Children to -:
Learn to pray and put God first before doing or starting anything.
Know the importance of working together.
Trust that God gives us success when we put Him first and work in unity.
Bible Story Reference:
Colossians 3:14 -[GNB] And to all these qualities add love, which binds all things together in perfect unity.
In the past 2 weeks, we have learnt about fruitfulness and peace. We have been praying that God will bless our nation with fruitfulness and peace. Ask: How many made peace with those around them by saying sorry? Who forgave those who wronged them? (Allow the children to respond) Romans 12:18 tells us that we should do the best we can to live in peace with everyone
This week, we will learn about unity and pray that God will bless our nation with unity. Unity means not divided. It also means being one, or oneness.
Our Bible story will help us understand the importance of working together in unity. (While telling the story of Nehemiah rebuilding the walls you can have the children participate by doing these actions- when you say Walls- the children raise both hands up, and when you say walls broken, they lower their hands.
(Have a child read: Nehemiah 1:1-4)
Nehemiah was serving as king Artaxerxes’ cupbearer in Susa, the capital of Persia. While in this land, his brother Hanani and another group arrived to him from Judah and he asked them about Jerusalem and how it was fairing. They informed Nehemiah that those who survived and returned from exile to their homeland were in great difficulty and were despised by the foreigners around them. They also informed him that the walls of Jerusalem were still broken down and the gates had never been restored since the time they were burned. When he heard this, he sat down and wept. For several days he mourned and did not eat but prayed to God. He repented of his sin and the sins of his people. He was deeply concerned about Jerusalem.
(Have a child read: Nehemiah 2:6-9)
God granted him favour before the king who allowed him to go to Judah and rebuild the city as he had requested. He also got letters from the king to hand to governors whom he would pass through their territories, as well as letters to be supplied with construction timber and the king gave him army officers to go with Him. The king gave Nehemiah everything he asked for and more because God was with him. He came up with a plan and urged the people to rise up and rebuild the walls and gates to end their disgrace. He explained how God had been with him and how he had obtained favour from the king. The people responded, “Let’s start rebuilding!”(ask children to repeat – Let’s start rebuilding) And they got ready to start the work. They faced opposition but that did not stop them from working.
In the whole of chapter 3 we see how the rebuilding work was done in unity. The different gates, for example, the Sheep Gate, Fish Gate, Jeshanah Gate, Valley Gate, Dung Gate, Fountain Gate, Water Gate, Horse Gate, Inspection Gate and different sections of the walls were built by people of different social status, families and skills. Everyone took part and performed different tasks together;
i) Eliashib the high priest and his fellow priests contributed in rebuilding and dedication of the Sheep Gate (Neh 3:1)
ii) Uzziel a gold-smith and Hananiah a perfume-maker took part in repairing (Neh 3:8)
iii) Individuals such as Joiada, Meshullam, Malkijah, Nehemiah (a different one) and also sons of particular families, for example, sons of Hassenaah (Verse 3) rebuilt and laid doors, beams, bolts and bars. (The names sound a little hard, ask the children to try mention a few of the names)
iv) Read Neh 3:12 – Shallum, son of Hallohesh, ruler of a half-district of Jerusalem, repaired the next section of the wall with the help of his daughters (it’s interesting that even daughters took part in rebuilding)
v) However, some failed to join in the task though that did not stop the work, the committed did the work passionately. Read Nehemiah 3:5 ”The men of Tekoa built the next section, but the leading men of the town refused to do the manual labor assigned to them by the supervisors.” Under the leadership of Nehemiah, God’s people were mobilized to rebuild, they encountered challenges but eventually overcame and finished the work in fifty two days. In the same way, God stirred up the hearts of the Jews through Nehemiah to unite, work together and rebuild the walls.
1.What did Nehemiah desire to do? Rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
2. What do you learn from Nehemiah’s prayer to God? He put prayer first before doing anything and God granted Him favour in doing His work.
3. As children, do you think you have roles to play towards unity in our nation? Yes! Praying for unity, actively mobilizing others to do what pleases God, using the gifts and talents we have to bring people together for good tasks.
4. What things can unite us as a nation? Coming together during Africa Children’s Prayer Day, church fellowship, singing the national anthem, learning to use a common language that does not discriminate others, holding national prayer breakfast, praying for our leaders and for a peaceful nation, keeping the environment clean, serving the needy in our community together, etc
• Praying together – We have been set apart in this season to pray for unity in our nation and participate in even tiny moves that are meant to unite our nation.
• Serving together – As believers, we are called to care for the lives of people spiritually; through sharing the Good News, discipling them and reaching out to the unreached (it is so good when we do it together.).
• Working together – Even if others are seeking fights and division, let us pray for and work towards unity. As the body has different parts and they all have unique functions, so are we; We are the body of Christ. Each one of us is a part of it and we therefore have roles to play in unity. Let us pray that God will speak to us through His Word to put our hearts and hands to His work diligently – men and women, children, leaders, government officials, pastors, young, old and everyone in our nation. Let us use whatever gift God has given us to ensure we work in unity – especially us Christians so that others can follow the godly example