Jacob's Prayer Rock

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Jacob's Prayer Rock

Janice Green 2005

Welcome the children.

Did you ever have a place that was special to you in some way? (Give one or two children a chance to share.)

Tell about Abram/Abraham and Jacob who was his grandson:

Abram was a man chosen by God to become the father of all his special people he chose to lead and protect in the Old Testament.   God wanted him to move away from his family and live in the place God would lead him to.  One special place for Abram was called “Bethel.”  Abram stayed there for a little while and the Bible tells us he sought God while he was there.  He also built an altar to God near that place.

A few years later, Abram was moving to Egypt for a while because there was a terrible famine where he had been living.   A famine meant there was very little food and people were starving.  After the famine was over, Abram moved back to Bethel where he had lived earlier and he lived there for some time.   And again the Bible says that, Abram sought God.

Ask children:  What do you think that means, “Abram sought God.”  (get responses) 

Explain:  It means that Abram prayed to God.  That he spent a lot of time talking to God and listening to learn what God would have him to do…  Where should he live?  And what about his nephew, Lot?  They lived in the same place and it was getting crowded with all their flocks of sheep.   And God made special promises to Abram that he would have many descendents (that means children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and on and on for hundreds of years) and that God would bless them.  Later God changed Abram’s name to Abraham.

God and Abraham talked a lot together.

Many years later, Abraham’s grandson, Jacob also passed through a special place.  He had some serious problems.  He had made his brother very angry with him and now he was hurrying away on a trip to stay with relatives many miles away because he learned his brother wanted to kill him.  Jacob came to a special place and went to sleep.  He used a big rock for his pillow. 

I brought a rock with me today, but I’m sure this one is smaller than the one Jacob used.  I didn’t want to carry one that was too big and heavy.  Does this look like a very soft pillow?  I don’t think so either.  I hope he put something soft on it like a blanket or some extra clothes he was carrying to make it softer—at least the rock held his head up a little while he slept.  Anyway, while he was sleeping he had a dream.  He dreamed about a ladder that went all the way up to heaven and angels were coming up and down the ladder.  God was at the top of the ladder and he spoke to Jacob about the promises he had made to his grandfather Abraham and his father Isaac and God said those promises were true for him and all his children and grandchildren too.  When Jacob woke up he knew he was in a special place.  He took the rock that was lying flat on the ground and stood it up on end like a pillar.  (Turn the rock in your hands the same way.) He also poured oil over the rock to honor God.  He called his special place Bethel.  Do you remember hearing that name once already?  I wonder if it is the same place that Abraham stayed earlier or if Jacob knew how special his grandfather Abraham’s Bethel was to him.

Do you have a special place to talk to God? (pause for responses)

Did you know that you can talk to God anywhere and he will listen?

It is good to choose a special place to pray because doing this can help us to remember to pray more.  God wants us to talk to him every day.

I have brought you each a prayer rock today.  It has a poem attached to it that reads:

PRAYER ROCK
(Author Unknown)

I'm your little prayer rock
and this is what I'll do.
Just put me on your pillow
'til the day is through.

Then turn back the covers
and climb into your bed,
and, whack! your little prayer rock
will bump you on the head.

Then you will remember
as the day is through,
to kneel and say your prayers
as you intended to.

Then when you are finished
dump me on the floor.
I'll stay there through the nighttime
to give you help once more.

When you get up next morning,
clunk! I stub your toe,
so that you will remember
your prayers before you go.

Put me back upon your pillow
when your bed is made,
and your clever little prayer rock
will continue in your aid.

Because your Heavenly Father
cares and loves you so,
He wants you to remember
to talk to Him, you know.

 

I hope you will use this prayer rock to help you remember to pray to God every night and every morning.  You don’t have to use it for a pillow like Jacob did, but maybe it will help you to remember to pray.

Let’s pray to God now…

To make the prayer rock, find a way to attach it to a card or paper that has the poem written on it.  It can be taped on, or better yet wrap the card in fabric or a see-through netting and tie a string around the ends of the fabric.   Punch a hole in the top left corner of the card and run the string through it to tie them together.

Note:  If your children are very young and you feel this is too long, you could abbreviate it so the children's sermon begins with Jacob and skip all references to Abraham except the part where God talks about His promise to Abraham and Isaac

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