12 Prayer answered with fire - Elijah

UNIT #: 
Lesson Theme: 
Our God is the one true God.

We worship the one and only true God. Idolatry is sin. Worship the creator, not created things

Bible Passage: 

1 Kings 18:20-40

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Elijah’s Triumph over the Priests of Baal

20 So Ahab sent to all the Israelites, and assembled the prophets at Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah then came near to all the people, and said, “How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” The people did not answer him a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets number four hundred fifty. 23 Let two bulls be given to us; let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it; I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. 24 Then you call on the name of your god and I will call on the name of the Lord; the god who answers by fire is indeed God.” All the people answered, “Well spoken!” 25 Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many; then call on the name of your god, but put no fire to it.” 26 So they took the bull that was given them, prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, crying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no answer. They limped about the altar that they had made. 27 At noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud! Surely he is a god; either he is meditating, or he has wandered away, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” 28 Then they cried aloud and, as was their custom, they cut themselves with swords and lances until the blood gushed out over them. 29 As midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice, no answer, and no response.

30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come closer to me”; and all the people came closer to him. First he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down; 31 Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying, “Israel shall be your name”; 32 with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. Then he made a trench around the altar, large enough to contain two measures of seed. 33 Next he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood. He said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” 34 Then he said, “Do it a second time”; and they did it a second time. Again he said, “Do it a third time”; and they did it a third time, 35 so that the water ran all around the altar, and filled the trench also with water.

36 At the time of the offering of the oblation, the prophet Elijah came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your bidding. 37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and even licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord indeed is God; the Lord indeed is God.” 40

Teacher’s Preparation: 

This lesson about Elijah and the fire should be prayerfully planned. Explaining the story literally, and without attention to context  could cause misunderstanding. For example, Elijah mocks the prophets of Baal as they attempt to call on their god, but we would never mock others as we shared the gospel. Be prepared to discuss context and answer questions like why Elijah would kill the prophets after they acknowledged God. 

A good welcome conversation could be about fire. Build a fake bonfire with a few sticks and 12 stones to represent the altar that Elijah built. Ask students if they have been around fire before. What elements create fire? ( heat, sparks, matches, gas) Does it come out of nowhere? Show them your small bonfire and ask how you could start a fire with it if you needed to? ( lighter, matches) How about water? What would water do to it?

Additionally, here is some vocabulary that you may want to share with your students. 

prophets of Baal—people who believed in and worked for the made-up god Baal. 
worship—treating something or someone as if it is God. We usually speak of worshipping God. 
altar—a flat place where a sacrifice was put. 
sacrifice—something that is given to God. A simplified generalization is that sacrifices in the Old Testament were animals or birds, and part or all of them were burnt. So in today’s story, bulls (animals) were the sacrifice and they were meant to be burnt on the altar.   


Main Ideas: 

1. The prophets of Baal worshiped a false god—a wooden statue. He did not have any power at all. 

2. Elijah invited the prophets of Baal to come to Mount Carmel and have a contest so that everyone would see who the real God was. The rules of the contest were that Elijah would set up an altar to worship the Lord, and the prophets of Baal would set up an altar to worship their god, Baal. The winner would be the person who could call God from heaven and bring fire to the altar. 

3. The prophets of Baal tried first. Could they make fire come? (no) 

4. Then Elijah took his turn. He built up the altar of the Lord that was on top of Mount Carmel. Then he put wood on top of it. But then he did something surprising! He did something that might stop the wood from burning. What was it? (He filled four water pots and poured the water on the altar again and again. There was so much water that it filled a trench all around the altar.)

5. Then Elijah called on the Lord. What happened next? (Fire fell from heaven and
burned everything up—even the water! This was a miracle.)

6. When the prophets of Baal saw that the Lord had answered Elijah, they fell on their faces and said:
“The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” (I Kings 19:40)



"My God is so Big" 


Supplies: Construction Paper, toothpicks, crayons, tape or glue

Prepare: Cut out 12 small stones from gray construction paper for each student. They will build their own altars. 

Elijah built a special place called an altar, to give offerings to God. On it, he put 12 stones and some wood, then covered it all with water. It is difficult to burn wood that is wet. Only fire from heaven could burn such a wet altar. Let's build an altar like Elijah did! 


1. Give each child a piece of paper to use as the background. 

2. Give children the "stones" to glue to their background. 

3. Give children the toothpicks to glue or tape down as a bundle for the fire. 

4. Elijah poured water on the altar. Glue small crumbled pieces of blue construction paper around the altar. 

5. God sent fire that burned up the whole altar! Either draw and color large flames over the altar or cut and glue strips of orange and red strips of paper to represent the flames. 

6. Have the children write  a main idea on the top of the sheet. Some examples are " God sent fire! ; Our God is so big; There is only one God

Lesson Review: 

Who were other people worshiping? Baal

What was the contest Elijah proposed to the prophets of Baal? To build an altar and ask their gods to make fire. 

Why did he ask them to do that? To prove that there was only one God and that their god was not real. 

What happened when Elijah asked God to send the fire? God sent the fire and it burned the altar and the water. 

Who is the true God? Our God

Did the people believe in God when they saw the fire? Yes

Values for Life: 

Nothing is too difficult for God. God can even make fire with water poured all over the 
sticks. God made fire, God made water. God is in charge of the whole world. 

Nothing is too difficult for God. This is important to remember when we talk to God. 
God can do things that no one else can.

The prophets of Baal wanted people to think that Baal was god. We should never let 
anyone make us think that there is any god but the one, true and living God. God is the 
only God.

Memory Verse: 

Jeremiah 10:10

"But you, LORD, are the true God, you are the living God."

Closing Prayer: 

Dear God,

We thank you Lord that you are the one all powerful god. We know that you God are in charge of the whole 
world and that nothing is too difficult for you. There are lots of other things that take up our time in this world; games, friends, school, tv. We pray that you will help us to always remember that only you are God.

Thank you for loving us always, even when we mess up. 

In Jesus name, 



scope and sequence