Focus Passage: John 14: 8-17

Memory Verse: “If you ask anything in my name I will do it.”

Items for Preparation

-Prepare a set of question cards using a half sheet of paper folded over like a notecard. Have enough for each child to get one. On the top, draw a big question mark. On the inside, choose one question kids could ask of Jesus. Let some of the questions be ones in the category Jesus is discussing in the passage today. These questions are things that all humans ask of God:

Will you help me to be strong now?
What is the right thing for me to do, Lord?
I feel ashamed! Will you forgive me?
I am so sad, Lord. Will you comfort me?
I am struggling and confused. Will you guide me, Lord?
I am angry, Lord! Will you help me find peace?

Also include some questions that are NOT in the category Jesus is discussing. These questions might be along the lines of

Lord, will you get me a new bike?
I don’t like my teacher, Lord, make her go away!
Lord, will you find another family for my baby brother?
Lord, I don’t know my math problems. Will you help me make an A?

The idea here is to plant some non-Jesus questions in with the Jesus ones. You’ll hand these out at the beginning of your sermon, and have each child open and read the question for general discussion.

Background

Read the adult lesson in the print edition of Nurturing Faith and additional material online. These words of Jesus can cause us to get deep in the forest of selfish desire. But we want to teach kids what Jesus really means here: that his spirit is with us helping us to follow him in any way we ask it. We are better Jesus-followers when we remember his constant source of comfort, strength, mercy and love. These sacred spiritual gifts are infinitely given, and just knowing this makes you feel a little better just getting up in the morning.

Children’s Sermon

[Hand a question card to every child, with instructions to wait to open and read it in turn when asked.]

Say: Jesus said a marvelous thing to his disciples and friends, that if we ask any thing in Jesus’ name, he will do it! Wow! What a great promise! Boy, I can use some help! I bet we have a lot of questions we’d like to ask in Jesus’ name. I put some on the cards you have. Let’s read them and see what you think.

[Now go to each child in turn, have her open and read the card aloud, helping out those who are not readers yet. As each question is read, apply the following process.]

Say: Is this the kind of thing Jesus was talking about? Does Jesus want us to ask his help, using his name, praying to God, for this thing? [Allow for answers. You may get great discussion, so go with it.]

Say: Okay, let’s read our next question. [Proceed to each child, and get their responses.]

Say: Wow. There are a lot of things we ask Jesus, aren’t there? Some of them are kind of selfish…and this is not what he meant when he said we can ask anything in his name and he’ll do it. How can we tell what things to ask of Jesus? [Allow for answers.]

Say: That’s right. Jesus means that he wants us to figure out how to love other people, to live as good Jesus-followers, and that if we ask for his help to do that, in any way, he will give it. Jesus’ promise is a wonderful thing to know. It’s a sort of secret that only Jesus-followers, like you and me, know. It helps us have love for other people; it helps us follow Jesus well; it helps us have courage, that we are not by ourselves. When we have hard questions, we can ask them, and we have Jesus’ help.

Prayer: Say these words after I say them.

O powerful God,
When we are unsure or worried
When we have questions
We thank you for Jesus’ promise
That we may ask in Jesus’ name,
And he will help us.
Make us powerful Jesus-followers,
In Jesus’ name, Amen.