To explore the idea of promises and Christians' belief in the promises of God.
by Penny Hollander
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To explore the idea of promises and Christians’ belief in the promises of God.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a large box with a lid. The lid needs a large slot in the top through which to post the promises. Mark on the box ‘Promises’.
- An example promise (see 1 below) and some sheets of paper.
- A £10 or £20 note.
- Promises from the Bible written on sheets of paper (optional – see 5 below).
Ask the children what is meant by the word ‘promise’: a clear intention of something that will happen. Give examples, e.g. the Brownie Guide Law, which can be printed out: ‘I promise that I will do my best, to love my God, to serve my queen and my country, to help other people and to keep the Brownie Guide Law.’ This is said by someone who wants to be enrolled or join the Brownies. After reading it out, post it in the promise box.
- Show the children a £10 or £20 note and read the words on the front: ‘I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of £10/£20.’ Each note is signed by the Bank of England. That promise means that you can spend that money. Post it into the box.
- Ask for other examples of promises from the children. Ask them to write down the promises on sheets of paper and post them into the promise box.
- Now open the promise box and show all the promises that have been made. How many do the children think will be kept? Ask them how they feel when promises are broken, either by themselves, or by others: disappointed, let down, angry, upset?
- Say that in the Bible God makes lots of promises and Christians believe that he always keeps them. Here are a few promises that Jesus made to his disciples when he knew he was going to leave them. (These can be displayed singly, put up on an OHP, or read out by individual children.)
‘Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.’
‘In me you may have peace.’
‘You may ask me for anything in my name and I will do it.’
‘Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’
- Explain that sometimes it can be hard to understand what these words mean. ‘You may ask me for anything in my name and I will do it’ does not mean that, for instance, your team will always win if you ask Jesus for it! Christians believe that ‘in my name’ means being in line with what God wants, having thought and prayed about a thing. Many people find a special kind of peace and feeling of wholeness because of Jesus’ promises.
Time for reflection
We think about the keeping of promises:
how hard it is sometimes to keep them,
and how disappointed or upset we can get if they are not kept.
Have you ever said ‘I promise’, and not really meant it?
How can you keep your promises in future?
Thank you, God, for your promise to be with us at all times.
‘God has promised’ (Come and Praise, 31)