YOUTH GROUP LESSON ON PEACE
Bible: Matthew 5:9
Bottom Line: We are meant to experience God’s peace & share it with the world around us.
- T-shirts for each student (or ask the youth to bring t-shirts, but also bring extra for visitors!)
- Masking tape
- Water balloons with different colored water (Battle Balloons Color Burst available on Amazon.com)
- Copy of the “Make Me An Instrument of Your Peace” prayer for each student
- Chalk for each student
St. Francis Prayer (“Make me an instrument of your peace”) is attributed to St. Francis (12th century saint):
(Cut and paste to hand out to students.)
“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love; for it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.”
OPENING GAME – WAR AND PEACE
Note: Be sure to let the students know the week before this lesson that they will need to bring a change of clothes and a white shirt! This entire lesson is designed to be held outside.
Explain to students that they are going to experience ‘Peace’ and ‘War’ – beginning with ‘Peace.’
The challenge is to create a peace sign on their t-shirt using masking tape.
Once they have their peace signs on their t-shirts, now begins the ‘War’ part.
Divide the group into two teams.
Have the water balloons divided by colors on different sides.
When you say ‘war’, they begin throwing the water balloons at one another until all of the balloons are gone.
At the end they should have a really cool ‘tie dyed t-shirt’.
They will need to let the t-shirts dry and then take off the masking tape to reveal a cool peace sign t-shirt.
Write the word ‘peace’ the ground outside with chalk with space around it.
What words come to your mind when I say this word ‘Peace’?
Without spending a lot of time thinking about what you write, I want each of you to write a word around ‘Peace’ that came to your mind.
For the next few minutes, continue writing words that come to mind about peace or about the other words that people have written.
Give the youth 5-10 minutes for this exercise; helping out the youth who struggle by showing them words they could add their word alongside.
Choose some of the words that the youth wrote to point out how they illustrate peace.
Say: We look around the world and so many places and people and situations seem anything but peaceful, right?
Let’s name a few places, people or situations that you pray will find peace.
Write those names, people or situations around the others words that we wrote for peace as a way of praying for these things.
Give the youth 5-10 minutes to write these words.
Let’s pray for areas of the world that do not know peace.
Write the names now.
Who are people you know who need peace in their lives?
Where in your life do you need peace?
Ask for a volunteer to read Matthew 5:9.
Each of us are children of God, which means that we are each called to be peacemakers.
But what does it mean to be a ‘peacemaker’?
Find one of the words written by the youth and ask how we could be peacemakers in that situation.
Here is a very powerful prayer that some people believe was written by a saint in the 16th century named St. Francis of Assisi.
Maybe you’ve seen statues built with a saint who has animals around him…that is St. Francis of Assisi and this prayer is really powerful.
It says so much about how we can be peacemakers.
Give each youth a copy of the prayer and ask them to read a line of the prayer (only if they want to read…don’t ever force a youth to read if they do not wish to read).
Invite them to really think about the words as you read the prayer and to choose one line that really ‘jumps’ out at them as you read.
Read the poem as a group with youth reading one line each.
Ask the group: What lines jumped out to you?
As each youth reads their line, ask them why it meant something to them, and how it might look to ‘sow love’ where there is hatred or how they could share light.
Ask: Where do you see hatred at school? In the country? In the world?
What would it look like to ‘sow love’?
Think about the line: where there is injury, pardon.
Think of a person in you life who has hurt you.
What would it look like show them pardon…forgiveness?
Say: Peace is not easy, and maybe that is why the world desperately needs peace.
Maybe you need peace.
And first, remember that this peace isn’t something that we can just ‘make’ happen.
Ask a youth to read John 14:27.
We are given an amazing gift when we let Jesus show us his peace – because he has given us his peace.
It is easy to forget that, right?
We watch the news or we go to school, or for some of you, you go home and peace feels like a dream.
Peace begins when we give Jesus those things that we are worried about.
Take time each day to do what we did with the chalk and share with him the places in your own life that you need his peace.
Pray for the people you know who need peace.
Pray for the world and let his peace fill you.
Because nobody ‘does’ peace better than Jesus, right?
And then, go and be a peacemaker.
Where in your life right now could you be a peacemaker?
Maybe it’s at home…..at school….with friends….or in your town.
Write down what came to your mind with your chalk on the ground.
Think about the shirts that we made with our water balloon war.
Wear that shirt to remind you that you can be a peacemaker.
Because you are all children of God!
Close in prayer.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Spend some time talking about the words that they wrote for places or people or situations that need God’s peace.
Is there anything that they could do to bring peace to these places or people?
Share if they feel comfortable about where they needed peace in their own life and spend time praying for each person.
What are ways that you could encourage one another to be peacemakers?
Liked this lesson? Check out this…