Perseverance is important
by Alison Thurlow
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To encourage us to persevere, even when we find something difficult.
Preparation and materials
You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Keep Going!)and the means to display them.
You will also need 12 children’s building blocks, a blindfold and a stopwatch.
Show Slide 1.
Explain that perseverance means keeping on trying and not giving up even when it is difficult.
Explain that you need two volunteers who think that they are good at keeping going even when things get hard!
Ask each volunteer to build a tower from the 12 building blocks while you time them. Then, blindfold the first volunteer and ask him or her to repeat the task. Ask the second volunteer to repeat the task, too, but this time, distract him or her by moving the blocks, pulling funny faces, making lots of noise, knocking the tower down and so on.
Ask the volunteers if they found it more difficult to keep going when being distracted or blindfolded. Look at the times that were taken to complete the task.
Point out that, although the game was only a bit of fun, in life, it can sometimes be hard to keep going when things seem difficult or we feel discouraged. Explain that our story today comes from the Old Testament part of the Bible. The Jewish people had not been listening to God, and they had been living in exile, away from their own homes. As the story starts, this situation is about to change. Listen carefully and see if you can work out why the people needed to have lots of perseverance and what helped them to keep going.
Show Slide 2.
A Time to Build
A long time ago, there lived a man called Nehemiah, who worked for the king in a country a long way away from his own country. The king liked him, but Nehemiah often felt homesick and wished he could go back to where he had grown up. One day, he heard that his home town, Jerusalem, was in a mess. The walls had been knocked down and many buildings were falling apart – everything needed rebuilding: people’s homes so that they had somewhere to live; the temple so that they had somewhere to go and worship God; and the walls around the city of Jerusalem so that they would be protected from their enemies. Nehemiah made a decision: he had to try to do something about rebuilding Jerusalem.
The next morning, Nehemiah went to the king and explained what he wanted to do, saying that he would need some stones and wood. The king was very understanding. He even gave Nehemiah some money to help him. Then, Nehemiah set off on the long journey home. When he got to Jerusalem, he was shocked by the mess. It was much worse than he had imagined. The walls were collapsing, buildings looked derelict and there seemed little hope that one man could achieve anything. However, Nehemiah soon found that he was not on his own. Many people were pleased to see him and offered to help. It was hard work rebuilding the walls. Some people didn’t want Jerusalem to become strong again and fought to stop the building work taking place. But Nehemiah kept encouraging the people and asking God for help.
‘Keep going!’ he said. ‘You are doing really well and I know God will help us finish the job!’
After many months of hard work, the houses, the temple and the walls were back to how they had been before. Nehemiah was grateful to everyone who had worked with him. He also knew that God had been with them and helped them, too.
Time for reflection
Show Slide 3.
Ask the children to turn to the person next to them and have a go at answering these questions.
- In the story, what three things needed rebuilding? (Answer: the houses, the temple and the walls)
- What kind of things discouraged the people from getting the building work done? (Answer: it was hard work, it would take a long time, they needed wood and stone and they had to confront their enemies)
- What helped them to keep going? (Answer: Nehemiah encouraging them and knowing that God was with them)
None of us have to rebuild the walls around our towns and cities this week, but there might be some things that we are finding difficult or occasions when we feel like we want to give up.
Show Slide 4.
Let’s have a moment of silence as we think about the things that we are finding difficult or that we are worried about.
Today’s story teaches us about the power of encouragement. Who could we encourage today?
When things were difficult, Nehemiah prayed. Do we need to share our difficulties with someone? Who do we talk to when things are tough – family, friends, a teacher, God?
Show Slide 5.
Thank you that you always listen when we pray to you.
Thank you that you are always there.
Please help us to keep going when we find things hard.
Please help us to encourage others.
‘Brick by brick’ by Steve Morgan-Gurr (1999 Song Solutions Daybreak)