Use this children’s Sunday School lesson about Isaiah and King Hezekiah to teach kids about prayer.
Needed: Bibles, dice, index cards with weapons or God on them,
Intro Game: Raising the Dice
Divide students into two teams and give each time a six-sided die. The first student from each team runs up to a table and rolls their dice. The student with the highest roll gets a point for their team.
The trick is that each team can help their player. As the students are rolling their die, the teams cheer. The team that’s the loudest gets to add one number to their player’s die roll. So, if Team A’s player rolls a 3, but their team is cheering the loudest, you’ll count that player’s roll as a 4.
Students re-roll in case of a tie, but only if the tie occurs after you add the cheering bonus.
After the first two students roll and you determine who gets the point, those students run back to their teams, hand off their die, and the next students run up. The team with the most points after everyone has rolled wins.
Explain that when we pray for someone, it’s like we’re cheering for them. We’re asking God to help them. God doesn’t have to answer all of our prayers, but our prayers for someone else can help God decide to help that person.
Say, We’ve been reading and learning about the kings and prophets of Israel. Remember that the people of Israel actually had two kingdoms, Judah and the new country of Israel because the country of Israel had split when King Solomon’s son, King Rehoboam, wanted to make the people work too hard. Usually, both kingdoms had bad kings who didn’t believe in God and didn’t do the right things God wanted them to do. They believed in fake gods and did wrong things.
(Read 2 Kings 18-20 with your students or read the following story as a summary.)
But then, Hezekiah became the king of Judah. King Hezekiah was a good king. He believed only in God and told the people not to believe in the fake gods anymore. God was happy with King Hezekiah, and so God always helped Hezekiah defeat his enemies when another country came to attack Judah.
One time, though, a very powerful country, the country of Assyria, sent their army to attack Judah. The commander of the Assyrian army came up to the walls of Jerusalem and said, “We have conquered many countries already. Now, we will conquer Judah. All those other people believed in their gods, but none of their gods could help them. Now, your God won’t be able to help you either.”
Why do you think the other gods couldn’t help the other countries that the Assyrians conquered? (Because the other gods aren’t real. They can’t do anything to help anyone.)
But can the real God help people? (Yes.)
Can the real God help Judah and King Hezekiah win against the Assyrians? (Yes.)
So, the prophet Isaiah came and told King Hezekiah, “The Assyrians think God can’t help us win, so God is going to show them what He can do.”
Game: Army vs. God
Print out pictures or write the names of various weapons (such as swords, spears, and shields) and the word “God” on a set of index cards. You should have an equal number of cards that have weapons as God.
Divide students into two teams and have the teams line up on separate sides of the room in single file lines. Mix up the cards and give each student a card randomly. Set a timer for 3-5 minutes, depending on how many students you have. When you say Go! the first student on both teams run toward each and show each other their cards.
If one has a weapon and the other says God, the student with God scores a point for their team. The person with a weapon does not score. If both say God, both score a point, and if both have a weapon, neither does. Both return to the back of their lines and trade their cards for a new card.
As soon as they leave the center, the second two players run up and do the same thing. Play continues until the timer runs out. The team with the most points at the end wins.
That night, God sent an angel to the Assyrian camp. The angel killed 185,000 of the Assyrian soldiers while they were sleeping. The next morning, the rest of the Assyrians woke up and saw all the bodies of the dead soldiers. They were so afraid of God that they left Judah and went back to their own country.
And that’s how God saved Judah and King Hezekiah from the Assyrian army.
A little while later, though, King Hezekiah got very sick. The prophet Isaiah came to him and said, “Hezekiah, God says that you’re not going to get better. You’re going to die.” Then, Isaiah walked back out of King Hezekiah’s palace.
Hezekiah was very sad, so he prayed to God. He said, “God, remember that I believe in You and that I always do the right things that you want me to do. Please help me to get better and let me live a little while longer.”
Do you think God should answer King Hezekiah’s prayer and let him live?
Remember that God doesn’t answer every prayer. He doesn’t have to answer our prayers even if we do believe in Him and follow Him. God will take us all to Heaven when we die if we believe in Him, but He doesn’t always heal us when we get sick. Sometimes, God lets people die.
But this time, God did heal Hezekiah. Isaiah was still walking out of the palace when God told him to go back to King Hezekiah. God said, “Tell Hezekiah that I have heard his prayer and that I will heal him and let him live for another 15 years.”
Do you think it was nice for God to heal Hezekiah and let him live longer?
God doesn’t heal everyone, but sometimes, He does do miracles like that.
The king of Babylon heard that Hezekiah had been sick, so he sent some messengers to bring him a gift and to say that he hoped he felt better. When the messengers got there, though, Hezekiah was all healed. Then, Hezekiah took the messengers all around his palace and showed them all the gold and treasures that he had. King Hezekiah was very proud of how much money he had, and he liked showing off his treasure to the messengers.
Do you think God wants us to show off our things? (No.)
It’s okay to have nice things, but God doesn’t want us to show off or be proud of those things.
So, the prophet Isaiah came to King Hezekiah and said, “One day, after you die, the army of Babylon will come and conquer Judah and Jerusalem. They will steal all your treasures and take it back to Babylon with them.”
King Hezekiah was sorry that he had shown off, but he was happy that God would make the Babylonians wait until after he was dead for them to come and conquer his country.
Game: Angel Attack!
Divide the kids into two teams. One team will spread out in your play area and pretend to be the sleeping Assyrians. With their eyes closed, they’ll listen for the angels (the other team) coming to sneak up on them. The angels will tap the sleeping Assyrians. If they tap an Assyrian, that Assyrian stays quiet and is out when the round is over. The angels get a point for every Assyrian they tag.
If the Assyrians hear any movement before the angels tap them, they raise the alarm, and the round is over. The two teams switch roles.
Play three rounds. The team with the most points at the end wins.
Lord, we thank You for the good example of King Hezekiah. We also pray that You’ll help us to trust You even when You don’t answer our prayers like we want You to. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Kings and Prophets.