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Four Eye-opening Activities on Everyday Miracles

BY MICHAEL WARDEN
Miracles still happen today. In the midst of a world of incredible suffering and death, some people are suddenly healed, some accidents are unexplainably avoided, some needs are mysteriously met. And, most miraculous of all, some people’s hearts are transformed by the power of God.
Unlike the days when Jesus walked the earth, miracles today don’t usually happen with hundreds or thousands of people looking on. Today, they typically happen quietly-in a hospital room, along a deserted highway, or alone on a bedroom floor.
But the hope they inspire is just as powerful, and the faith they strengthen is just as real.
Miracles can strengthen kids’ faith and restore hope to people whose hearts have grown weary. Stories of miracles remind us that God is alive, and that he’s on our side in our fight for life. Miracles open our minds to the possibility, and even the expectation, of the supernatural invading our lives.
So how can you help your teenagers learn about miracles? By challenging them to open their eyes to the miracles already happening around them. As a youth leader, you can encourage them to share with each other the miraculous experiences they’ve been exposed to and help build within them a healthy expectation for the supernatural in their lives.
Miracles are real. They don’t happen to everyone, and they don’t happen all the time (if they did, they wouldn’t be miracles). But they do happen. So help your students discover the wonder of knowing a God who performs miracles with these activities:

MIRACLE BOARD

Set up a bulletin board in your youth meeting room, and title it “Miracle Board.” Provide 3×5 cards, pencils, and push pins. On the cards, have kids write miracles they need to occur in their lives. Have kids rate their own requests as either “minor miracles” (“I need to ace my chemistry test this week”) and “major miracles” (“My aunt needs to be healed of cancer”). After the cards are filled out, have kids pin them to the Miracle Board.
At the start of each weekly meeting, have group members gather around the board and pray for the requests. Encourage kids to pray boldly but not presumptuously (that is, assuming God will do something he hasn’t promised to do).
As prayers are answered, use a red marker to write YES across the miraculous requests God fulfills, and tape those cards to the wall around the Miracle Board. Tape the NO requests around the board also, but turn them over first so the blank side is facing out.
Encourage kids to update the Miracle Board weekly by adding new requests and placing old requests appropriately on the wall. After you have a sizable collection of cards, take time out of your regular meeting to discuss the board.
*Ask: How do you feel about the number of “yes” cards on the wall? the number of blank “no” cards? Does the presence of past cards encourage you to keep asking God for minor and major miracles? Why or why not? Why doesn’t God say “yes” to all our requests for miracles? How should we respond when God says “no”? How should we respond when God says “yes”?

MIRACLE REQUISITES

Arrange a time to take group members to visit a priest or monk. Ask the priest to explain the criteria the Roman Catholic Church uses in determining whether unexplained events are true miracles. Ask the priest to explain how these requisites came to be accepted in the church, and how the church goes about determining whether a particular event is a “genuine” miracle. Allow group members to ask any questions they wish concerning miracles in the church.
After the encounter, encourage kids to comment on their reactions to the Catholic priest’s explanations. Then *ask: Why should we worry about whether any unexplained event is a miracle or not? How do these criteria affect your own definition of what constitutes a miracle?
INSIDER TIP: If your group doesn’t belong to a Catholic church, ask your pastor to join kids after they hear from the Catholic minister. Have your pastor explain any differences between your church’s view on miracles, and those of the Catholic church. Allow time for kids to ask questions about your church’s view of miracles or the views of other Christian groups in your area.

MISSING MIRACLES

Over several weeks, scan the papers for stories of tragedies occurring in people’s lives. Include stories of miraculous survivals and fantastic healings, but focus mainly on stories of untimely deaths, disasters, and sorrowful “real life” events that happen every day.
Once you have around 10 articles, bring them to your next youth meeting, and ask kids to read them. Then *ask: What’s your reaction to these stories? If you could’ve done something to change the outcome of these situations, what would you have done? Explain. Why do you think God didn’t do a miracle in these situations? Are miracles only for “good” people who deserve them? Why or why not? Why doesn’t God solve all the problems you have in your life right now? Is there any connection between why God doesn’t immediately solve all your problems and why he doesn’t always perform miracles to save people’s lives or get them out of tough situations? Why or why not? Is it possible to know why God does or doesn’t perform a miracle in any given situation? Why or why not? How should we respond when we really need a miracle (like the people in these articles) and God doesn’t bring it?

NEW LIFE CELEBRATION

Contact the maternity ward in a nearby hospital and arrange a time when group members can come in and be “baby holders” for a few hours. Encourage kids to pray for the children as they hold them.
INSIDER TIP: Many hospitals have extensive screening tests kids must pass before they’ll be allowed to handle newborns, so be sure you allow enough time for this process before scheduling your event. Also, some hospitals have organized volunteer groups who donate time to hold orphaned or abandoned babies. Often, these children are premature, or are born with addictions to drugs used by the mother. Having your group members join up with a “baby holding” organization like this could bring unique insights into the nature of miracles in our lives.
After the experience, gather kids together so they can tell about the children they held.
*Ask: How did you feel holding these children? What did you pray for the children you held? Why do people refer to having children as the “miracle of childbirth”? What’s miraculous to you about new life? What did holding a new life in your arms make you think about yourself and your life? Is each new baby that comes into the world a miracle? Why or why not?

Michael Warden is the youth editor for Group Books and Curriculum. He’s the author of Small Church Youth Ministry Programming Ideas and a contributor to more than 50 other youth ministry resources.

Originally published in the January 1995 issue of GROUP Magazine.

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Four Eye-opening Activities on Everyd...

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