Guard Your Gates

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15-20 minutes


This object lesson teaches the ACTS model for praying (Adoration – Confession – Thanksgiving – Supplication), but since kids won’t likely recognize these terms, this lesson uses more familiar language.


• Printed PowerPoint slides (in download file, “ACTS Prayers for Kids – PowerPoint”) or your own signs that say, “I Love You!” “I’m Sorry!” “Thank You!” “Please!”


• Print or make signs (the bigger you can get them, the better)

• Practice the script.


Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

• “You may know this already, but there are many, many ways to pray. There are long prayers and short prayers, prayers for things and prayers for people, prayers of praise and prayers of thanks.”

• “If you’ve got a way of praying that works well for you, keeping using it. God just wants you to talk to Him, and prayer of any kind is the way we do it.”

• “For those of you who might be struggling to know how to talk to God, I want to share four simple things that you can say to Him every day.”

• “I’m going to need four volunteers to help me.” (Select four volunteers, and give each one of them a different sign.)

• “These four signs represent four things that it’s good to say to God every time you pray.” (As you introduce each type of prayer, put your hand over the head of the child with the appropriate sign. Ask that child to hold up the sign.)

• “I love you!”

• “I’m sorry!”

• “Thank you!”

• “Please!”

• “Everyone, say these with me.” (Go through them several times.)

• “First, let’s talk about ‘I Love You!’” (Point to child holding this sign.)

• “God loves for us to tell Him that we love Him. That’s why He created us.”

• “I understand how He feels, because I love to hear my kids tell me that they love me.”

• “Sometimes, if they haven’t said it in awhile, I’ll say it just to see if they will respond.”

• “They could say, ‘Dad, I told you last week that I loved you. If anything changes, I’ll let you know,” but that wouldn’t make me feel very good.”

• “Of course I know they love me, but I want to hear it!.....a lot! They can’t say it too many times for me!”

• “That’s how God feels. He knows what’s in your heart, but He wants to hear it, and He wants to hear it a lot!”

• “There are lots of ways to tell God you love Him. Can anyone help me with a few?” (Listen for “sing worship songs,” “tell God how great He is,” “just say ‘I love you, Lord.’ and other ideas.)

• “Those are all terrific, and if you want to REALLY let God know how much you love Him, you should tell Him WHY you love Him.”

• “For example, I tell God sometimes, ‘I love you, God, because You gave me my wonderful wife and because You helped me get out of a tough situation last week and because You helped me get well when I was sick.’” (Supply your own examples.)

• “But don’t just tell Him you love Him because of what He DOES…tell Him you love Him because of WHO He is!”

• “Can anyone give me an example of WHO God is?” (Listen for the use of the names of God, ex. Creator, the Great Physician, Jehovah, Jehovah-Jireh, Jesus, Lamb of God…)

• “Great! That’s exactly what I mean! Telling God who He is to you is a great way to tell Him that you love Him.”

• “I always try to say, ‘I love you!’ to God in my prayers. Sometimes I do it with His names. Sometimes I do it with the things He does for me, and sometimes I do it by singing a song to Him. But I always try to tell Him I love Him, because I know He wants to hear it from me.”

• “Another part of my prayers is, ‘I’m Sorry!’” (Point to child holding this sign.)

• “All of us mess up at some time. I mess up almost every day in some way.”

• “When I do, it’s important for me to tell God that I’m sorry.”

• “Now, I want to be clear about something.”

• “When Jesus died on the cross, He forgave us for all the sins that we will ever do.”

• “That’s a crazy thought, but He knew way back then that I was going to be irritable with my kids next week. He knew that I was going to forget to spend time with Him for several days next month. (Supply your own examples.) He knew about all our sins, and He forgave us forever.”

• “But, if we sin, and we don’t tell God we are sorry, it starts to make our spirit sick.”

• “We start to grow farther and farther away from God.”

• “It’s like if you got into a fight with your best friend, and you knew you were wrong. If you didn’t tell your friend that you were sorry, what you did would start to hurt your friendship with him or her.”

• “So, tell God you’re sorry every time you do something you know you’re not supposed to do.”

• “He loves to hear it, and He will fix your relationship with Him right away.”

• “The third part of my prayers is, ‘Thank You!’” (Point to child holding this sign.)

• “Have you ever done something nice for someone, and they didn’t even say thank you?”

• “How did that make you feel?” (Take responses.)

• “Right, it’s frustrating, isn’t it?”

• “Well, God does great things for us all the time, and many times, we forget to even tell Him thank you.”

• “If you’re praying, and you can’t think of anything to be thankful for, remember that He allowed you to take that breath that you just took. He gave you an incredible brain to think with. He gave you friends to hang out with and clothes to wear. There is always something to be thankful for.”

• “The last part of my prayers is, ‘Please!’” (Point to child holding this sign.)

• “Sometimes, I ask God ‘please’ for me, and sometimes I ask God ‘please’ for someone else.”

• “He says to us in the Bible, pray for whatever your heart wants. If it will be good for you, I’ll give it to you.”

• “How many of you know that God doesn’t give us everything we ask for?”

• “Can anyone think of why God might sometimes say, ‘no,’ to us?” (Take responses.)

• “God wants the best for us, so He always gives us what we need and He often even gives us what we want, but sometimes He says, ‘no,’ to protect us from some of the silly things we ask for.”

• “So, there you have it! Four little prayers that you can pray every day!”

• “Let’s do something!”

• “When I put my hand over the head of one of these volunteers, I want you to say the prayer that he/she is holding out loud.”

• “Ready?” (Hold you hand above the volunteers’ heads in succession. Go down the line several times. The kids enjoy participating in this type of activity.)

• “Some days, my prayers are a little different.” (Hold you hand above the volunteers’ heads again in succession, but when you get to ‘Please!’ keep putting your hand over that volunteer’s head. It should sound like this: “I love you! I’m sorry! Thank you! Please! Please! Please! Please!....)

• “And some days, my prayers are like this: (Go down the line again, but linger on ‘Thank You!’ this time.)

• “And some days, they are like this: (Go down the line and linger on ‘I’m Sorry!’)

• “We all have days like that, right?” (Go through a few more time, playing with the sequence and the repetition. This is an excellent reinforcer for your lesson content, and it’s high energy for the kids, too.)

• “Excellent! You guys are terrific!” (Thank and dismiss your volunteers.)

• “I’m wondering if there is anyone who would like to practice one of these prayers by praying for us as a group.” (Encourage someone to volunteer. They can pray any one of the four prayers out loud. Then encourage someone else to do one. They can choose the same type of prayer or a different one. It’s possible that the children may not want to do an ‘I’m Sorry!’ prayer in a public setting.)


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