Children and adults alike sometimes struggle with seeing God in the midst of difficult and trying situations. Paul and Silas' praise in the midst of persecution provides a good example of how you can stand strong in your faith even when everything seems to be going wrong. You can use a craft activity for the Paul and Silas Bible story to illustrate for children that faith "under fire" witnesses to others of God's sufficiency in the most adverse situations. The opportunity to bring others into a saving relationship with him made suffering worthwhile for Paul and Silas.
Edible gaol cells
Give each child a iced cupcake, strips of fruit leather and two gummy bears or animal crackers to represent Paul and Silas. Tell the children to press Paul and Silas into the icing and use the fruit leather to create prison bars over them. Read or tell the Bible story. When the earthquake comes and the prison breaks open, let them crack open their edible gaols and break off the prison bars. When the story is over, gobble up the tasty treats.
Create a prison scene in a shoebox, including small paper or toy figures of Paul, Silas and the other prisoners. Cut the lid to resemble prison bars and put hinges on the lower edge of the box so that it will open and close. Let the children retell the story using the diorama. When the prison breaks open, the front wall of the model should fall open, too.
Make paper stick puppets of Paul, Silas, the gaoler and his family. Draw faces on the craft stick with markers and glue on yarn for hair. Alternately, colour printable Bible figures such as those found at the Charity Association Emmanuel website and tape a craft stick to the back. Use the puppets with berry basket gaol cells to re-enact the story .
Paul and Silas faced their trials with praise in their hearts. God gave them an unexpected victory and the chance to accomplish something greater for the good of his kingdom by witnessing to the gaoler and his family. Children can make their own homemade percussion instruments to accompany their praise. Place a handful of dry beans in a small box, cardboard tube or small, plastic margarine container and seal the opening. Ask children to name difficult situations in their own lives, saying, "Thank you Jesus for helping me when _." Have the class sing along with praise songs, shaking the rattles to the beat to demonstrate their faith. Remind the children that praying and singing praise to God can help them persevere through life's difficult situations, with or without the instrumental accompaniment.