Upper Elementary

Never Give Up!

Lesson 9 

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Summer 2019

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By: Suzanne Gosselin 

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July 28, 2019

Lesson Focus:

Keep on praying.

Bible Basis:

Luke 11:1-13 Luke 18:1-8

Materials Needed:

Step 1:

  • Internet access

Summary & Links:

Students will watch a video clip from the movie Rudy to help them explore the benefit and value of praying with persistence.

Memory Verse:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
— Matthew 7:7

Step 1:

Students will watch a video clip from the movie Rudy to help them explore the benefit and value of praying with persistence.

Materials Needed:

  • Internet access
  • Have you ever worked really hard to succeed at something? (Students may talk about earning money to make a big purchase, training for an athletic achievement or studying for a test or presentation.)

Working hard at something and sticking with it is called persistence.

  • What benefits did you experience from being persistent? (Answers will vary.)

Listen to this definition of persistence. Persistence is “continuing to act or exist longer than usual.” A persistent person ignores obstacles and doesn’t give up. A persistent person keeps trying, keeps asking, and keeps showing up.

  • Have you ever met a persistent person? What stood out about him or her? (Students may talk about how this person was inspiring, annoying, got things done, etc.)

Let me tell you a story about a persistent person. Daniel Ruettiger (nicknamed “Rudy”) was born in 1948, the third of fourteen children. From the time he was a young boy, he wanted to attend the University of Notre Dame and play for the Fighting Irish football team.  

By the end of high school, Rudy’s dream seemed unlikely to come true. He was from a poor family, didn’t have outstanding grades, and was only 5 ft. 6 in. and 165 pounds—college football players need to be big, and Rudy wasn’t big!

After serving in the military and working for several years, Rudy applied and was rejected from Notre Dame three times. But he never gave up. He started attending Holy Cross College nearby. During this time, he found out that he had dyslexia, a learning disability that made schoolwork difficult. Still, Rudy continued to work hard to achieve his dream. Finally, after two years at Holy Cross, Rudy was accepted as a student at Notre Dame.

Rudy still dreamed of playing football. After a lot of hard work, Rudy earned a place on a practice squad that helped the varsity team train for games. He helped the other players practice, but never played in the actual games himself.

At the very last football game of Rudy’s time at Notre Dame, the coach put him in the game as a defensive end. The 1993 movie, Rudy, shows what happened next.

Share the following video [2:41]:
Rudy’s Victory — Rudy’s movie CLIP

After all of his hard work and persistence, Rudy played in three plays. And in the final play of his senior year at Notre Dame, Rudy recorded a sack, which is all his Notre Dame stat line has ever shown. Rudy was one of two players in Notre Dame history to be carried off the field by his teammates. He also went on to be a motivational speaker, inspiring people all over the world with his story. 

  • What do you find inspirational about Rudy’s story? (Students may talk about how Rudy didn’t give up even when it seemed like everything was working against him. He didn’t believe it was impossible for him to play football for Notre Dame.)
  • Do you think Rudy’s persistence paid off? Why or why not? (Some students may wonder if all of the effort was worth it to play three plays; most will probably think it did because Rudy achieved his dream and inspired others.)

Being persistent can bring about a lot of positive things in our lives. When we stay focused on the goal and continue to show up, we can accomplish great things. Jesus taught His disciples about being persistent in prayer, too. He told them to keep asking God for what they needed. Let’s look at what the Bible says about being persistent in prayer and the difference it can make.

Additional Resources:
Kids definition of persistent
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/persistent

Wikipedia – Rudy Ruettiger
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudy_Ruettiger

AGAINST ALL ODDS
https://www.rudyinternational.com

Looking for Steps 2, 3 & 4?

You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide. To purchase a teacher’s guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes.

Step 4:

Materials Needed:

  • Doorway templates printed on colored cardstock (1 per student; template here)
  • White cardstock (1 sheet per student)
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • Pen/pencils

Before class, print out enough doorway templates on colored cardstock so that each student has a copy.

Rudy may not have become a star football player, but his persistence gained him many advantages along the way. Listen to a few of them: He went to a prestigious college and graduated. He overcame a learning disability. He learned the value of hard work. He earned the respect of his teammates. And ultimately, he got to fulfill his dream of playing football for Notre Dame. Not to mention he had a movie made about him that has inspired countless people!

Our memory verse tells us that being persistent in prayer also has benefits. Have a volunteer read the memory verse, Matthew 7:7. Jesus tells us to ask, and God will give us what we ask for. He tells us to seek, and we will find. He says knock, and the door will be opened. Talking to God about everything and being persistent in prayer changes our circumstances and it changes us!

Hand each student a sheet of white cardstock, a doorway template, and a pen or pencil. Make scissors and glue sticks available. Show your preteens how to use the scissors to pierce the doorway template on the dotted line and cut along the dotted line (bottom, right side, and top). Then have them fold the door open on the left side like it is on hinges. Use a glue stick to affix the doorway sheet to the solid white piece of cardstock. Be sure not to put glue on the door itself so that it can open and close. Once completed, your students should be able to open their door to reveal an area of white cardstock where they can write.

Encourage your students to think about something they have been praying about for a long time. Or maybe they haven’t been praying about that thing because they weren’t sure God would answer or help. Instruct your preteens to open the door and write down something inside they want to pray for regularly.  You may want them to write today’s memory verse across the top of their doorway.

Think about something you need to be praying about every day. Maybe you need help to overcome a challenge at school or avoid temptation. Maybe there’s a person you know who doesn’t know Christ, and you want to pray for that person’s salvation. Or you may have a dream God has given you, and you need to pray that He opens the door for you to accomplish it.

Give your students a few moments to think and write. Post your door in a place where it can remind you to pray with persistence. Just like the widow kept coming before the judge over and over until He gave her what she wanted, you can pray asking God for the things you want and need. 

As you talk to God regularly, you can expect distractions and difficulties to come your way. The enemy doesn’t want you to access the power of prayer. When that happens, just keep praying! God hears you, and He loves you. He is waiting to answer you and give you good things.

If time permits invite (but do not require) volunteers to share what they wrote in their doorways.

Close in prayer.

Spread the word

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