This free Bible lesson is based on Mark 1:9-15 when, just after Jesus is baptized, He goes into the wilderness and is tempted by Satan, then reemerges to proclaim the good news. It is designed for children’s church or Sunday School. Please modify as best fits your ministry.
If your church follows the Revised Common Lectionary, this teaching plan would correspond to Year B – 1st Sunday in Lent, Gospel Reading – Mark 1:9-15.
Opening Activity – In the Wilderness – Wilderness Preparedness
Supplies – play dough
Give each child play dough and ask them to make one thing they would bring with them for a long camping trip.
Lesson – In the Wilderness
Has anyone here been camping before? Tell me what it’s like.
When I think of camping I think of sleeping bags, bonfires, and looking up at the stars. And bringing lots and lots of stuff.
What items did you all think of?
If I could only bring one thing with me it would be matches, so I can start a fire. No wait! Water, so I have something safe to drink. Oh and a sleeping bag or blanket, so I don’t get cold. But wait! I forgot marshmallows! S’mores are the best part of going camping. But what good would that be without the matches to start the fire.
Ok, let me try this one more time. If I could only bring one thing with me for a long camping trip, it would be a sleeping bag, with built in pockets that could store my matches, water bottles, and marshmallows. Oh, and a flashlight. And a chair. And a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Do you think that counts as just one thing? Ya, I don’t think so. This is so hard! I don’t want to give up any of those things.
You know, I read in the Bible about Jesus going out into the wilderness one time. He stayed out there for a full 40 days. That is one loooooonnnnngggggg camping trip.
What do you think He brought with Him on this trip?
Do you want to know the answer? Nothing. Seriously, nothing. As in, no sleeping bags. No water bottles. Not even marshmallows.
Jesus went out into the wilderness to prepare Himself. He was about to choose His disciples and travel all over preaching the good news of salvation. He knew just how important this was, so Jesus wanted to make sure there weren’t any distractions. Just Jesus and God talking to each other. No food. No drink. No friends. No distractions.
Have you ever tried to talk to God and been distracted? Maybe you hear your favorite TV show is about to start, or you can’t stop eating your milk and cookies. There might be toys to play with, friends to talk to, or a happy dog just wanting to be pet. It can all get very distracting, and the next thing you know, it’s an hour later and all you’ve said is “Dear God,”
It happens to all of us, but thankfully Jesus showed us just what to do. We need to go into the wilderness and bring nothing with us.
Now, I don’t mean the actual wilderness, I just mean somewhere that we can be alone with God, and have no distractions. Maybe it’s sitting at the dinner table, kneeling by your bed, or even plopped on top of a pile of dirty towels in the the laundry room. As long as it’s somewhere that you can be alone with God, and away from distractions.
You could also try saying your prayers out loud to cover up any noise around you. You could turn your prayer into a song or a poem. Or making a list of things to pray about so you don’t get distracted and forget anything.
But the most important thing to remember is that God just wants to hear from you. No matter if your prayer is long or short, fancy or simple, silly or serious, from inside of a church, or from under your bed, God just wants to hear from you.
Activity A – In the Wilderness – Bible Verse Challenge
Supplies – Bibles
Verse – Mark 1:12-13
Pass out Bibles to students. Bibles should be closed and sitting on the table face up in front of each child. When you say go, have the kids look up this week’s Bible verse. As each child finds the verse, have them stick one finger on the verse and quietly raise their other hand. The first one to find the verse gets to read it to the rest of the class.
Help younger kids and new kids find the verse by following these steps.
Look in the Table of Contents for the book you are looking for. Make an effort to show them if it is found in the Old Testament or New Testament to help them in the future. Then open the Bible to the page number listed in the Table of Contents.
Show them the large numbers in the text, known as the chapters. Flip through pages until you find the large chapter number you are looking for.
Then scan through the text with them pointing out the smaller verse numbers until the correct number is found.
Activity B – In the Wilderness – Prayers Going Round
Supplies – nothing
Have kids sit in a circle and practice praying together. Start the prayer with ‘Dear God, today we thank you for…” followed by something beginning with the letter A.
Example: “Dear God, today we thank you for aunts.”
Next, the person to your right must repeat the previous prayer, and add something with the letter B.
Example: “Dear God, today we thank you for aunts, and the Bible.”
Continue your prayer around the room, adding a new letter with each turn. After you make it through the whole alphabet, have the children bow their heads and recite the prayer together.
Closing Prayer – In the Wilderness
Ask for a volunteer to pray for the class before leaving, and encourage them to thank God for giving us prayer, so we can speak to Him anytime and anywhere.
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