Elijah is a pretty significant prophet, sent to bring the people of Israel back to God during a time when their hearts and practices were turning to other gods. Appearing alongside Moses at the event of the transfiguration, Elijah is significant in Jewish and Christian traditions. This week, we will work with several stories from the Elijah narratives which are found in 1 Kings 17-19.
- Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath (1 Kings 17: 8-24)
- Elijah and the Prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:17-40)
- Elijah and the Whisper (1 Kings 19)
During your preparation, read through the stories, keeping in mind your classes discussion about prophets from last week. What characteristics of the office of prophet do you notice as you read?
Hear the Story: The stories of Elijah cover three chapters and are quite long. You may select one of the stories for your class to focus on, though younger children might like to work with a montage of the stories covering most of Elijah’s ministry.
- Elijah stories are very popular in our children’s Bibles. Find the story of Elijah and the Prophets of Baal under the heading “God’s Mighty Prophets: Elijah’s Showdown on the Mountain” in Jesus Calling Storybook Bible (p.110).
- The Child’s Story Bible has the stories of Elijah from 1 Kings 17-19 under the heading “Elijah, the Stern Prophet” (beginning on page 207).
- The Children’s Illustrated Bible find many stories of Elijah including the piece on the Prophets of Baal under the title “The Israelites turn Against God” (p. 142).
- Covering all of the stories of Elijah are Elijah Messenger of God illustrated by Leon Baxter and Elijah: Prophet of Fire by Anne de Graaf.
Respond to the story
- Act it out: The Elijah stories are ripe for dramatization and children may have fun hearing about each of the stories and retelling them with costume. If you have many students in your class, divide into groups of three or four and give each group one of the stories to act out, coming back to the larger group to present the story. If you have a smaller class this week, let students select one of the stories and act it out together. Help facilitate the discussion (if needed) by asking them what they think the most important parts of the story are. Use costumes if you choose and go outside if the weather is nice!
- Sharing a snack/feast: Every week when we gather together, we share a simple snack–cat cookies, cheddar bunnies, or cinnamon alphabet cookies. Sometimes we don’t have a lot of time for this particular part of Church School. It’s just a bite of food as we rush out the door barely in time to make the liturgy. This week, you have a great opportunity to focus on it alongside one of our stories. In Church School, we sometimes say about the snack that it is a feast: a feast isn’t about how much you eat; rather, it is about who provides the food, who you share it with, and how you feel about it. In the wilderness, God provided the food Elijah needed in a time of famine and drought. Ravens fed him the widow shared the last of her flour and oil with Elijah. Work on the practice of sharing the feast during your class. Instead of our regular paper cups, have one of the students pass out napkins to each person at the table. After the napkin distribution, another student can put some crackers on each of the napkins. Everyone should wait to eat until all others are served. During the feast, wonder together about these stories of Elijah and food.
- Praying for Plenty: Elijah’s ministry is during a time of famine. Together or in small groups write prayers for those who are hungry.
- Raven Game: For this game, one child plays Elijah while all of the other children are ravens. Elijah sits in the middle of the circle of children and closes his/her eyes. Then the teacher selects a raven who must quietly walk to Elijah and feed him/her a cracker. Elijah then has to guess which of the ravens provided the cracker. Elijah gets three guesses. The child who gave Elijah the food is the next Elijah. Continue playing until all of the children play ravens and Elijah.
- Encountering God in the Silence: Read the story of God speaking to Elijah in the still small whisper and respond in one of the following ways:
- With younger children play the silence game. Discuss how we can listen for God in silent, still moments.
- With older children, set a timer for 10-15 minutes and ask them to go to go to a place (within sight) in which they might be “alone.” Ask them to listen to what they can hear in the space and listen to God. If needed, light a candle in the middle of the table on which students can focus or give each student a blank sheet of paper and one colored pencil or crayon. After the timer goes off, invite each person to share their experience. Is it possible to hear God? What might that be like? Did anyone in your class hear God? Did you?
Close in Prayer