This is a free Bible lesson for children teaching them about their Heavenly Father, the Father of Compassion. It was first prepared for a Children’s Church setting but would work well as a Sunday School lesson also. Through a study of Psalm 103, the children will discover that God’s love is evident through His deeds over the course of history. They will illustrate His compassion through artwork, act out His compassion through a game of charades, and demonstrate His compassion by encouraging others. For more ideas see our Father’s Day crafts or Coloring pages.
Bible Passage: Psalm 103: 1-19
Bible Story Title: Father of Compassion
Target Age Group: 1st– 6th grade
Target Time Frame: 45 minutes – 1 hour
Original Teaching Context: Children’s Church
Supply List: Bible, chalkboard/whiteboard, red and white construction paper hearts, markers/crayons/colored pencils, compassion art example, sticky-notes (five or more) in envelopes (one envelope for each child)
Tell the students: Father’s Day is coming up on Sunday June 20th. Father’s Day is a day set aside to honor our Dads. In Ephesians 6: 1-3 it says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise— ‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’”
It is very important to honor your parents. To honor them means to love and respect them. For some of us, that’s easy. Our Dads are great examples of Jesus. However, sometimes it may be hard. Maybe we have never met our Dad or our Dad left our family. Or maybe our Dads have done wrong things and it’s hard to respect them. No matter what, Dads are not perfect because of sin. Even some famous Bible Dads made some very bad choices that hurt others.
However, there is one Dad who is perfect. He is our Heavenly Father. He was the Dad of Jesus, but He is our Dad too. 2 Corinthians 1:3 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion…” Who is this Father? Let’s see!
Learning Activity #1 “Compassion Action”: Have students listen for what God has done to show His love. Read Psalm 103 in sections (verses 1-6, verses 7-12, and verses 13-19). Use your voice to highlight God’s specific deeds. Compile the list on a chalkboard/whiteboard after each section is read, briefly explaining each one. Here is a reference for you:
(Verses 1-6) He has forgiven our sins.
He has healed diseases.
He has redeemed our lives (saved us!)
He has crowned us with love and compassion.
He has satisfied our desires with good things.
He is righteous.
He gives justice to the oppressed.
(Verses 7-12) He has led people throughout history.
He shows compassion and grace.
He is slow to anger.
He is love.
He does not treat us as our sins deserve.
(Verses 13-19) He has compassion on his children.
He made us.
He is forever.
His love is always with those who fear him.
His kingdom rules over all.
Learning Activity #2 “Compassion Art”: Emphasize that what God has done for us throughout history shows His love. Distribute red and white paper hearts and crayons/markers/colored pencils. Have the students choose one of God’s deeds to illustrate. (Have an example of your own on hand.) Have them write the phrase on the bottom of the paper and draw the picture on the top.
Bulletin Board Idea: Collect student drawings for a bulletin board entitled, “Father of Compassion.” Place the drawings in a heart shape on black or pink background paper.
Learning Activity #3 “Compassion Charades”: Divide the students into groups of three or four. Have each group choose one of God’s deeds (or assign them.) Give them 3-5 minutes to come up with a charade that acts out the specific deed. Provide an example of your own. Have them act out the deed for the group to guess.
Say: God shows His love for us through the things that He does. Another word for love is compassion. Compassion is Love in Action. It means to know that someone is sad and hurting and to do something about it. Our Heavenly Father is a Father of Compassion. He knows that this world is hard… filled with diseases, sickness, sin, injustice, loneliness, and fear. But, as we learned today, He has showed His love through the things that He does. Have you accepted His love? Have you grown more like His love? Have you let Him love through you?
Learning Activity #4 “Kids of Compassion”: As a class, brainstorm ways that God can show His love through us (doing chores without complaining, helping a younger sibling, visiting someone who is ill, praying for people, etc.)
Tell them that one way to show love in action is through an encouraging note. Distribute 5 (or more) blank sticky notes to each child in an envelope. On each post-it, have them write an encouraging note to a friend, parent, pastor, sibling, whomever. Give them examples like “Dad: I love how you make me laugh,” or “Mom: I love spending time with you” or “Sibling: You are really good at baseball.”
For younger students who cannot write yet, have them draw a picture and dictate to you their notes.
If your prep time allows: Personalize the envelopes with each student’s name and a sticky note that encourages them individually. Watch for their smiles!
Close in prayer: Thank God that He is a Father of Compassion and pray that each individual knows and demonstrates His love.