NOTE: This lesson contains material and visual accounts that may be difficult for those who have experienced similar events first hand in your area. As the teacher, you will know best how to handle this sensitive situation.
The path of damage that tornadoes leave behind can span one mile wide and 50 miles long, often putting thousands of people in harm’s way. Recently, various states have experienced severe tornadoes, killing and injuring several people and leaving many without homes. After the twisters moved on, major flooding ruined even more houses and buildings.
Life can be filled with hardship and difficulty. God does not promise us an easy path, nor does He always answer prayer the way we hope He will. It can be a challenge to stay encouraged and trust God when the troubles and pains of life seem overwhelming and He seems to be silent. And it is even more difficult to see a purpose in it all. As you watch this video, consider what the people in the midst of these tornadoes may have been asking God.
Share this video with your students [:58]:
Violent tornado hits Missouri’s capital…
- What do you think the people in Missouri were praying for before and during the tornadoes? (Answers will vary but might include: that the tornado would not reach their homes; that their families would be safe, etc.)
- Why do you think that God did not respond the way some of them had hoped? (Answers will vary—accept all reasonable answers, but reserve possible biblical answers for Step 2 lesson material.)
- Have you ever gone through a difficult time and committed it to prayer, but it did not seem as if God was listening? Tell us about it. (Answers will vary. As students share, acknowledge how difficult that must have been, but do not offer theological answers.)
- Can you share about a time when you received an answer to your prayers but it was not what you had hoped? (Answers will vary; be prepared to share your own experience.)
Even when God seems to be silent, we can rely on the fact that He hears our prayers during difficult circumstances. Let’s find out more about what happens when we pray.
Looking for Steps 2, 3 & 4?
You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide. For upper elementary, middle school, and high school your Step 4 appears below. For adult, use the Step 4 in your teacher’s guide. To purchase a teacher’s guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes.
Waiting on God to answer our prayers can be difficult. But we have learned that Paul teaches us to be thankful in all things. Sometimes this means we must remain faithful during times when He asks us to wait on His timing and at other times when He tells us no because He has something better in mind for His kingdom. In light of what we’ve learned about God’s answers to prayer, think about a time when it felt as if God did not hear your prayer as we do this activity together.
Hand out paper and writing utensils to your students. Ask them to think about a time when it seemed that God did not hear their prayers. Have them write down the occasion and take time to remember how they felt during that difficult time.
Next, ask your students to turn their paper over and write a letter to God about how it made them feel when it seemed as if He did not hear their prayer. Encourage them to read the letter to God throughout the rest of the week and spend time listening for Him to share how He was ministering to them and for them during that time even if they couldn’t see it. Encourage them to jot down things He impresses on their hearts—things He spared them from, things to be thankful for, what they learned about trusting Him in the process, etc.
Close in prayer. Ask God to reveal to the students what He was trying to teach them when it seemed like He was silent or did not answer their prayers how they wanted Him to. Ask God to show them this week how to accept His answer to prayers even when it isn’t the answer they are hoping for.
(For our adult customers: we are not affiliated with and do not endorse any website or any other media listed on these pages. At the time of writing, our editors carefully review the referenced material and non-references web page content. However, due to the nature of the Internet, non-cited content on the website [including pop-ups, links, and ads] changes frequently and is beyond our control. Please review carefully before showing links in the classroom.)
(For our upper elementary, middle school, and high school customers: David C Cook is not affiliated with and does not endorse any website or any other media listed on these pages. At the time of writing, David C Cook editors carefully review the referenced material and non-referenced web page content. However, due to the nature of the Internet, non-cited content on the website [including pop-ups, links, and ads] changes frequently and is beyond our control. Please review carefully before shoeing links in the classroom.)