Abide B

Day 4: Does Prayer Change God's Mind?

Because GOD NEVER CHANGES, I don't have to worry about the future!

Read or quote the memory verse: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.  Hebrews 13:8, Discover God Bible, (NLT).


Do you remember the story of Jonah and the big fish?

If the kids say they do, take a few minutes to let everyone take turns telling parts of the story. If you haven't read the story, take time to read it now. The Book of Jonah is only four chapters long, and it's a great story to read!

What is your favorite part of the story?

Listen to Jonah chapter 3.

Jonah obeys...God shows Mercy

Then the Lord spoke to Jonah a second time: "Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you."

This time Jonah obeyed the Lord's command and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to see it all. On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: "Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!" The people of Nineveh believed God's message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow.

When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. He dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes. Then the king and his nobles sent this decree throughout the city:

"No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all. People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence. Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change His mind and hold back His fierce anger from destroying us."

When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, He changed His mind and did not carry out the destruction He had threatened.

- Discover God Bible, (NLT).

God went to great lengths to make sure that Jonah told the people of Ninevah that He planned to destroy them.

Did God change His mind? It seems like it, until we think about who God really is. For instance:

How did the people of Ninevah respond to Jonahs' message? They didn't eat or drink. They turned from their evil ways and hoped for mercy.)

God doesn't change who He is. His love and mercy cannot ignore a sincerely repentant heart. If the people of Ninevah had not repented, God would have destroyed them; but because they did repent, He was consistent with His character and showed them mercy.

PARENTS: If your child has not experienced God's Mercy through trusting Christ, you may want to guide him through "Four Fantastic Facts".

The story of Jonah takes a surprising turn at the end. Listen to Jonah 4:1-3

Jonah Questions God!

This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry. So he complained to the Lord about it, "Didn't I say before I left home that You would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that You are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I'd rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen."

- Discover God Bible, (NLT).

Jonah knew that the people of Ninevah responded to his message with repentance and prayer. You would think he'd be happy that God had shown them mercy.

Why was Jonah mad? Hint: what did Jonah say before he ran away to Tarshish? (He said that God would do this--show mercy.)

Many people think that Jonah tried to run away to Tarshish because he was afraid to go to Ninevah. What do you think? (It sounds like he didn't want to give them the message because he didn't want them to repent and receive mercy!)

It's sad to say, but Jonah really didn't like the Ninevites and he did not want God to change His mind about destroying them.

But because God is the Creator/King (the One in total control) and not Jonah, God made sure that Jonah warned the Ninevites whether he wanted to or not.

Have you ever been so angry or hurt that the last thing you wanted to do was pray for the person who made you mad? Have you ever hoped that something bad would happen to them as a pay back?

You are not alone! The question is, What do you do about those feelings?

What did Jonah do? (Complained.)

Although God never changes, the prayers of the Ninevites changed God's immediate plan to destroy them. But Jonah doesn't appear to change his heart toward the Ninevites.

Who do you think lived happier lives, the Ninevites or Jonah?

Prayer and repentance are powerful. Prayer and repentance saved the Ninevites' lives.

Jonah's life could have been filled with joy if he had prayed and had a repentant heart.


circle with words why it matters

Why does it matter?

Because God Never Changes, He will never change His character, but repentance and prayer does turn away His just anger, and opens ways to see God work.


a vine

Talk with God and Stay Connected to the Vine!

Pray for someone you are angry with or who has hurt you deeply. Ask God to help him see his need for Jesus and to repent of the mean things he's done. Thank God that though He never changes, He listens to our repentant hearts and prayers.


All Bible Times for God Never Changes

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