God wants children to pray for children who have never heard of Jesus.
Jonah chapters 1 to 4.
Jonah was a prophet in Israel and one day the Lord told Jonah to go to a city
called Nineveh and warn the people of what would happen if they didn't turn
away from doing wicked things. "I won't go!" he shouted and decided to
run away as far as he could go in the opposite direction. Is it right
for us to disobey God? (Let the children respond).
Anyway, Jonah went to a city called Joppa that was by the sea and looked for a
ship that was sailing far away. He eventually found one that was going
to a city called Tarshish. "Here captain," he cried, "Take my fare.
I want to sail away as soon as possible!"
What do you think he thought as he sailed away that day and watched the shore
disappear over the horizon? (Let the children respond). As the
ship sailed toward Tarshish, Jonah went below deck and found a bed to lie
on. He knew that he was wrong and was disobeying God. When you
do wrong things, do you feel really bad afterwards? (Let the
Jonah said to himself, "Ha, I got away with it. Now the Lord won't be
able to send me to Nineveh and put my life in danger from all those
wicked people who live there! I'm sure they would have stoned me alive
if I tried to warn them that God is going to destroy them. No!
Not me!!" And with that happy thought he stretched out and fell fast
Do you then lie and try to cover up what you have done? (Let the children
respond). I'm sure that only makes you feel worse!
In the meantime, God knew exactly what Jonah was doing. God then sent a
strong wind and soon a furious storm was raging around the ship. The
waves beat against the ship from all sides almost causing it to sink.
The sailors and the captain were afraid, and so the captain begged Jonah to
pray to his God so that they could all be saved. What do you think
Jonah did? (Let the children respond
). I think that he just
turned over and fell asleep again!
The sailors hung on for dear life and were afraid the ship would soon break up.
They even started throwing the cargo into the sea to make the ship
lighter. The crew finally realised that the storm was caused by
someone's wickedness. They got together to find out whose fault it was
that such a bad storm had come upon them. The sailors cast lots and
the lot fell to Jonah and finally they shouted to the captain, "It must be
that man Jonah's fault!"
It's My Fault!
During all this commotion Jonah had been asleep. The sailors woke him up
and dragged Jonah up to the main deck. "Who are you?" they shouted.
Jonah timidly replied, "I'm a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God
of Heaven, who made the sea and the land."
"We've found him, Captain," the sailors cried, "It's his fault that this
terrible storm has come upon us." The captain frowned at Jonah, "My
good man, what have you done wrong? Pray to your God and perhaps He
will help us!" Jonah hung his head in shame and muttered, "I know why
this storm has come. It's because I'm running away from God."
The sea in the meantime was getting rougher and rougher. The sailors
begged Jonah, "What can we do, man?" Jonah cried out, "Just throw me
into the sea and then the storm would stop!" The sailors at first
didn't want to do this, so they tried to row the ship to the shore, but the
storm only grew worse. At last the captain shouted, "It's no good men,
we will have to throw the Hebrew into to sea!"
Swallowed by a Giant Fish!
Reluctantly they threw Jonah into the sea and they could hardly believe it
when the sea ceased its raging and the waves died down, and all became quiet
and peaceful. "Truly he served a big God," remarked one sailor, "What
a pity that he had to die this way." But that was not to be, God sent
a huge fish to swallow Jonah. We think it was it might have been a
whale. The fish opened its enormous mouth and swallowed Jonah.
All of him, as though he was just a little fish!
Jonah felt himself sliding down the fish's throat and landed with a splash in
its stomach. What do you think it was like to be in a fish's stomach?
(Let the children respond). I am sure it stank. As
the fish swam and dived, every now and then Jonah would let out a yell, "Oh
no, not again!" And a wave of stomach juices would roll over his head
and he would fight for breath. This went on for three days and three
nights until Jonah was sure that the next time this happened he would be a
I'll Obey Now!
Finally Jonah pitifully cried out to the Lord, "I'm ready to do what You want
me to do." God heard Jonah's prayer and told the fish to vomit Jonah
onto dry land. God then spoke to Jonah a second time and said, "Go to
the city called Nineveh and tell the people the message I gave you before."
This time, Jonah wasted no time and went straight to Nineveh and
warned the people, "In forty days time the city will be destroyed!"
I am sure that Jonah looked a sight, all bleached white by the fish's juices.
The people must have asked what had happened to him. After he
had told them his experiences in the fish's stomach, they believed God and
stopped their wicked ways. The people fasted and prayed and when God
saw how they had turned from their evil ways, He forgave them and did not
destroy their city.
Jonah was angry with the Lord for not destroying the people of Nineveh as he
felt they should have been punished for their evil ways. But, the Lord
spoke again to Jonah, and taught him to pray for the people and care for
them. Just as Jonah had cared for a little plant that had grown up and
sheltered him from the sun.
God's wants us to live according to the Bible. In John 14:23-24
"If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching,
My Father will love him
and We will come to him,
and make our home with him."
This means that God wants us to do the right things and always try to please
God. When we do wrong, we can say sorry to Jesus and ask Him to forgive
us and change us inside so that we will never want do it again. Obeying
God shows that we love Him. The verse also says that God will not only
love us, but that God and Jesus will live in our hearts! Remember, don't
be like disobedient Jonah! Obey God and your parents, and then God's
blessings will rest on you every day.
God does not only want you to love and serve Him, He wants you to talk to many
children today who have never heard of Jesus and that He loves them. We
need to pray for these children and care for them. You can tell them
about Jesus and how he died, so that they can go to Heaven one day and live
there forever. Perhaps like the people of Ninevah, they will listen and
ask Jesus be their Best Friend!