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in Sunday school; share your success stories in
teaching the Bible to children; and provide ways
to foster a love for the Bible.
Ever have trouble getting pupils to honestly discuss challenges in their lives?
For years I taught 9-12 graders in Sunday school. Once the trust level was established, the first thing we’d do was put the issues in their lives that week “on the table.” As they entered class, they would share their challenges for the purpose of healing them. And through the course of the class, they learned that just discussing a problem wasn’t solving it.
Recently I started teaching a third grade SS class. “Putting it on the table” the way the teens did it was out of the question. Whenever I asked if there was something that concerned them or needed healing, I would get a blank stare or a negative head shake.
After a few weeks of praying to meet individual needs, I recalled an exercise I used to do with 3-5 year olds. I would take stuffed animals or cloth dolls to class. The doll would ask questions about their lives and the children shared openly. The responses became the basis of discussion for class. One doll asked a little girl why she seemed sad. The girl explained her cat had died. Another pupil was asked why he didn’t seem to say much. He responded that he was afraid he might get in trouble. This took a little more digging, but the doll successfully had him talking and we got to know him better.
The first Sunday of this year, my third graders and I were going over our spiritual goals for 2006. One girl said her goal was to pray more. I asked her how her praying was coming along. She said she didn’t know how to pray. We began at once to help her talk with God. I closed my eyes and talked audibly with God. I then encouraged her to pray. Within minutes she was talking to God about being afraid to be in a class play. She was asking for courage. Once that was uncovered, we talked about Moses being afraid to talk to Pharaoh. She noticed the more Moses talked with God, the more he was able to communicate with the children of Israel.
Since then we have started each class with audible prayer. What pours out fills the hour easily. A few weeks ago, this same young girl asked God to help her sleep without nightmares. We looked up Bible verses and her favorite was Prov 3:24: When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.
She wrote it on a piece of paper and put it next to her bed. She read it each night before going to sleep and she hasn’t had a nightmare since.
It’s so important to help our pupils discover how to bring everything to God – to help them feel God’s everpresence and tender care in meeting all of their needs.