. If children participated in the early arrival activity, use the cards to explain the six different types of prayer.
- Review the Hand Prayer Poster with the children.
- Pass out one Prayer Hand handout to each child.
- Have them glue the prayer strips to the fingers on the hand, using the poster as a guide:
• Thumb - praise
• Index finger - thanks
• Middle finger - confession
• Ring finger - intercession (for others)
• Pinkie - petition (for ourselves)
• Heart - listening
Note: Gluing the types of prayer in this order helps to reinforce that praying for our needs is not the only type of prayer we should offer.
Tell the children to keep the handout to remind them how to pray.
As children work, discuss:
- What types of prayers do you think Peter prayed while in prison?
- What types of prayers do you think the believers prayed when Peter was in prison? After he was released?
- Why do you think the people in the church felt the need to pray?
- How do you think they learned that God answers prayers?
- Do you believe that God hears and answers all our prayers?
- How did God answer the prayers of the church while Peter was in prison?
- How have you experienced God answering your prayers?
- Why does God not always answer our prayers the way we want?
- Have you experienced a sudden answer to prayer?
- Have you experienced a time when God's answer was "wait?"
- When do you pray?
- What makes it easier for you to pray? Harder?
- How has prayer changed you?
- What have you learned about God from this story?
(Adapted from an idea from Worship KidStyle, LifeWay Christian Resources, 2009. Additional information about Prayer Walks available at imbresources.org)
- Post it notes
Choose several areas in the church for the Prayer Walk. Suggestions include:
- Church Office - Ms. Renee
- Crossroads Medical Mission office - Leslie, Cindy, Katie, Dr. Tim, Dr. Paul
- Custodian's office (boiler room) - Peanut
- Custodian's office (closet bulletin board) - Jackie
- Senior Pastor's office - Pastor Mike
- Associate Pastor's office - Pastor Sharon
- Spring Garden Preschool Office - Mrs. Wilma and Mrs. Cindy
- Nursery - Mrs. Doris, Ms. Bethany, Ms. Jocelyn, Ms. Rebecca
- Youth Director Office - Paige
- DCE Office - Mrs. Jaymie
- Organist Office - Mr. Bob
- Choir room - Mr. Steve
On a post-it note, write, "We prayed for you today" and sign it "G.R.E.A.T. Adventure 1-3 graders" or "4-6 graders."
Introduce the Activity
There are many people who work here in the church. Can you think of people here at the church for whom you would like to pray? Some have special prayer needs. Others would appreciate our prayers for their work, their families or friends. These types of prayers are prayers of intercession -- prayers for others. We can also pray to God, thanking him for the work that these different people do. What type of prayer would that be? (thanks)
We are going to go on a Prayer Walk and visit some of the offices and other places in the church. At each stop, we will take turns praying for the person or persons who work there or are presently there. Because there are many classes taking place, we will need to move through the halls quietly. When we stop to pray, we will need to whisper our prayers. Then we will leave a note that says, "We prayed for you."
- Be sure to leave a note on the classroom door explaining that the class is on a Prayer Walk and will return at 10:50 a.m.
- Escort the children to the various areas you have selected. At each stop, encourage one child to pray out loud (quietly) for that individual. If children are reluctant to pray on their own, have them repeat a simple prayer after you.
- Return to the classroom no later than 10:50 a.m.
The last 10 minutes should be reserved for Journals and Reflection time. This is an opportunity for processing and reflection about what the children have learned. Ask the shepherds to pass out the journals and pencils/pens and the journal sticker for the day. (Note: Journal questions are color-coded for each age group – purple for 1-3 and blue for 4-6.) Workshop leaders and shepherds should sit down with children in small groups to facilitate discussion and writing in Faith Journals. Memory verse stickers are also included for each lesson. Children may also copy the memory verse and illustrate.
Grades 1-3: Draw a picture of the early church praying for Peter.
Grades 4-6: When is a time you have experienced an answered prayer. Write a prayer, thanking God for that time.
Gather the children together in the center of the room. Review with them one word or concept that they learned in the lesson today. Prayer, faith, trust, prison, help, angel are some suggestions. Encourage the children to come back next week and bring their Bibles. Remind them to share the love of Jesus with others by bringing a friend to Sunday school, especially a friend who doesn’t have a church. Ask for prayer requests and pray together.
Help the Shepherd collect Journals and nametags and put away. Encourage children to help you clean up.
Release children only to parents or by prior arrangement with parents. Make sure parents sign their children out on class clipboards.
After your rotation is completed, please:
- Remember to return all supplies to the storage areas in the classroom or the supply closet in the hallway. Please help us keep our rooms neat!
- Do you have suggestions on how to improve our lessons? Email Jaymie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Return un-used journal questions and lesson materials (you may leave them in the classroom).
- If you need to be reimbursed, turn in your receipts to DCE office.
- Thanks for being part of our G.R.E.A.T. Adventure Team!
- Let us know if you would like to teach again or check the yearly schedule posted at the top of the stairs and sign up for the Rotation and workshop of your choice.
A lesson by State Street UMC,
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.