Children & Youth Programme

World Day of Prayer Children’s Programme

Prepared by the WDP Committee of England, Wales and Northern Ireland – March 4, 2022

“I Know the Plans I Have For You”

Preparation for the facilitators

This programme is designed for children ages 5 to 12, and youths ages 13 to 18. There are several activities for each group, please read the full programme to plan accordingly. Also, please note that some of the activities may require preparation.

It is recommended that the Leaders for the Children’s and Youth Programmes familiarise themselves with the Bible Study and Country Background beforehand.

Theme

“I Know the Plans I Have for You”, based on Jeremiah 29:1-14 (New Century Bible), which for the Children’s and Youth programme carries the message that God is always with them, and God gives us hope at all times:

  • when we are happy or sad or in between
  • when bad things happen to us
  • in times of change, disappointments and loss
  • at times of joy and celebration.

For the Leader

Talk to the children about how we find out about what has happened during the day. Ask them for suggestions (ex: radio, newspapers, television, friends, school, etc.). Maybe have one or two newspapers to look at.

All these things tell us what happened yesterday or what happened last week. The Bible has stories that happened in the past. Our story today is based on what the prophet Jeremiah told the people of Judah after they had to leave their land. They were sad and the job of the prophet was to keep the hope for the future, a future that is for God to give them.

‘I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future….And I will bring you back from your captivity…. And I will bring you back to this place’. (Jeremiah 29:11-14).

We trust that God has plans for all of us and we know that we should hope for a good future.

Encourage the children to talk about what they would hope to do, where they would hope to go, what they think God may have planned for them.

Use the Postcard template for them to draw or write ‘My hopes are….’.

Song: ‘God has a Plan for Me’ by Martha Bolton and Bob Singleton. CCLI#5623161, © Agnes Day Music & Sky Taylor Music

or

‘He’s got the Whole World in His Hands’

Leader: There are some times when we have to do things we don’t want to do, or go places that we don’t want to go and say goodbye to friends. These could be times when we are sad and unhappy. This is the story of a young girl who has come to England from a long way away.

Anisa’s story: (Important note: This could be dramatized or mimed as it is read, but this is at the discretion of the leader who should be sensitive to the children’s individual situations.)

Leader: Have you ever been somewhere where you didn’t know many people? What did that feel like? Sometimes people have to leave their homes to go somewhere for safety. They may become refugees like Anisa. This is her story:

Anisa: ‘My name is Anisa. I am 5 years old and I live in England now, but I came from Iran. My mummy, daddy and me came here in the back of a very large truck. We had to hide behind lots of big crates and be very quiet. We had to leave our country because there were people there who seemed very angry at us and made us feel frightened. Even mummy and daddy were scared and said we would have to leave home and go away. I cried and didn’t want to go, but mummy told me that God would help us and keep us safe’.

Leader: What thing would you miss more than anything else if you had to leave your home?

Anisa: ‘The journey was so long and we were very tired and uncomfortable. There was another family with us too, and we were often sick. We were hungry and thirsty. I tried not to cry, but I missed my own home and my doll that I loved very much. It was dark and very cold when we climbed out of the truck. We only had the clothes we were wearing. My daddy carried me across a field and along a road. I know that mummy was very frightened and I was too. I don’t remember where we fell asleep the first night here. Everything seems very muddled now.’

Leader: What do you think it would feel like not to have a home or friends? How important is it to have a friend? How can you be a good friend to someone – maybe someone new to your school?

Anisa: ‘We have lived in different places until we got to this town. Now we have a rented flat and I go to primary school. This is where I met Susan. I was learning English and we could talk. She became my friend. She knew that I was feeling sad and scared. I was always feeling cold and hungry. Susan told her grandma about me. Her grandma went to her church and they contacted another church where many Iranians met together. They came and brought us some more clothes, bedding and some toys for me! My favourite is a baby doll with knitted clothes that Susan’s grandma gave me.’

Leader: So many small things can make a very big difference, can’t they? God will always give you something to hope for and changes will happen.

Anisa: ‘I am so happy to live here now. My daddy has got a job and my mummy is studying at the local college because she wants to be a nurse. Now I am glad that we came here – even though we still miss our first home and my family there. Now I know that God had a plan for us.’

Leader: We know that there are many people from many different countries who are trying to find a new home, sometimes far away from their own country. They have to travel on long dangerous journeys and say goodbye to their families and friends. They want freedom and safety and God will give them hope for the future.

Prayer Ideas

Use one or more of these ideas to share the children’s prayers:

  • PRAISE: Use a sheet or length of fabric as a `parachute’. All the children hold an edge of the fabric and raise it together saying:
    We lift our thanks to you! We thank you for…..and go round each child as they say something they are thankful for, as they lift the ‘parachute’ each time.
  • With the children sitting around in a circle, pass a stone around. As each child holds the stone they are asked to think of something they may need to say SORRY for and ask God to forgive them.
  • HOPSCOTCH PRAYERS: Draw out a grid with numbers 1 – 6 on the ground. Use a pebble or stone to throw into each number in turn. When it lands, the child must hop to each number in turn and on the number with the pebble pray for the corresponding topic:
    1. Thanks: Say thank you to God for one thing today.
    2. Sorry/Forgiveness: Is there something the child needs to say sorry to God for and ask for forgiveness? For wrong words, actions or even attitude?
    3. Please: Think of the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland and ask God to bless them, especially the children and the young people there today.
    4. Thanks: Think of two more things to be thankful for….
    5. Please: A prayer for their own family and friends today.
    6. Hope: Think of something they would hope for in the future.

Conclude with:

Dear God, we thank you for keeping Anisa safe and giving her and her family a happy future. We pray for all the many children who have had to leave their homes and travel to new places to feel safe. Watch over them when they are sad or frightened and give them hope. We are sorry for the times when we have done things we know are wrong, the times when we have upset others by saying or doing things that are unkind. Thank you that, like a loving father and mother, you forgive us and help us to forgive others. Thank you that you give us hope for the future. Amen.

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Leader’s notes

These activities have been laid out in a cohesive manner for a reflective youth session. Through the various activities, the theme is: “I Know the Plans I Have for You”, based on Jeremiah 29:1-14 (New Century Bible), which emphasizes that God is with them through the good and the bad with a hope-filled purpose and vision for their life.

Pastoral guidelines for leaders

In order to create a safe space for sharing, please follow these guidelines.
1) Everything shared in this group should be kept confidential – the exception to this is if a person is at risk of harming themselves or others.
2) Seek to accept and not judge what is said – a safe space respects everyone.
3) Work within your own safeguarding and good practice guidelines.
4) Take care of yourself too – if something is difficult, please make sure that you have someone to talk to.

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