This is a guided meditation on fear and trust in God. Its scripture focus is Matthew 14:22-33, when Jesus walks on water during the storm. This activity focuses on how we can be driven by fear, but with trust in God we can walk in faith. Some reflection questions are included for after the meditation.
Start by reading Matthew 4:22-33. You can just read it, or do as suggested below and have it in parts. You will need a narrator, Jesus, and Peter. Have a group of youth play the part of the disciples:
Narrator: Then he made the disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone. Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.
Disciples: It is a ghost!
Narrator: They cried out in fear. At once Jesus spoke to them.
Jesus: Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.
Narrator: Peter said to him in reply
Peter: Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.
Narrator: Jesus said
Narrator: Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, Peter cried out.
Peter: Lord, save me!
Narrator: Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him,
Jesus: O you of little faith, why did you doubt?
Narrator: After they got into the boat, the wind died down. Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
Disciples: Truly, you are the Son of God.
Next have the group get comfortable and close there eyes. Have them put themselves in the reading by doing the following guided meditation:
Imagine you and Peter are speaking after this incident. He is explaining what happened. Listen to the voice of Peter telling this story.
We were so excited. Jesus had just fed the five thousand. It seemed like Jesus could do anything! Maybe he could drive the Romans out of Israel. Life under their rule was so hard. We had a hope like never before.
The crowd was large and we needed to get away. As usual, Jesus thought of us first. He told us to take the boat to the other side of the lake while he dismissed the crowd. We knew he would meet up with us later somehow.
Most of us were experienced fishermen, so it was like second nature to take the boat out. But we were in the middle of the lake when a sudden storm hit us. The boat was being tossed this way and than. It was one of the worst storms I had ever been caught in and everyone was getting worried that we wouldn’t make it.
Then suddenly we saw someone walking through the storm on the water. No person could possible do that. Was it a ghost? There were many old stories about the lake. We were terrified. We huddled on the deck in terror, sure we were about to die.
But then I heard the voice. “Have courage. It is I. Don’t be afraid.” I knew that voice. It was Jesus!
I’m always so impulsive! I called out, “Lord if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
But then Jesus said, “Come”. Without thinking, I jumped over the side of the boat and started walking toward Jesus. On the water and in the storm!
But then I started thinking. This is impossible! I can’t walk on water. Why did I leave the boat? I started to feel very alone and powerless. I began to sink into the water. Then my head went under water and I couldn’t even hear the wind anymore. I was sinking, drowning, struggling.
A wave tossed me up to the surface again and I cried “Lord save me!” Suddenly I felt a hand grasp mine and pull me up. It was Jesus! He got me back in the boat.
And then he said “Why did you doubt?”
Pause for a moment here. Next the youth will have some questions to reflect on. Letting them journal their answers might be helpful here.
- We all have storms in our lives. What is it you fear right now?
- How are you currently dealing with this fear?
- How can Jesus help you in this situation? Spend a few minutes imagining yourself facing this fear with Jesus beside you, saying “Do not be afraid. Take courage. I am with you.”
- Are there any practical steps you can take in your faith life to help you with this fear?
If appropriate, have a group discussion at this point. Close with a prayer, placing all of our fears in Jesus’ hands.