Abram’s new name AiM: To realise that God knows each of us by name
Helping children discover Bible truths through play Name signs 10–12 minutes why
to see that God knows each one of us by name
A4 card (preferably coloured), several sets of the letters enlarged from page 51 or the Web resources (enough letters to spell out the children’s names), gluesticks, pens or crayons, stickers and/or other collage material to decorate
1 Give each child a piece of card and help them to choose the letters that make up their name. Tell them that they are going to make a sign which they can put on a door at home. 2 Help them paste the letters in the right order side by side, in the centre of the card. 3 Allow them to colour in the letters; then decorate the signs with stickers or other materials. 4 When everyone has finished, put the signs on display on the floor or a table. Admire the children’s work. 5 Say that God knew Abram and Sarai’s names, just as he knows our names. When the children put their name signs up at home, they can remember that.
Moving and dancing
Sowing seeds 10 minutes
5–7 minutes why
to respond to the news that God knows each one of us by name bright, joyful audio music (recorded or live; see Web resources)
1 Before playing the music, talk together about names. Listen to the pattern of the rhythms as you say each other’s names in normal speech. Notice that some names just have one beat while others have two or more. 2 Remind the children that God knows every person. He knows all our names. Try stringing the names together in small groups to make sound patterns. For example, say ‘Josh and Benjamin and Sophia’. 3 Tell the children how good it is that God knows us all by name, and invite them to move to the music. As they dance, they should listen to the pattern of the music. 4 As the children dance, occasionally pick out someone’s name and say it several times rhythmically in time to the music, ending with, ‘Thank you, God, you know Naomi and care for Naomi.’ Make sure that you say everyone’s name before the activity ends.
to remember that God knows us all by name
one plastic tray per child (for example, the kind used for packing vegetables), cotton wool, a small jug of water, cress seeds, newspaper to cover table, care information from the Web resources
1 This is best done with individual children. Shape a large piece of cotton wool into the first letter of the child’s name. This should be slightly smaller than the plastic tray, allowing plenty of room for sowing the seeds on the letter. Use this time to talk to the child about their name, reminding them that God knows their name, knows all about them and loves them. 2 Place the letter on the tray and allow the child to water gently around the cotton wool. They can then sow seeds on to it. 3 Tell the child that if they keep the cotton wool damp, the seeds will grow and form the first letter of their name. They can then remember that God knows their name! (Send notes home to explain this: see Web resources.)
S e S S i o n 8 | Abram’s new name | Play and learn
Everything on this page is ‘Ready to use!’
Using Bubbles 10 minutes why
to see that God knew Abram and Sarai by name
Bubbles Big Sheet 8, (or Web resources or Big Bonus Sheet B, or words given here)
1 Talk together about people’s names: the children’s own names, the names of those in their families and their friends. Point out that it is important for everyone to have a name. Ask the children why they think this is so. 2 Talk about the names Abram and Sarai (Sa-rye). See what the children remember from previous stories about them. Then tell the Bible story: God said to Abram, ‘I want you to trust me and always obey me.’ ‘I will,’ Abram replied. Then God reminded him of the promises he’d made to Abram and Sarai. ‘I promised you a new land to live in and a big family one day. Remember, I’ll give you a baby son.’ ‘You always do what you say,’ replied Abram.’ God told him, ‘I’m going to give you something else. I’m going to give you a new name.’ Abram was surprised. ‘A new name with a special meaning. I will call you Abraham because your family will be very big one day. And Sarai’s new name is Sarah which means “princess” because she has a special place in my plans.’ Abraham was pleased with their new names. ‘And your son will be called “Isaac”,’ God told him. ‘Abraham, Sarah and Isaac… I know your names and I want you to be close to me for ever.’ 48
3 Look at the back of Bubbles Big Sheet 8 together. Identify the characters on the left and note their new names. Invite the children to find them hidden in the picture.
Bubbles Big Sheets 5–7 minutes why
to realise that God knows each one of us by name
Bubbles Big Sheet 8, pens, crayons
1 Help the children to write their names in the space provided on the front of Big Sheet 8. (For those who are not ready to write, do this for them while they watch.) 2 Read out the prayer to the whole group, stopping after ‘It’s…’. Point out that God knows each one of us and he knows our names. Everyone will finish the prayer in a different way. 3 Go through the prayer for each child. (Do this with small groups if you have many children.) Encourage each one to finish the prayer with their own name. 4 Point to the empty frame and read out the text: ‘This is me!’ Suggest that they draw themselves in the space, as a way of showing that they are glad that God knows their name. Let them draw freely – even if they decide to draw something else!
Name game 5 minutes why
to see that God knows each one of us by name
1 Sit or stand in a circle so that you can all see each other. 2 Begin to describe someone, saying, ‘Who knows the name of the person I am talking about?’ Keep giving clues, leaving pauses between the clues to encourage the children to guess who it is. 3 When the name is guessed correctly, say, ‘Yes, it was Rachel. God loves her and knows her name.’ 4 Repeat the game until each child has been described and their name guessed. 5 Let the children take turns to describe another child, if they wish, but whisper a name to them first, so that they do not choose children whose names have already been guessed. 6 Close by saying, ‘Dear God, we are so glad that you know us all by name.’ You can then list the names of each person in the room (including leaders), encouraging everyone to smile and wave when their name is mentioned.
e im t le ib B e h t of E Choose ON h c t a m d n a ix m R O s e pag to suit your group
S e S S i o n 8 | Abram’s new name | Bible time Ready to use!
Genesis 17 Big picture Bible story 15 minutes why
to realise that God knows each of us by name
two sheets of backing paper large enough to draw around a child, coloured pages from magazines or catalogues, gluesticks or paste and brushes, scissors for adult use
1 Explain that you are going to make large pictures of Abram and Sarai for today’s Bible story. 2 Get two volunteers to lie on the backing paper while you quickly draw around them. Decide which will be Abram and which Sarai. 3 Tear or cut large pieces from the magazines or catalogues for the children to cover the figures. Take special care with the faces, cutting out shapes for the eyes, noses and mouths. 4 Cut around the figures while the children watch, talking about the stories of Abram and Sarai from previous sessions. What kind of house did they have? (Tents.) What did God promise to give them? (A land of their own, a big family.) 5 Display the figures on the wall or floor. Ask, ‘What are their names?’ Say that our names are very important to us. When people meet us, they want to know our names. Our families usually give us our names when we are born. But sometimes it can be different… 6 Tell the Bible story: Abram and Sarai were getting old, but they still had no baby. God had promised them a big family. They laughed to think of two old people having a baby! Then, one day, God spoke to Abram. (Point to your Abram figure.)
God reminded him of the things he’d promised. ‘Abram,’ he said, ‘I promised you a new land to live in and I’ve kept my promise. I’ve promised that you will have a big family and I will keep my promise. I’ve promised you a baby son and I will keep my promise.’ ‘Yes,’ said Abram. ‘You always keep your promises.’
on a table, for instance) they should lie on the floor hiding their eyes. 2 While no one is looking, tap someone on the shoulder to let them know that you are going to cover them up with the sheet. They should lie still while you ‘wake’ everyone else up with the question, ‘Who’s in the tent?’
‘You are special because you trust me to do what I say,’ said God. ‘So I’m going to give you a new name.’
3 The children should look around, trying to see who is missing. They can then shout the name of the person they think is ‘in the tent’.
(Ask the children how they would feel if someone wanted to give them a new name. Surprised? Happy? Upset?)
4 On the correct guess, the child can jump up. Say, ‘We know Holly’s name and so does God. Thank you, God, that you know us all by name!’
‘You will be called Abraham now,’ God told him. ‘The new name will remind you that you will have a big family one day. And I have a new name for Sarai too. (Point to Sarai.) She will be called Sarah which means “princess” because there will be kings in your family one day.’
5 Repeat to give everyone a turn.
(Encourage the children to say the new names, pointing at the appropriate figure.) God had one more name to give. ‘Abraham, because you laughed at having a baby when you were old, call him Isaac which means “laughter”.’ And when Abraham and Sarah’s baby was born, they remembered and called him Isaac!
Guessing game prayer 5–7 minutes why
to be grateful that God knows us by name
a flat bed sheet or duvet cover
1 Let the children move freely around the room. When you give a signal (ringing a bell, clapping, or knocking S e S S i o n 8 | Abram’s new name | Bible time 3 to 5s
Genesis 17 Bible-story song 3 minutes why
to learn that God knew Abram and gave him and his family new names
a storyteller, another adult to represent Abram, a child or third leader to represent Sarai and a doll for Isaac, song words from the Web resources
1 Place ‘Abram’, ‘Sarai’ and ‘Isaac’ beside you. Say that God promised Abram and Sarai that they would have a big, big family. 2 Practise singing for the story. Sing the first two lines to the tune ‘One man went to mow’. ‘Abram’ should reply, singing the second part of each verse. Encourage the children to repeat the last two lines with Abram. Practise singing these two lines with them before beginning the story. 3 Say: ‘God spoke to Abram. I wonder what God will say to Abram…’ Then sing, with Abram and the children replying. Abram talks to God. Tell us what God is saying, God is saying, ‘i know you. And i’ll give you a new name.’ Say: ‘A new name! God knew Abram very well. He gave him a new name to show he’d keep his promise to give him a big, big family. But God had more to say.’ Sing: Abraham talks to God. Tell us what God is saying. God says, ‘i know who Sarai is And i’ll give her a new name.’ Say: ‘Another new name! God knew Sarai. He gave her a new name to show her that he’d keep his promise. One day she would have a big, big family. But God had more to say…’ 50
Sing: Abraham talks to God. Tell us what God is saying. God says, ‘i know you’ll have a son. And i’ll give him a new name.’ Say: ‘Another new name! God gave the baby boy the name Isaac. Even before he was born, God knew Isaac and had special plans for him.’
Action prayer 3 minutes why
to be glad that God knows me by name
1 Stand together and say the following prayer with actions: God knew Abraham and God knew his name. (Reach up high as though measuring someone tall.) God knew Sarah and God knew her name. (Lower your arm a little.) God knew Isaac and God knew his name. (Pretend to rock a baby.) God knows me and God knows my name. (Point to yourself.) I’m so happy, dear God, that you know me. (Clap hands.) I’m so happy, dear God, that you know my name! (Wave arms excitedly.) 2 Invite everyone to say their name in turn. After each one say, ‘God knows and loves you Tyler’ even if a child does not respond. Ask everyone to show how they feel about God knowing their name either by using words, their faces or their actions.
S e S S i o n 8 | Abram’s new name | Bible time under-3s
Name game 3–5 minutes why
to learn that God knows each one of us by name
1 Tell the children to scatter around the room. Help any who are not sure what to do. 2 Say, ‘When you hear me call your name, you can run to me.’ 3 Start to call the children’s names one by one, reminding them what to do, for example, ‘Alisha, run to me!’ (If anyone comes before you call them, quickly say their name as they run towards you: do not tell anyone to go back.) 4 When everyone is together again, say, ‘I know all your names, so I was able to call you all to come to me. God knows your names too – every one of you.’ You could list the children’s names, smiling at each child in turn, adding, ‘God knows us all. He knows our names.’ 5 Play the game again. Although it is very simple, the children will probably enjoy it more the second time!
Copyright Scripture Union 2008 Bubbles for Leaders Octoberâ€“December 2008 Session 8
Enlarge this page on a photocopier or download from the Web resources. 51