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Lesson Prep

Background Scripture (read 2-3 times during the week)

1 Kings 18

Story Summary

It is important to make the connection between previous stories and this one. Israel had divided into two: Israel (Northern Kingdom, 10 tribes, bad kings) and Judah (Southern Kingdom, 2 tribes, good and bad kings). Elijah was called to be a prophet and tell the people of Israel (the Northern Kingdom) what God has to say. To get their attention, God told Elijah to tell Ahab, the bad king of Israel, that there was going to be a drought in the land for several years, until Elijah came back to him. So Elijah rode out the drought next to a brook being fed by ravens and then at a poor widow's house where God miraculously provided food for her, her son, and Elijah.

Elijah and Obadiah

Three years later, God told Elijah to go back to King Ahab and declare that the drought was going to end. On the way to speak to Ahab, Elijah met a man named Obadiah. Obadiah worked for bad King Ahab, but he was a good guy. You see, Ahab's wife Jezebel was a really bad woman. She led King Ahab to worship false gods and was even killing the true God's prophets. Obadiah had great respect for God and so he was secretly hiding God's prophets in caves to keep them away from Jezebel. He was nervous that King Ahab would find out about it.

So when Elijah came upon Obadiah, and asked Obadiah to go get Ahab, he was scared. He thought for sure he would tell Ahab that he found Elijah, and then when Ahab came to where Elijah was, he would be gone - and Obadiah would be a goner... But Elijah reassured him that he wouldn't do such a thing to him, so Obadiah went to get King Ahab. And that's where the fun begins...

Elijah and the False Prophets on Mount Carmel

Elijah told Ahab to go get all the people of Israel, 450 prophets of a false god named Baal, and 400 prophets of a false prophet named Asherah (remember the Asherah poles Josiah destroyed?). So Ahab gathered everyone at Mount Carmel and Elijah issued his challenge.

He had 2 bulls brought to the mountain and placed on altars. His challenge to the prophets of Baal was that the god who sent down fire to burn up the bull on their altar without the prophet starting the fire would be the one true God. He had the prophets of Baal start first. They put their bull on the altar and called for their god named Baal.  (Have fun with this when you tell the story) "Baal! Baal! Send fire down! Baal? Anyone there? Hellooooooo????"

Elijah started to make fun of them. "Maybe you need to yell louder? Maybe he is asleep? Maybe he's really busy or away on a trip? Maybe he's using the bathroom?" Baal never answered.

Now it was Elijah's turn. He decided to up the challenge. He built an altar out of 12 stones (anyone guess why 12 stones?). He put the bull on the altar just like the prophets of Baal, but he also dug a trench around the altar and had them pour buckets and buckets of water over the altar and the bull until the trench filled up. When he prayed, though, God sent fire down and immediately burned up the bull and licked up every drop of water around the altar. Woah - that must have been cool to see...!

The people believed that God was the one true God and they had all the prophets of Baal and Asherah put to death.

What You Will Need

Resource Sheet

Elijah and the Burning Altar on Mt Carmel

This coloring sheet depicts God providing a consuming fire to show that He is the one true God.

Lesson

1. Warm Up

get your kids talking and engaged

Tell us about a time when God answered one of your prayers.

Today, we're going to learn about a time when God answered Elijah prayer and something really amazing happened!

2. Teach the Story

teach a holistic story

Read story from a Children's storybook Bible for younger children.

For older children, read story from an age-appropriate Children's storybook Bible or tell the story yourself.

3. Bible Mastery

give them basic Bible skills

Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud: 1 Kings 18:16-46

4. Comprehension Questions

make sure they understand the story

First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?

  • Who was King Ahab's wife? (Jezebel)
  • What did she do that was so bad? (she was killing God's prophets)
  • Who was the good guy that worked for Ahab? (Obadiah)
  • What was he doing to help God's prophets? (he hid them in caves)
  • Who told Ahab that Elijah was back? (Obadiah)
  • What did Elijah challenge the false prophets with? (to have their god Baal burn up a bull on an altar without setting a fire)
  • Did Baal answer the prophets? (No)
  • Why not? (because he isn't real!)
  • How did Elijah make fun of the prophets of Baal? (By saying "Maybe you need to yell louder? Maybe he is asleep? Maybe he's really busy or away on a trip? Maybe he's using the bathroom?")
  • How did Elijah make the challenge even harder for God? (He poured buckets and buckets of water over the altar before he prayed)
  • What happened after Elijah prayed? (God answered and brought fire down from heaven and burned up the sacrifice and all the water)

5. Faith Questions

help them apply the story to their lives and open up a conversation about faith and the gospel; close with prayer
  • In this story, we see that the Israelites began to worship false gods. Their gods were poles and actual physical things they created to worship.
  • What things in our lives take our eyes off God and cause us to worship something other than God?

6. Memory Verse

hide God's Word in their heart
Your heart will be where your riches are. Luke 12:34

Reinforcement Activities

Tissue paper Mount Carmel

Scripture Elijah got 12 stones. There was one for each tribe in the family line of Jacob. The Lord’s message had come to Jacob. It had said, “Your name will be Israel.” 1 Kings 18:31 The fire of the Lord came down. It burned up the sacrifice. It burned up the wood and the stones and the soil. It even licked up the water in the ditch. 1 Kings 18:31

Supplies card stock, glue, small stones, red and orange tissue paper, strips of paper with 1 Kings 18:31

  • Glue 12 small stones in a circle in the middle of the card stock.
  • Crumble up pieces of red and orange tissue paper and glue in the middle of the circle to represent fire.
  • Glue a strip of paper with Bible verse onto top of paper.

Fire Breathing

Heads up! This activity may seem intimidating, but is actually not as scary as it seems. We have done this ourselves and it worked really well!

Scripture Then you pray to your god. And I’ll pray to the Lord. The god who answers by sending fire down is the one and only God.” Then all of the people said, “What you are saying is good.” 1 Kings 18:24 The fire of the Lord came down. It burned up the sacrifice. It burned up the wood and the stones and the soil. It even licked up the water in the ditch. 1 Kings 18:38

Supplies corn starch, spoon, glass of water, lighter, rolled up piece of paper

  • The trick behind this activity is corn starch. It is not flammable, so it makes this perfectly safe, as long as the students do not get too close. The biggest danger is the person with corn starch inhaling the dry powder.
  • This should only be performed by an adult and done outside.
  • Roll up piece of paper and light with lighter to make a torch.
  • Place a spoonful of cornstarch into your mouth. (Do not swallow or inhale the corn starch!)
  • Blow the corn starch at the torch flame.
  • Rinse your mouth with the glass of water and spit out corn starch.
  • This activity has a wow factor to really get the student's attention. Make sure you direct them back to the lesson and how God answered with fire.

Make it Rain!

Scripture Black clouds filled the sky. The wind came up, and a heavy rain began to fall. Ahab rode off to Jezreel. 1 Kings 18:45

Supplies boiling water, glass jar, glass plate, blue food coloring, if desired. ice cubes

  • If you want your rain to be blue, mix blue food coloring into your water before you make ice cubes.
  • Place boiling water into glass jar, about 1/3 full.
  • Place plate over jar.
  • Add ice cubes to top of plate.
  • Rain will begin to form of the sides of the jar.

Caramel snack

Scripture “Now send for people from all over Israel. Tell them to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the 450 prophets of the god Baal. Also bring the 400 prophets of the goddess Asherah. All of them eat at Jezebel’s table.” 1 Kings 18:19

Supplies carmel candies

  • Eat Caramels for a snack to help students remember the name of the mountain where God answered with fire.

Homemade Rain Stick

Scripture Black clouds filled the sky. The wind came up, and a heavy rain began to fall. Ahab rode off to Jezreel. 1 Kings 18:45

Supplies paper towel rolls, aluminum foil, construction paper, beans, rice or dry popcorn, rubber bands, decorating supplies

  • Cut construction paper into small squares, large enough to cover end of paper towel roll.
  • Place one construction paper square on one end of the paper towel roll and secure it with a rubber band.
  • Roll a piece of aluminum foil into a snake shape and then coil it like a spring.
  • Place into the paper towel roll.
  • Pour beans, dry popcorn, rice into paper towel roll.
  • Secure the open end with a construction paper square and rubber band.
  • Decorate with markers or stickers.

Human Rain Storm

Scripture Black clouds filled the sky. The wind came up, and a heavy rain began to fall. Ahab rode off to Jezreel. 1 Kings 18:45

Supplies a large group of students

  • Make it sound like a thunderstorm.
  • Begin an action and have the students copy you.
  • It works well if they don't perform the action until you walk in front of them. This allows the sound to move across the room, instead of a drastic change.
  • Rub hands together
  • Snap fingers
  • Clap hands
  • Slap thighs
  • Stomp feet
  • Slap thighs
  • Clap hands
  • Snap fingers
  • Rub hands
  • Hands on lap for quiet.

Light Water on Fire

Heads up! This activity needs to be done outside.

Scripture Then you pray to your god. And I’ll pray to the Lord. The god who answers by sending fire down is the one and only God.” Then all of the people said, “What you are saying is good.” 1 Kings 18:24 The fire of the Lord came down. It burned up the sacrifice. It burned up the wood and the stones and the soil. It even licked up the water in the ditch. 1 Kings 18:38

Supplies large aluminum foil pan,rocks,mixture of 90% isopropyl alcohol and water, lighter, pitcher

  • Before class, mix half and half 90% isopropyl alcohol and water in a pitcher. (Don't let the students know it is part alcohol.)
  • Place rocks into middle of aluminum foil pan to make a stone alter.
  • Pour water over rocks to pool in the bottom of the aluminum pan.
  • Light water on fire.
  • It will stop burning when the alcohol burns off.