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Play Your Cards Right

Facing the future

by Revd Oliver Harrison

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider that we can’t predict the future, but we can move forward into it with God.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a well-shuffled deck of cards. To avoid repetition, ideally, these should be arranged so that no two cards of the same value are next to each other.

  • Note: Large (A5 or A4) decks of cards are available online. See:


  1. Ask the children what they think will happen tomorrow.

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Ask them what they think will happen next week or next year.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  2. Explain that, although we might have some idea about what will happen in the future, we can’t actually predict what the future will hold. We don’t know for certain what is coming next. We might have plans, but they might not happen or they might happen in a different way from what we expected. We might be able to make a good guess about what will happen, but even then, nothing is certain.

  3. Ask for ten volunteers.

    Show the deck of cards to the children.

    xplain that you are going to turn over one card at a time. Explain that you want the volunteers to guess whether the next card will have a higher or lower value than the one before. Explain that aces can be both high and low: they beat kings, but are also worth one.

    Explain that the children who think that the next card will be lower should move to one side of the room, and the children who think that the next card will be higher should move to the other side of the room. When the card is revealed, the children on the incorrect side will be out.

  4. Continue playing the game until a winner is found. You will find that a different set of children are keen to play again!

Time for reflection

Explain that not knowing what will happen in the future can be a bit frightening. However, Christians believe that God knows the future and he sees us and cares about us. They believe that if we walk into the future holding God’s hand and trusting in him, we will be in the best company. God is loving and powerful. We can trust him even when the future is uncertain.

Dear God,
Thank you that you love us and care about us.
Thank you that although we can’t predict the future,
We can know that you will always be with us, whatever we do and wherever we go.
Please help us to trust you.
Please help us to find other people whom we can trust and talk to about our fears.

Publication date: May 2020   (Vol.22 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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