Published on October 26th, 2017
The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is on November 5th this year. IDOP reminds us to pray for Christians around the world who are persecuted for following Christ. Many of those Christians have to meet together in secret to avoid being caught by authorities.
Can you help your teacher prepare an “underground” (secret) Sunday school meeting for your class for IDOP Sunday?
Locate a well-hidden area outside or an unused room inside. If desired, place a play tunnel outside the meeting place to enter through. Christians in some places have to crawl through small spaces to meet in hidden caves. Add “jungle” decorations, and rocks or planks to sit on.
Ask someone to play the part of a police officer. The officer will wait outside the meeting until time to enter. Provide a birthday cake and a few decorations to use as a “cover,” so your meeting can become a “birthday party” if it is discovered. Use flashlights or electric candles for lighting. Before going to the meeting place, discuss who most recently had a birthday so that person’s birthday can be celebrated if necessary. If children in the class are young enough that they might be scared or not understand that they are not really in danger, discuss the situation with them in advance.
Large groups raise suspicion in countries where Christianity is restricted, so have students enter the meeting place in pairs rather than all at once. Ask everyone to whisper.
Christians in some countries do not have Bibles. They have only the verses that they carry in their hearts. Ask everyone to take turns sharing any verses they know. Sing songs softly, and pray quietly for Christians in persecuted countries.
As everyone prepares to leave, let the “police officer” enter and ask suspiciously, “What’s going on here?” Bring out the cake and decorations and ask the officer to stay for the birthday party. The officer can warn the others that he has heard about Christians meeting illegally and he himself has arrested some Christians. After he has a piece of cake, he may leave—or he might stay and allow the Christians to share the truth about Jesus with him.
Have students leave the meeting in pairs.
1. What did you think about meeting “secretly”? Was it hard to remember to talk and sing quietly?
2. What would be the hardest part of having to gather secretly for worship?
3. What are some reasons why it is important to memorize Bible verses? (See Psalm 119:11,105.)
4. If you had to meet secretly for worship, what would you want Christians in other countries to pray for you?