There are at least three options when creating a children’s sermon on Matthew 14:22-33.
- There is the story of Jesus walking on the water.
- There is the story of Peter trying to walk on the water too.
- But there is also the story before anybody thinks about walking on water: the story of Jesus seeking some time alone for prayer.
When I saw the text I thought I’d be writing about walking on water. I’ve had great fun with that as a bedtime story for my kids. I’ll do it as a children’s sermon sometime.
But right now, in the midst of a pandemic, with so many kids cooped up with their families, the other side of this text seems like it might reach some kids in a particularly helpful way.
As always, you can feel free to use this, either as a children’s sermon in your worship service, or as a bedtime story for your kids. But please, do me the kindness of letting me know how it goes, either by email or below in the blog comments section. I’d love to know what works, what doesn’t, how you adapted it, and how kids responded.
A Children’s Sermon on Matthew 14:22-23
I wonder if you’ve ever had a really hard day.
Sometimes Jesus had hard days.
One day, Jesus had been working very hard. He was tired and he wanted some rest.
As well as being tired, he was sad: he had just learned that his cousin John the Baptist had died.
So Jesus told his friends, “I’m going to find someplace quiet where I can be alone for a while.”
And off he went.
Pretty soon, though, people found out where he was. They came from miles around, bringing sick people. They asked Jesus to heal them.
And of course Jesus did heal them. He loved to help people.
But then they were hungry. Jesus’ disciples brought him all they had: Five loaves of bread and two fish. They needed Jesus to help make that tiny amount of food enough for a huge crowd of people.
And of course Jesus did feed them. He loved to help people.
But as soon as they were all done eating, Jesus saw his opportunity. He said to his disciples, “Hey you guys, get in the boat and sail across the Sea of Galilee. I’ll meet you on the other side.”
Thomas spoke up: “Lord, we’ll go, but how are you going to find us? Should we just wait for you there?”
Jesus walked them toward the boat to get them moving. Then he said, “Never mind that, Thomas. I’ll find you alright. Just go.”
When his disciples finally sailed away, Jesus said to the crowd, “Okay everybody, that’s it for tonight! It’s time to head back to your homes. I’ll see you another time!”
And then, Jesus headed up the hill, way out of sight of the crowd.
“Finally!” he said to himself. “I’ve wanted some time alone for such a long time!”
He sat down under a tree. He looked out over the Sea of Galilee. He took some deep relaxing breaths. He let himself enjoy the good feeling of being alone.
Then, the Bible tells us that he spent some time doing something very important: He spent his alone time praying.
I suspect he spent some time telling God how tired he was from all he had been doing.
Maybe he spent some time telling God how sad he was that his cousin John had died.
He probably spent some time thanking God for helping him heal and feed all those people.
I bet he spent some time asking God to help him do all the work that lay ahead of him.
- I wonder if you’ve ever taken some time to be by yourself?
- I wonder if you’ve ever felt tired from working too hard and wanted some rest?
- I wonder if you’ve ever felt like too many people are too close, making too many demands?
- I wonder what you might talk to God about if you went to your room or your yard or a park to be alone and pray?
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