A PRAYER IN THE GARDEN

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1 BOOK 3, PART I, LESSON 4 A PRAYER IN THE GARDEN THE BIBLE: Luke 22:39-53, Mark 14:32-50 THEME: We remember that Jesus taught about love and showed love in everything he did. During Lent and Easter we remember and celebrate God s love made known in Jesus. PREPARING FOR THE LESSON MAIN IDEA: Jesus asked God to help him be faithful to what God wanted him to do. God is with us when we have difficult choices to make and we can ask God to help us be faithful. MEMORY VERSE: Do what you want, not what I want. Luke 22:42c CEV KEY WORDS AND CONCEPTS TO BE LEARNED: a. Prayer talking to God. Prayer can include four parts: praise, confession, thanks, and requests. b. Faith - trust in God, belief that God can and will do what He has promised. c. Faithful dependable, trustworthy. A person who is faithful does what he said he would. BIBLE BACKGROUND: After the Passover meal, Jesus and his followers left the city and went northeast to a garden on the Mount of Olives called Gethsemane. The garden may have been an olive grove owned by one of the followers. Regardless, the garden was obviously a place that Jesus and his friends frequented. For this reason, it was easy for Judas to lead the soldiers to the exact spot where they would find his friend and teacher, Jesus. Here in this garden, Jesus prayed one of his most earnest prayers. He prayed for a solution to the situation that would not require his death. He was only thirty-three years old. He did not want to die. He could have refused, but he put the decision in God s hands. With agony in his heart, he went into the garden to pray. He left with peace in his heart because he talked to God. UNDERSTANDING YOUR STUDENTS: The children may wonder why Jesus didn t simply leave. Here was a man who had healed the sick and brought the dead back to life. Surely he did not have to die if he didn t want to. But this fact is the foundation of our Christian beliefs. Young children cannot understand fully Jesus scornful death for us. Our task as teachers is twofold: 1) To help the children understand that Jesus was willing to go to the cross because He loved us.

2 2) Jesus obeyed God even when it was difficult to do so. We should help the children see God s presence in their lives. When Jesus was faced with this difficult choice, God was with Him. God will be with the children in their times of crisis as well. They can turn to God, talk to God and share their feelings with God. God does not always keep bad things from happening to people. But God is there with the children to help them through their bad times. DEVELOPING YOUR FAITH: Read Luke 22: Jesus had an intimate relationship with God. How often do you talk to God? When you say Thy will be done, do you really mean it? Read Luke 22: When have you felt that you let God down? When have you felt God called you to do something that you didn t want to do and you didn t do it? Ask God to help you face unwanted tasks. Read Luke 22: Have there been times when the children in your class have not lived up to your expectations? Are you asking more of them than they are prepared to give? 1. INTRODUCTION Snap/Clap Review TEACHING THE LESSON Greet the children and tell them we are going to review some of the things Jesus did in the other lessons. SAY: I will tell you something about this special time in Jesus life. If what I say is true, clap your hands twice. If what I say is not true, snap your fingers twice. 1 Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. 2 People greeted Jesus with flags. 3 The people laid food in the road as Jesus came by. 4 Jesus was happy about what he saw in the Temple. 5 Jesus used bread and wine/grape juice to help his friends remember. ASK: Do every one of you have to do something you don t want to do? (Invite the children to share.) ASK: Did you know that sometimes Jesus didn t want to do something, too? SAY: In today s Bible story, you will hear about one of those times. Listen for what Jesus asked of God. Listen for what you think God s answer was. 2. EXPLORE THE BIBLE MESSAGE TELL the story: After Passover meal, Jesus was feeling upset. He needed time to be alone to talk with God. So, he went to the Mount of Olives to a special garden and went inside to

3 pray. Several of his disciples went with him. When he reached the gate to the garden, he turned to his friends, and said, Keep watch for me while I pray. He left them standing near the entrance to the garden and he went to pray. Jesus knelt down on the ground and prayed, God, sometimes you ask me to do hard things. What is about to happen will be very difficult. It will be harder than anything I have ever had to do before. I would rather not do this. But if there is no other way, then it is what you want what counts. (ARTIST: Draw a picture of Jesus praying in a beautiful garden. This also is a very familiar and dear picture to Christians. ) Jesus prayed and prayed and prayed. He wanted God to change the things that were going to happen. Then God s spirit filled him. He felt God s presence inside of him, and it gave him strength. Jesus knew that the job God had sent him to do was not yet finished. But now, Jesus knew he could do what God asked him to do, even if it meant giving up his life. Jesus knew God was with Him. Jesus got up and walked to the entrance of the garden. Peter, James and John had fallen asleep on the ground. Jesus knelt down and shook them, Wake up! Why are you sleeping? Didn t I ask you to keep watch for me? How are you going to be faithful in times of trouble when you cannot even stay awake for a short while as I pray? (ARTIST: Draw a picture of Jesus trying to wake up the sleeping disciples.) Peter, James and John were ashamed that they had let their friend down. They had honestly meant to stay awake, but the meal had been good and they were so very tired. And it was only a little nap. Two more times Jesus left his friends to pray. Both times Jesus returned to find his friends asleep. Just then Jesus heard a commotion. People carrying bright torches came down the path to the garden and there were voices many voices. Some of the people coming through the entrance to the garden were soldiers. The man leading the group was Judas, one of Jesus disciples. Judas walked up to Jesus and kissed him on the cheek, but it was not a kiss of friendship as was a customarily way of greeting friends. Judas had promised to lead the soldiers to Jesus. He told them, Jesus will be the one that I kiss. Judas was the friend Jesus had said would betray Him. Quick to defend their friend and teacher, Peter and John drew their swords. They wanted to protect Jesus to fight off the soldier but Jesus said, Why do you act like I am a criminal? You come here with swords. But am I not in the Temple day after day, teaching? Why did you not arrest me there where everyone could have seen instead of coming here in the dark of night? Are you trying to avoid a riot? The guards did not answer Jesus, but they took him from the garden. The disciples stayed behind. What was going to happen to Jesus? Would the soldiers arrest them, too? Everyone was frightened. Peter followed at a distance to see where they were taking Jesus.

4 (ARTIST: Draw a picture of the guards taking Jesus from the garden with the disciples in the background looking on frightened.) ASK: 1 Why did Jesus go to the garden that night? (He went to be alone and to pray?) 2 What was troubling Him? (He knew that God was asking Him to do a very difficult thing.) 3 What special job did Jesus give his friends? (He asked them to watch and pray with Him.) 4 Were they able to do it? (No, they fell asleep.) 5 What did Jesus ask God to do? (Jesus ask God to help Him to be faithful to do what God wanted Him to do.) 6 What did Jesus learn while talking to God? (Jesus learned that God will give him the strength to do whatever God ask Him to do.) 3. RESPOND TO THE BIBLE MESSAGE ACTIVITY 1: A Story Today SAY: God asked Jesus to do something very difficult. Jesus asked God s help. Jesus learned that God would not take away the difficult choice. God would be with Him and help Him do what was right. (Translator: Include or replace with similar stories about experiences the children have.) (Artist: Illustrate these short stories in the teacher s book. They may be small, two to a page.) STORY ONE: One day Bill found a toy on the road. He recognized it as his friend s toy. No one was looking and he wanted the toy for himself. What should he do? STORY TWO: Everyone is making fun of the new girl in the Sunday school class. You feel sorry for her but you don t want the others to think that you are not cool? What should you do? Add your own stories. ASK: What are some difficult things with which you could ask God to help you? (Have the children share.) SAY: We can always ask God to help un-make the right decision and to be with us whatever decision we make.

5 ACTIVITY 2: Movement Prayer SAY: When we pray we use our voices and we can also use our bodies. In the book of Psalms, we can find many prayers written by men and women who asked God for help and strength. Listen to the prayer from Psalms and try to experience the words with your bodies. Ask the students to follow your movements and to repeat after you. (Teacher: It is best to practice this by yourself before class.) MOVEMENT PRAYER Psalm 142 Stand straight. Slowly bend over so that the tip of our fingers touch the ground. SAY: Listen to my cry for help, for I am sunk in despair. Have the students repeat the words after you. Now slowly begin to straighten your body. Let your shoulders come back and lift your head. SAY: I call to the Lord for help, I plead with God. (Children repeat words.) Now raise your right hand above your head and look up. SAY: I tell God all my troubles. (Children repeat words.) Raise both hands high over your head. SAY: I plead with God, I bring all my complaints. (Children repeat.) Fold your hands in prayer and bow your head. SAY: When I am ready to give up, God knows what I should do. (Children repeat.) Stand straight, hand open wide to the side with the palm up. SAY: Set me free from distress. I will praise you because of your goodness to me. (Children repeat.) ACTIVITY 3: Drawing a Garden Have the students draw pictures of a garden. Remind them that Jesus went to the garden to pray.

6 4. CLOSE IN PRAYER Remind the children that God does not always remove the difficult things from our lives, but God will be with us. ASK: Is there anyone for whom you would like to pray today? Are there some difficult things that you would like to ask God to help you with? PRAY: Dear God, we know you are always with us. We feel your love all around us, in good times and in bad times. Help us to do what is right, even though it is not easy. (Add prayer requests here.) Be with each of us during the coming week. AMEN. Requested pictures: 1. Jesus praying in the garden. This is a very familiar and dear picture to Christians. 2. Jesus waking up his sleeping disciples. 3. Children faced with difficult choices. Resources: Unless indicated this lesson has been quoted or adapted from Cokesbury, New Invitation, Spring 1995; Grades 1 & 2. Pgs Birth, Death & Resurrection by Gattis Smith, pg. 49.

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