Inward Groaning and Holy Heroes … Object Lesson in Holy Spirit Power

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This visual chat provides a bit of a reminder for kids of the awesome capabilities of God, as well as what it means to allow the Holy Spirit to work through us. Gather students together and have a talk about human limitations and Holy Spirit boundlessness.
Appropriate age range: 5-11
Verses referenced: Romans 8:18-27
Hold up images of several well-known super heroes or comic book characters. Ask children to identify who the heroes are, and what special abilities they are able to do. Make sure to include people with power or strength beyond normal human function, and emphasize how their bodies are different than ours. At the end of the pictures, hold up a blank piece of paper. This will eventually come back to represent the Holy Spirit…or if the kids are particularly perceptive, it might wind up being “Invisible Man” (might be words of experience there…).
Explain to students how these heroes are fun to watch and read about because they can do things that we know we are not capable of. It would be awesome to fly, or lift cars, or leap over buildings…but our human bodies are limited in what we are able to do.  As kids, there are probably certain things that are impossible due to physical or age restrictions. As adults, we often recognize all too well the limitations and breaking down of our bodies. Fortunately, though, these bodies are not a permanent home, but merely a tent for now. And the good news is that we will one day be able to “trade in” our old tents for something much better. This can be tough to grasp now, but we can hope in the truth of it…refer kids to Romans 8.
Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.  -Romans 8:23-25
We know that one day we will no longer have physical limitations. We cannot be sure what that looks like just yet. It might not be laser eyes or super muscles or amazing jumping power…or perhaps it will be! But we can trust that God will do what He promised in providing new life. And God gives another amazing promise: the Holy Spirit, which is the third part of the Trinity. Sometimes, when we talk to God, we have a hard time knowing what to say. We know God loves us and wants us to bring our cares and concerns to Him. But we can’t always be sure of just how to do that. The good news is that the Spirit can fill in the blanks for us. The Holy Spirit interprets our longings and our groans, and speaks for us to God the Father.
 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.  -Romans 8:26-27
Like hope, the Holy Spirit is not something we can readily see with everyday eyes. But we can feel it. We can trust and know it is there. And that provides another kind of hope, which lasts not just for earthly life time, but forever.
Close things out with a prayer, thanking God for the Holy Spirit and the hope of life with Him in the future. As a reminder and representation of the Holy Spirit, provide each child with a piece of dove chocolate as a fun take-away (since doves often show up as a sign of peace or the Spirit). Go in peace, and serve the Lord!

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