This free Bible lesson for preschoolers is based on the story in 1 Kings 18 where Elijah confronts the false prophets of Baal. Please leave your own suggestions to help other readers.
Bible Story: Elijah and the Prophets of Baal
Bible Text: 1 Kings 18:19,21-24,26-28,31,33-39
Target Age: 2 year olds – 5 year olds
Learning Context: Sunday School
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Image Credits: Image courtesy of Sweet Publishing and Distant Shores Media
Learning Objectives: After this lesson, the children will demonstrate an understanding of the story by retelling the story.
- Bible, 1 Kings 18:19,21-24,26-28,31,33-39
- “Elijah and the Prophets of Baal” Story Booklet (print off here)
- Items (in groups of 12) for the children to count (craft sticks, straws, cotton balls, etc.)
- 1-2 sheet of construction paper per child, construction paper cut into rock shapes (12 per child), 2 craft sticks per child, 1 picture of a cow (bull) per child, 1 picture of fire per child (print out available), glue, marker
Teaching Plan: Elijah and the Prophets of Baal
Welcome Activity: Welcome activities are things to have out for the children to do as they are arriving for class. These activities will get them engaged as soon as they arrive and will help the transition from their parents.
- Have items (in groups of 12) for the children to count (craft sticks, straws, cotton balls, etc.) Elijah built his altar using 12 rocks – for the 12 tribes of Israel.
- If the children get done counting the objects, let them use the objects to build with
Bible Lesson Introduction: Talk with the children about being the only one who believed in God. What would they do? Would they keep believing in God? Remind them that they are blessed to have others that believe with them.
Bible Lesson: Read 1 Kings 18:19,21-24,26-28,31,33-39 (NIRV) aloud to the children. There is also a book that you can print out that has the story along with simple pictures to help the children understand what is being read. I highly recommend reading the printable story to these little ones in your class as it is so much easier for them to understand and it gives them simple pictures to look at. Read the verses (story) to the children. If you are using the print out story, point to the pictures as you read the story so that the children can better understand what you are saying.
19 “Now send for people from all over Israel. Tell them to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the 450 prophets of the god Baal. Also bring the 400 prophets of the goddess Asherah. All of them eat at Jezebel’s table.” 21 Elijah went there and stood in front of the people. He said, “How long will it take you to make up your minds? If the Lord is the one and only God, follow him. But if Baal is the one and only God, follow him.” The people didn’t say anything. 22 Then Elijah said to them, “I’m the only one of the Lord’s prophets left. But Baal has 450 prophets. 23 Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves. Let them cut it into pieces. Then let them put it on the wood. But don’t let them set fire to it. I’ll prepare the other bull. I’ll put it on the wood. But I won’t set fire to it. 24 Then you pray to your god. And I’ll pray to the Lord. The god who answers by sending fire down is the one and only God.” Then all of the people said, “What you are saying is good.” 26 So they prepared the bull they had been given. They prayed to Baal from morning until noon. “Baal! Answer us!” they shouted. But there wasn’t any reply. No one answered. Then they danced around the altar they had made. 27 At noon Elijah began to tease them. “Shout louder!” he said. “I’m sure Baal is a god! Perhaps he has too much to think about. Or maybe he has gone to the toilet. Or perhaps he’s away on a trip. Maybe he’s sleeping. You might have to wake him up.” 28 So they shouted louder. 29 It was now past noon. The prophets of Baal continued to prophesy with all their might. They did it until the time came to offer the evening sacrifice. But there wasn’t any reply. No one answered. No one paid any attention. 31 Elijah got 12 stones. There was one for each tribe in the family line of Jacob. 33 He arranged the wood for the fire. He cut the bull into pieces. He placed the pieces on the wood. Then he said to some of the people, “Fill four large jars with water. Pour it on the offering and the wood.” So they did. 34 “Do it again,” he said. So they did it again. “Do it a third time,” he ordered. And they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar. It even filled the ditch. 36 When it was time to offer the evening sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward. He prayed, “Lord, you are the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel. Today let everyone know that you are God in Israel. Let them know I’m your servant. Let them know I’ve done all of these things because you commanded me to. 37 Answer me. Lord, answer me. Then these people will know that you are the one and only God. They’ll know that you are turning their hearts back to you again.”
38 The fire of the Lord came down. It burned up the sacrifice. It burned up the wood and the stones and the soil. It even licked up the water in the ditch. 39 All of the people saw it. Then they fell down flat with their faces toward the ground. They cried out, “The Lord is the one and only God! The Lord is the one and only God!”
Read the story again, but this time have the children build a temple, with blocks, of their own while you are reading.
Discuss the Bible Reading: When you are finished reading the story the second time, ask the children the following questions so that you can know they understood it.
- “Who was in the story?” Elijah, the prophets
- “What did he build?” An altar
- “Why did he build an altar?” To prove God is the One True God
- “Did it work?” Yes
Bible Lesson Craft / Activity
Activity: The Altar. “During our Bible Story today, we learned about Elijah and how he built an altar to God and proved that He is the One True God. We are going to build our own altar today.”
- Give each child their 1-2 sheet of construction paper
- Have them glue their rocks on their paper
- Have them glue the craft stick on top of the rocks
- Then, have them glue the cow on top of the sticks • Finally, glue the fire on top of the cow
- As the children are gluing, walk around and write each child’s name on their paper
- When the children are done, and time permits, have the children tell you the story of Elijah using their altar
Activity: Bible Verse Memorization
“Elijah rebuilt the altar of the Lord. The fire of the Lord came down. It burned up the sacrifice.” 1 Kings 18:30&38
Elijah rebuilt the altar: act like you are building something
Of the Lord: point to heaven
The fire of the Lord came down: raise arms up to the sky and them bring them down It burned up the sacrifice: wave arms in front of body as though nothing is there
1 Kings 18: hold up 10 fingers and then 8 fingers
30: hold up 3 fingers with one hand and make a 0 with the other hand
and 38: hold up 3 fingers with one hand and then hold up 8 fingers (with both hands)
Do this a few times with the children. Make it fun for them to do the motions and say the words. Involving them in active learning is essential for memorization at this age.
Bible Verse Activity: Bible Verse Acting
Have the children act out the Bible Verse.
Evaluation: Have the children retell you the story in their own words.